It pains me to know that our batchmate, Venelyn, is gone too soon. I only learned just last October 24 that she was diagnosed of breast cancer when the Manila Group of our Batch met for the first time just to rekindle our high school days together. So it dawned on us that we should hold our Batch Reunion as soon as possible, without telling Venelyn that she was one of the reasons why we had to hold it soon enough.
What the batch core group was planning then was that there should have been benefit dances during the reunion where we continue to raise funds in a fun way. At the back of our minds, whatever should have been raised during that reunion during the benefit dances, the amount should go to Venelyn’s financial needs, no matter how small the amount may be.
But it did not materialize anymore because we had so much fun rekindling our high school days because we missed each other so much.
We saw how Venelyn was so happy in spite of her condition. She coordinated the seedlings of narra trees that we planted in SMRVS early that morning. I coursed through her the copies of the program that were distributed by our ‘boys’ of the batch to our batchmates. She was so involved in our solicitation campaigns through our group chat. She joked around to ‘sing’ some Christmas carols to some of our batchmates just for them to pitch in some amount. All the while, she was up and about, chatting with us in our chat room, planning things out, rekindling memories, posting old pictures, goofing around with some in the chat room. She was full of life once more, after hibernating from her online life for a while. At the back of our mind, if only she knew we really wanted her to feel happy and be back to life once again.
At times, we even thought of pairing our own kids with the kids of our batchmates. Some eventually ended up calling one another ‘abalayan’ without even their kids knowing about it. It was our way of having fun and make our routine life back to the carefree days of high school.
The last time that she was still felt as strong as ever was when she went to Dagupan for her therapy. Then, she hibernated once more. For some days, she was not online. The days went weeks. We began to feel her absence in the chatroom. Some batchmates were trying to cheer her up. But her usual online life was no longer there.
Then Lani Grace messaged me about her condition. Maybe just a few days left, she told me. My reaction was “God, it’s too soon.”
To lose someone like her, a loving mother, a loving wife – I know it is painful, even when one expects it way ahead because of her condition. I experienced it myself when we lost my mother. I was thankful, though, that the physical agony of my mother finally ended, and that she would start a new life as our faith taught us. Up to know, there is always that pain of having lost my mother in a battle against health.
But life’s reality is like that. Eventually we will all die from this earthly life to be born again in the afterlife. Death is an enigma for us because we do not know how it feels and where are we really headed. Christ showed us that if only we have faith in Him, there is an everlasting life that we should look forward to.
Venelyn’s earthly life might have ended. I guess, she had given the best of herself, knowing her. She grew up well. She was raised well. She studied well. She poured herself well into her work and career. She loved well enough, especially to her husband, Alex, and her prime jewels, her children. The first time that I saw Kaye, I saw Venelyn in her. I saw her two boys very much like their mom - simple, courteous, refined, warm, respectful, loving.
Alex, Beng did not leave you alone. You have your three children as living legacies of Venelyn to you. She is with them. Love them more than ever.
Kaye, Kenneth, and Kelvin, support each other more than ever, and love your dad or papa, more and more each day. To lose a mom is difficult. To lose a spouse is losing a half of one’s self. There is the feeling brokenness. There is the feeling of incompleteness. Breaking up is incomparable to this kind of losing someone you love so dearly.
Goodbye, Venelyn. Finally you can say what St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
So long my dear friend. The batch will miss you, but your memories will linger on and on.
God be with you…. Til we meet again.