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By Icoy San Pedro

THAT was what it was, a simple gathering of family and a few friends on a drizzly mid-afternoon. We could only imagine how happy the two of our departed would have felt, had they known how we’ve celebrated both, Kuya Bong’s first year death anniversary and our Pop’s birthday (which actually was four days ago). He would have been 93.

As for my brother’s death anniversary, I still could not believe that it has already been a year. It surely doesn’t feel that long. Inasmuch as I had not really paid our last conversation any mind on the fateful day a year ago, that would be how I will always remember him, accompanying me out of the family compound gates and handing me his own face shield for me to use. So little had I known, that was going to be our final time to talk to each other as he passed away hours later. Years from now, that will be all that’ll remind of his passing. Even till this day, I always thought, had there been any sign that it was going to be our last conversation, I should not have taken the moment for granted.

The last time we visited my father a few months ago, we didn’t even get near him. Having had the sniffles then, I merely waved to tell him that we would be visiting during the following week. Same as with my brother, that had been the last time we saw him alive. And the same question, how could I have known?

These play back in my mind and I think they do so in other’s too. Too many of my friends tell me, think being so preoccupied with people leaving us is never a healthy thing. Negative even. On the contrary, I tell them the Dalai Lama once preached that we should not be afraid of death. Instead, we should embrace it as the natural partner of life. I once saw an ink job on someone’s forearm and it said “fearless”. I wonder, did he mean brave or was that pertaining to not being afraid of death? My late grandmother in her final years, when cautioned about eating certain food that could be bad for her health quipped, “so, when am I supposed to be enjoying them, once I’m dead?” Will the Dalai Lama agree? I wonder.

As for the time that seems to fly while we ponder, celebrate or rue over the death and passing of our loved ones, the saying ‘time waits for no one’ is the absolute truth. It doesn’t merely fly, it zips without a care in the world, as if to remind us how little we are in the scheme of all things. It’s enough we remember and always hold their memories near. Whichever way we manifest that, is up to us.


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