Shoulders to lean on.

Thank you, Nomie, for graciously driving to and fro Batangas City (via unfinished Star Toll, which made driving difficult), to visit Carie, as she mourns the passing of her beloved spouse. It was a trip sad and subdued, I know, much unlike two other occasions we had in the far distant pasts, when we were much younger and thrilled with adventure, and then when we had toddlers in tow, for Carie and her family, made our Batangas excursions extraordinarily enchanting, how else not, for every single member of the family, all tall with beautiful faces, from Dr. Manalo and his lovely wife, to each and every one in the brood, were all witty and smart, a pleasure to be with.

This time though, Nomie, Winnie, and I were ushered into a different scenario, for death brings poignancy no one can ever define. Carie’s grief was beyond measure, yet she seems so composed, relating to each and every guest, from all walks of life, as her deceased husband Bhoy would have wished her to be. But sigh, have we ever seen so many coronas of flowers bedecked in a single home, such as we’ve seen for Bhoy? That alone is the testament of how he lived. As our good Lord deemed him necessary to go back home, so we yield, and let Bhoy’s goodness be cherished memories of one good person who made much difference in every heart, foremost of whom is Carie’s, his better, beauteous half.

Still, Winnie, don’t you think we just don’t have enough of the Manalo’s kindness? They are the bereaved, and yet, they see to it that every one is attended to, and that every one is comfortable. One old lady named Sampaguita, narrated their devotion to this family, and if it would be a lifetime of servitude, so be it, for this family has loved them genuinely (as in, if not for this family, there would be no Christmas.) True, because my daughter Tish, who came with us to mourn with her godmother Carie, took a peep at the kitchen, the dishware is for serving not just a whole family but more likely, the entire community if not the city when necessary.

Wait for us, Carie, we will be back.

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