Friday, May 9, 2008

Tita Inday

My Tita Inday died today. A wonderful person who graced our lives when we lived in Brooklyn. I would pick her up in Astoria in Queens at 5 in the morning on Mondays and make our way through the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and drive her back on Friday evening. Throughout those exceedingly busy work weeks, she stayed with us and cooked unforgettably delicious meals and took excellent care of our first child.

Long before her cancer and her dying made it easy for us to gloss over her failings, I would tell my relatives that the Tita Inday I knew never uttered an unkind nor an uncharitable comment against anyone despite having endured her own share of unfaithfulness, disloyalty, ingratitude. I am grateful I had the chance to tell her last Christmas that I did not have a single unhappy memory of our time together in New York.

We would make our way to northeast Philadelphia on weekends every chance we got to scour the magnificent clearance racks in what was then the largest outlet mall in the US. Most, if not all of her salary went towards thoughtfully made purchases for her family. It made me and my wife very happy to know that she was happy to be with us. We would have been privileged to have let her continue to stay with us but taking care of her own grandson naturally took precedence. Tita Inday had a clear understanding of what duty was all about.

When she was diagnosed with colon cancer, I could not help speculate how easy it would have been for me to screen her in my clinic and how much my other children would have learned from her kindness and how obese my wife and I would have become if only she remained with us but that is the way life is. You make your choices and for the good ones among us, you live your life for others.

Tita Inday was an Assumptionista. Her father was a talented golfer from Bacolod who helped establish one of the first law schools in the Philippines and who was also a successful publisher. Her mother was a prominent leader of the Catholic Womens League in its formidable days. At her wedding, Judy Araneta and Precy Lopez were part of the entourage. My Tita Inday may never have attained the early promise of her bright social stature but at the end of our lives, who really cares?

She was gentle, she was kind, she was generous and she kept her Faith. Rest now, Tita Inday. May we meet again.

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