A tent outside the house was being installed to accommodate all the people. Flowers coming from close friends and relatives were arranged at the center with lighted candles. Snacks were being distributed by family members, after a solemn prayer, to all people who joined on that prayer. Card games were being played mostly by men until the break of dawn with only a handful amount of money earned during that night of enduring games. Others were just contented of spending more time conversing with other people speaking about one subject and those experiences that they had with the subject. This is a typical Filipino way of mourning a dead relative or friend.
Death is a phenomenon of ending, the final point of earthly life. Talking about this reality people seemed to be not comfortable and somehow tent to escape and forget this truth. We treat death somewhat like a notorious enemy who can inflict pain which we cannot bare to handle. We see death as disastrous storm that would shatter our most treasured properties. An event of losing the most precious thing that we possess. We want to hold on and be with the people whom we love until the end and this desire is being catered by some people in the field of medicine. Every sickness was being studied by some medical and pharmaceutical experts to save and prolong human life. Research and experimentation are being conducted in search for solutions in addressing various health problems to stretch human life span and perhaps to avoid the reality of death. I did not find any negative about it because it is just a means of preserving the most precious gift that God has given to man. Scientific research in the field of medicine is indeed a proper way of using man’s intelligence to save and prolong human life. Yes, it would be possible but just for a certain length of time and we have to accept that eventually man should face his final worldly transition – DEATH.
I personally experienced and witnessed how painful it was to loss a relative or even just a friend. When my best friend died I really shed tears. I loved him and treat him as my father. We were so close even though we were not in the same age level. His death was one of the saddest moments I had ever experienced. I lost a friend in an unexpected moment in which I did not have the opportunity to thank him for all the things he had done to me. I have many things to say to him about his personality, his goodness not only to me but to other people and most especially on how he treated and accepted me as his best friend. He was just a simple man, an ordinary jeepney driver but possessed a very kind, compassionate and loving heart. I was not able to repay his goodness and even say a little words of appreciation to him because I was not vocal in expressing my innermost feelings because I thought he would always be with me but unfortunately I was wrong. He died peacefully and had no chance of knowing how I value his presence in my life. He left me without knowing that his presence was God’s blessing to me.
During funeral masses, I observed that after the mass a friend or most likely a relative would gave a little speech about the dead person. Just a few words of gratitude and appreciation to the deceased relative or friend but for me it was useless. Practically the dead could no longer hear those sweet words that they uttered. That is why we weep because we have no more chance to express what we felt deep inside us. Every time I saw a dead body lying in the coffin I could not help myself thinking of my own death. A time where I could reflect and be reminded that I am just a mere temporal creature like a flower in the garden that blooms but in due time it withers and fades. The “Bobby” that people used to know would eventually become a mere thing. What if I would be dead right now? What would be the stories of the people as they gaze at me lying peacefully inside my coffin? What memories they can remember in me especially those people who became part of my life? These are just simple questions but I do not know what would be the answers. How I wish I could still hear all the answers before I lay down into my final resting place. Similarly, like the case of Bemboy, he left the seminary without knowing that he was valuable to the Panis batch, although we gave him a little tribute but I think that short video clips was not enough to express his worth in this community. He gave joy to the community and showed himself as a real brother to others. But I failed to express my appreciation to him. It was later that I realized his worth when he decided to leave the seminary. Perhaps, it is really true that we realize the value of the person when he is gone.
In the same way, when Jesus was still here on earth doing his public ministry people did not value his presence. They did not exert any interest to listen to his words and follow his teachings and deeds His is just “nobody” in the community, an ordinary carpenter because they did not acknowledge who really Jesus is. But after his death and resurrection their perception of Jesus had change. His death brought a new understanding to the people. That incident opened up a new knowledge to the people that Jesus is really the son of God and because of this they were so eager to proclaim who Jesus is. They did not just retold and shared their experiences about Jesus but they really preached the words and deeds of Jesus. The truth about Him was being proclaimed by the early Christians because they were convinced that Jesus is the Son of God made flesh.
Human beings are merely a breath whose life fades like a passing shadow… This is not our home. We are like foreigners having pilgrimage and so we have to cherish every moment when we are with the people whom we love. We have to express what we feel to the people who became a gift in our lives and be thankful to God for the gift of friendship.
Do we have to wait that people will die for us to realize how important they are in our lives?