During my college years, I experienced living with relatives to save on resources and eventually, out of necessity. You see, I grew up in the province and my family didn’t have a house in Manila where the university was. I survived college with the help, both emotionally and financially, of relatives. One of them is my uncle Roy who is my dad’s younger brother.
Tito Roy used to live in Bacoor, Cavite with her wife Lourdes. They had a bakery then. I spent my freshman and sophomore days under their roof. In exchange for their kindness to accommodate me in their house, I helped in their bakery every weekday after school and during weekends when I had no classes.
Tito Roy and Tita Lourdes were very considerate and generous to me. Though Tita Lourdes had been tough to me on various occasions because of her moodiness (and sometimes my hardheadedness), we got along most of the time. The couple would give me money when I had projects to submit and school events to attend. And they gave me daily allowance when my parents eventually ran out of money to support my studies. They helped send me to school until I got myself a part-time job at a local fast food. I am forever grateful to them.
On my final year in college, I transferred to another aunt’s house in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. I only communicated with the couple thru SMS. I got busy then because I was working on my thesis. Eventually, I graduated from college and landed a job in government. I still got in touch with them, albeit occasionally. Sometime in 2010, I found out from Tito Roy that Tita Lourdes had been diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer.
Tita Lourdes went as far as undergoing mastectomy and completing her chemotherapy sessions but only after a year, she was diagnosed with an even worse disease, bone cancer. Early this month, she got confined in a hospital and after six days, she lost her battle against the Big C. I was very saddened by the news but at the same time, I felt a tinge of joy because she wouldn’t feel pain anymore as her suffering was cut relatively short. She’s at peace in heaven now, with her dad and God and the angels.
The hubby and I, along with my parents, went to her funeral service last Saturday night and attended her burial service at a cemetery in Bacoor yesterday morning. We bade her farewell for the last time and before we left her grave, I whispered a short prayer to God for the repose of her soul.
Death is an experience that no man can escape from. It’s only a matter of time. Tita Lourdes’ death may be swift and untimely, but it didn’t fail to remind me to value life, and its shortness, more. Again, it’s about appreciating the life I have today and the people I get to spend it with. 🙂