Ika-labing isa ng Setyembre, 2001
I just remembered that today is September 11, and while wandering around the internet, I found a video tribute to some of the Filipino casualties on that tragic and fateful day. I guess it serves as a reminder that 9/11 isn’t just an “American” tragedy – it was everyone’s tragedy …
(“Saan Ka Man Naroroon” is a traditional Filipino ballad, and is roughly translated as “Wherever You May Be”)
Despite the title of this blog entry, the past week had been anything but. Days had been filled with work-related stress, the pressure to meet standards and deadlines – and sadness. Some weeks ago, I found out through Facebook that a former high school student in the school I used to teach leaped to his death from the 4th floor of a shopping mall in Manila. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic and bi-polar. He struggled with this condition for most of his life and even blogged about it. He loved comic books and writing stories. He was only in his early twenties.
And through private messages in Facebook, I learned from another former student and one of the school’s coordinators that another student passed away. I taught in their Reading and English classes when they were in Grades 4 and 5. He had a lovable sense of humor and was hooked on the Percy Jackson series of books. Last year, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. On Tuesday morning, he never woke up. He was around 17 years old.
Grief and a sense of loss – these were emotions that should’ve been better felt by their families, their friends, the people who have been really close to them. And I wondered at times why these incidents affected me so. I’ve only paid a few, intermittent visits to my old place of work. Liking and commenting on my old students’ and former colleagues’ Facebook posts was, for the most part, the extent of my connections with them. So why do I sometimes catch myself weeping at my workstation?
While talking about the incident with 2 sympathetic and understanding co-workers, I quoted a line from “LOTR: The Two Towers” – “No parent should have to bury their child.” It then eventually dawned on me – things ought to have been the other way around. This should not have happened. And yet – they did.
I suppose that’s it then. It’s almost like losing your own child. As one of their many “second parents”, this was how I suppose it felt like. While I grieve for now, I send prayers to you both. Ado, those demons are forever banished and you can step out smiling from the shadows. Lem, I’m sure the angels are laughing at your many jokes and quips.
“Let happy be where sadness was …”
“Some of the bereaved expressed conflicted feelings of guilt: Why they survived, and why their loved ones didn’t. And in at least one case, why they had been able to save others, but not their own.”