Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If Life Is So Short...

.:Life Could Be So Short Sometimes:.

Though I knew you briefly, I cherished your friendship dearly…

Last Monday, I attended a wake for a friend after going to Spicy Fingers. The somber mood in the air sort of affected things, but the show must go on, and I’m sure our friend would’ve expected nothing less of us.

So we got to Heritage, and the comedians just caught up with each other, albeit we were all together just last Friday. It was quite a shift in tone, considering how people were grieving, but they were trying to not let it overwhelm the entire evening.

My friend lived a short but meaningful life. I know I’m not perfectly qualified to judge her, but in the few months I have known her, she was nothing but a wonderful person who reminded me and everyone around her that we were all great people. She was the one who was always perceptive, always intuitive, and knew just what to say at the right time, with just the amount of sass and class so as not to come off as preachy or overbearing.

Out of respect to my fellow comedian, I’m holding off on mentioning her name. It seems a little too soon for me to speak of her in this manner, not because I have anything offensive to say about her, but because for me, she died too young, and I wish my fellow comedian didn’t have to go through what I know he’s going through right now.

.:Farewell, Ma'am Edna:.

Everything I do today, I can’t imagine having done them all without you. You were my mentor, you were my friend, you were like a mother to me. I know I never failed to thank you, and to let you know I loved you, but I still wish I could’ve done more…

Last Saturday, in the middle of the alumni homecoming, I was dumbstruck when Luis told me the news: my English teacher in first and second year, Ms. Edna Rivero, passed away at the height of Ondoy. Apparently, complications took its toll on her, and she didn’t make it through.

Like Teacher Glo, Ma’am Edna was one of the teachers in my life who really made an indelible impression on me. She never failed to encourage me in everything I did, and always made me feel that I was doing something worthwhile as a student. She was the one who taught me how to take over a class and made me an unofficial student teacher of sorts. In fact, in freshman high, I won in the student teacher contest they launched for that year. She also fought for me, practically crawling over a bed of hot coals, when it turned out I wasn’t going to get the Communications Award during graduation. She refused to allow me to not be recognized for my efforts in high school, and lobbied to have a Special Award for Journalism made specifically for me to win.

Some might deride that as a “consolation prize” of sorts, but to me, that was the most special award I received, arguably even more than the Cum Laude I received in college. To me, that was not just a recognition of my work: it was a testament of Ma’am Edna’s love for me. As a student, I never felt more loved, more special, than when Ma’am Edna fought to have that award created and given to me. In succeeding years, the award ceased to exist. Effectively, unless someone decides to revive it, I was the first and last recipient of that award.

Ma’am Edna was always full of life and very passionate about what she did. I remember how much she loved preparing for Intramural openings, always steering her house’s presentation towards a tribal theme, no matter what the theme was. We even joked that even if we had a future-themed intrams, she’d probably premise her presentation as tribal because a nuclear holocaust has sent everyone back into a primitive lifestyle.

She also picked me to be the editor-in-chief of my batch’s yearbook. To my recollection, my batch was arguably the fastest batch to receive its yearbook, as we worked very hard on it and had the whole thing ready shortly after the next schoolyear began. We graduated in 2000, so unless I’m mistaken, we got our yearbook in 2000. The batch before us had to wait another year before they got theirs. =P

She was my mentor and I’ll never forget her. It didn’t matter if she never corrected my enunciation to the point that I’m realizing on a daily basis how many common words I actually mispronounce. It didn’t matter if I didn’t win the spelling bee she relentlessly drilled me in (I got one mistake in the difficult round. The winner got one mistake in the easy round. Crazy, huh?). All that mattered is I’d like to think I turned out an okay person, and someone who has managed to impart that kind of passion Ma’am Edna had in the time I was teaching. Maybe I’m not yet done teaching, right? Who knows? All I know is if I could only be half the kind of teacher Ma’am Edna was, I’d have been nothing short of a great teacher.

Thank you, Ma’am Edna. I know I wasn’t there to pay my last respects to you (I wish I knew. I certainly would’ve had I known.), but I hope that somehow, this message, with all my love and gratitude, could go out to you.

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