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I remember an interesting tale my brother-in-law once told us a long time ago during
one meet-up in Manila. When their son was about five years of age, they brought him to
the States one summer and have him experience his first-ever airplane ride. During the
extremely long flight, the boy would fall asleep, wake up, look around at all the
passengers sleeping, and then lull himself to sleep again. After this had gone on for
most of the flight, he turned to his dad and in innocent exasperation asked, “Dad, what
are we doing here?

We had laughed heartily then, amused at his honest and childlike naivete. Right after,
we had then proceeded to excitedly compare his bravado with that of other antics we’ve
oh-so witnessed daily in our clan that never seemed to run out of babies…

That had been years ago. When its memory came back to me just recently, it had been
only now that I realized in a way, we all are really like children as we on a day-to-day
struggle and face life’s uncertainties or whatever it throws in our direction. As such,
“What are we doing here?” seems to be the right question to ask ourselves.

It had already been over a week ago when a family member passed away. While we bid
goodbye to her for the last time, the permanence of that final gesture, though plainly
manifested by a tossed flower at her casket, is indelibly-made secure by the sad
company, not only of deep loss, but also of a fathomless inner pain bordering on
anguish. I remember telling our mournful cousin, childhood mate and now-widower, in
our life we both have endured so many loved ones among us come and go, and it just
goes on. What else is there for us to do but accept it?

Meanwhile, in a few more days, with this feeling of loss still hanging heavy over all of us
like a grey cloud, we are again faced with commemorating the second year passing of
our own father. Truly, I fear I’m becoming just too aware nowadays, besieged as it may,
of this continuing interplays of loss and memories of it, joy and sorrow, plus the intervals
which appear not to be few and far between. An equally-old friend once quipped, you
grow more candid as you age. A little at a time, you will welcome death as a friend and
not as a fearful end. I recall quoting Gandalf the Grey to him during that time.

“The journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take.
The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass, and then you
see it. white shores and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

If indeed we find comfort in this, Tolkien’s rendition of life’s eternal twin, then living life to
the fullest until that very moment when we shall all be summoned, appears to be the
only logical recourse for us in this hapless plain.


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