Friday, October 05, 2012

Are you going to get married or ...

I don't know if Martina has been terrorizing her Grade 1 classmates, but one of her Tatay's latest stories worried me a bit.

Allegedly, Martina goes up to her classmates and asks them,
"Are you going to get married? Or are you going to just WANDER AROUND??!!"

If we must analyze this mutual exclusivity in her mind (and we must, naturally), then we have to go a step further and ... make it about me. After all, who else does she have as role models for being non-married? Well there's me from her Mom's side, and from her Tatay's side, Tita Rachel and Tito Perry.

When I first heard the 'wander around' story, I was quite amused – and jazaleetol slightly offended – that Martina could have been implying that I was going through my life without purpose or direction. Then something happened that made me reconsider the truth of my niece's insinuation.

Martina's only uncle, Tito Perry, passed away last month. He was only 48.

Although we were not related, every now and then I still have inexplicable heavy pauses, times when I shake my head and wipe away a stray tear from the disbelief that someone so good has continued to exist. Although the idea of death might never be clear to me, this particular passing has reminded me of something I probably learned once or twice but never really fully believed: I am here for a reason.

After he died, much has been revealed about Perry's generous spirit. Numerous anecdotes about his selflessness and kindness as a friend or lawyer have warmed his family's grieving soul throughout the past few weeks. As for me, I have discovered that Perry DID wander around after all.

Father Johnny Go summarized it best in the homily he delivered during Perry's funeral mass:

"... Perry would always walk around the village either early in the morning or at night after dinner. These walks allowed him to interact with—and befriend—the household help, drivers, and security guards in the neighborhood. In fact, one neighbor learned of his death only from their driver! 
When these neighborhood friends heard about his passing, they said they would surely miss him, especially the guards because according to Jesse, Perry used to hand out beers to them! 
But more than the socializing, Perry would go out of his way to help those in need. Once he spent an entire day helping the husband of a household help get out of jail."

Maybe wandering around was Perry's real vocation.

Maybe the only real vocation is to be kind to people we meet in our wanderings.

Maybe Martina did not mean to accuse – maybe she meant to challenge.

Or maybe I'm just sad, and really need to put this down in writing:

Bye, Tito Per. Thank you for making my Dad happy by bringing him his favorite Chinese snacks. Thank you for helping him with his contracts and whatnot. Thank you for making my niece and nephew laugh so much. Most of all, thank you for always saying I looked like I lost weight even when the opposite was true. I hope you don't get into trouble in heaven for that. We will all miss you, Tito Per! 


Aaand there's that stray tear again.

1 comment:

Verne Quiazon said...

I think Martina has posed just wandering around as a valid life choice as getting married is. Deeply wise words.