Thought I’d share the eulogy made by my godmother which I read during Mom’s interment. It still moves me to tears whenever I read this. I thought I’d honor my mom by sharing this to everyone.
(My godmother’s eulogy for Mom – her best friend)
Shakespeare once wrote,
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
But this Rose is not just a name. Like a Rose she is sweet, attractive, smart. Her character foundation is strong as the stem and has thorns that can prick you back if you have been unjust.
Rosalie as a friend was always available when needed. She cared for and accepted her friends as they are. She maintained her friendships all the way from high school.
Rose, as Mario’s girlfriend was fiercely independent and loving. I had the privilege to know them both before they married. One time, the Davao torrential rains created puddles on the road, Mario carried her on his back so her feet won’t get wet. When she wanted to be mobile, he taught her how to drive. Rose drove her tiny Minica with the fervor or a race-car driver. She could run from 10 kph to 50 kph in two seconds, that is, while backing away from the garage.
Years ago, Rose reported for work at the Ateneo de Davao High School, went straight to Fr. Ricky Lalana’s office (who was then the principal) and told him, “Father, I’m sorry I’m late. I got married this morning.” Rose is a very practical woman.
As a teacher, she was strict, bordering on being a martinet. If you pass by the typing room, you’ll hear it loud and clear, “fingers on the home keys.” Ma’am Rose was one of those who knew zero tolerance before it became a corporate strategy. Her diminutive figure packed a powerful personality.
As a friend, she was true. I met Rose during a very painful period in my life. I just got separated from my husband and had two little boys to raise. I was previously teaching at Maryknoll College in Quezon City. When the separation happened, I lost almost everything, my husband, my home, my job and spirit. Given my flair and verve, I had a difficult time adjusting to a slower pace than that I had in Manila. Everyone was a new friend and a new critic. Rose had a great heart that embraced me from Day one. She saw the simplicity behind my facial war paint, she perceived the unfathomable pain that weighed my heart, she listened to my sorrowful stories and laughed at the jokes that I bravely projected to hide the broken heart. Rose was available. I just had to walk into the typing room and she was ready with tissue to wipe tears. She brought me into her circle and I met her high school friends. From the outside, it may seem that she had a sharp retort for anything. Having spent so much time with her, I marveled at her way of looking at things. She doesn’t say bad things behind a person’s back. If I give a negative comment about anyone, she would respond with, “hayaan mo na, ganyan talaga siya, eh.” (Leave them be, they’re just like that.)And she took me that way as well. When asked, “Paano mo napakisamahan yan si Bel, ang arte-arte niyan.” (How are you able to get along with Bel, she’s so picky.) Her response, “Hah? Eh ganyan talaga siya.” (Huh? Well that’s who she is.)
Nothing was more exciting for her than when she found out she was pregnant. Of course, nag-ninang ako and Mitz was the cutest one ever. One time I dropped by, Mitz was around two years old, she sat on a small stool and was eating. Rose said, “Naa o, nanginabuhi.” (There. Supporting herself.) Mitz was practically eating on her own, as fiercely independent as her mother.
As a wife, she let Mario do his thing. He wanted to sing with a band and he was always out at night. Rose made everyone around her be the best they can be.
As a widow, she was still practical. When I called her to condole with her loss. She just said, “Wala tayong magawa, ganyan talaga ang buhay.”
During one of my trips back in Davao, Mario was still around then, we had dinner in Victoria Plaza. Due to our excitement, we forgot to pay for our meal. It was good that the restaurant personnel knew them from frequent visits. After Mario passed away, I had the opportunity to have time with her. We had a sumptuous lunch and we talked about her retirement career. She wanted to open a sari-sari boutique in her carport area. It now stands half done with a few books for sale in shelves.
Two years ago, I asked her to have lunch with me again and she said she wasn’t feeling well. I told her I will go and see her and she said, “Ay, huwag na. Hindi ko naayos ang bahay. I’ll rest lang.” (Oh, just don’t. The house isn’t fixed. I’ll just rest.) When I came over again, I insisted that we go out. She said, “Hay, anyway, malalaman mo din. May sakit ako. Cancer daw.” (*Sigh* Anyway, you’ll know. I’m sick. May be cancer.) I asked what treatments she was going to undergo and she said, “I have decided to go for a natural way of healing.” We had a long discussion about homeopathy and the natural way of healing the body. “Sus, ngayon puro gulay yung kinakain ko, hindi ko naman kilalala yang mga broccoli, ngayon yan na ang binibili ko.” (Jeez, now I’m just eating purely vegetables. I didn’t use to know about broccoli, now it’s all that I buy.)
In another conversation, she said, “Help me pray na gumaling ako. When I recover, I will go to Cebu and visit you. I will make more lakwatsa now and just enjoy myself.” (Help me pray that I will get well. When I recover, I will go to Cebu and visit you. I will travel more and just enjoy myself.) She never got to go to visit me.
Two weeks ago, I called to tell her that I was going to Davao in mid February. She said, for the first time. “Sige bisitahin mo ako.” (Okay come visit me.) I asked how things were. She said, “I’m in pain.” “Dali na…” (Hurry…)
Tuesday last week, I was dead tired from a series of talks and meetings. I got a late night call from Naxxie Ebarle. “Bel, let’s go and see Rose. Tomorrow maybe too late.” We went to see her before midnight. She was already in a coma-like state. I talked to her. Through misty eyes, I talked about the moments of craziness. During one of the faculty retreats, Fr. Randy dropped by my room and Rose. Before we knew it, talks went around that he was in my room late at night. This miffed Rose. “At ako, nandoon din ako, ah.” (And me… I was there too.) She didn’t want to be left out. Since her students constantly forgot to bring bond paper for typing she would sell them one or two pieces. When pay day was coming and we didn’t have much, we would dig up her box of coupon bond coins and get out “plete” (fare) to tide us over till end of the month. Through the challenges, we laughed. We did look funny together. Me, in my high heels, swaying gait and short skirt and Rose with her purposeful strides and practical shoes. We accepted each other. We shared rooms during retreats, we ate lunch together, shared stories I dare not write about now. We were and are, great friends.
I flew back to Cebu Thursday and Friday morning, Mitz sends the dreaded news. Now I grieve, over the loss. Shed tears for times gone by, for times that will never come and the few days I would have wanted to spend with her.
Mitz, you are your mother’s pride and joy. She was happy whatever made you happy. Rose’s body is gone but her spirit lives in you, in me and in all of us.
I love you Rose. Wherever you are, I will see you one day.
Thank you Ninang. I miss you, Mom.