Eulogies

A friend's dad's friend, Tito B---, died last week, and, having met him many times too, I went to his funeral. We were late, or they were early, and by the time we arrived, his coffin was already buried underneath clods of soil and flowers from the wake.

The occasion was tragic, but it was a beautiful day. The cool wind softened the mid-afternoon sun and, as the little children ran around, unmindful of the gravestones, I stood with my friends and listened to the dead man's friends tell his widow what a character, what a good friend, her husband was.

They swapped stories, shared anecdotes, elaborated on each other's recollections. Most of them hadn't met her before, and they probably wanted to give that side of Tito B--- that was unfamiliar to them a side of him that they knew well.

I wonder what people will say about me at my funeral? "She was so funny!" for sure, and even something like, "She was a shiny, happy person who got along well with everybody."

If I've had a little success, they might say, "She was a great writer," or "It's a monumental loss for Philippine literature." Or even, "I never really liked her work anyway."

If I've become a failure, they might say things like, "So who's going to support her children now?" or "She died poor and lonely." or "She was holding an unfinished manuscript--I think her graduate school thesis from years ago--as she breathed her last."

Frankly, I'd settle for, "So who's going to inherit her billions now?" but I think, in that scenario, people will mostly likely shake their heads and say, "This is proof that you can't take it with you. Tsk, tsk."

But what I really want for at least one person to say is something along the lines of: "She brushed her teeth twice, once before flossing, and again after it." And, "She liked to wet her feet first before the rest of her body when she took a shower." Also, "She liked thyme in her spaghetti."

Or, "When she was a little girl, she liked to hold out one hand and clasp it with the other, pretending someone else was holding hands with her as she played alone."

I would go in peace, knowing I had been known, seen, that I had been.

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