By Virginia J. Pasalo
“REYNALDO Duldulao just joined Messenger!” It sounded like a call from the grave. He was an FB friend in April 2012. I never met him, but we had things in common. My first conversation with him:
“Hi, Reynaldo! I am impressed, the collection of photos is incredible. Would you by chance have any picture with a “Pasalo Studio” in it? My dad used to have a small studio in Sangilo, near the Dangwa Bus Station. I am writing a book on Sangilo. A portion of the book includes contributions from Annak ti Sangilo. May I invite you to write your story? If you are interested, I will send the guidelines to you. Should you have any questions, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you and God bless you! Virginia.”
Thereafter, we exchanged emails. I requested him to just write anything he could remember, to let the words flow, to “not edit”, to just be in the memory, as if it were the present. I waited. Nothing. Then I learned he was sick. And then he was dead, four months after.
And now he is on Messenger. I knew it was not him. I struggled with the decision to unfriend or just keep him there. I wonder if at a deeper level, I might have some unconscious reason for not deleting friends on FB who had already passed on. I was reminded of this since I hesitated to delete some of these friends who have already done so: Rosa Maria Magno, Alber Husin, Adrian Sison and Narda Capuyan.
Alber and Adrian were close friends, we were social advocates. I never met Rosa but we shared poetry. I only met Narda once, who excitedly wrapped me around with her weaves, on a visit to Baguio with my friend, Julia Senga. Reynaldo Duldulao worked in a place where I grew up and in possession of some photos that may document my childhood.
As I browsed their timeline once again, I also searched for my mother’s account which I created and uploaded with her photos and some rare photos of my family. The account was no longer there. How can that happen without me knowing it? I felt like someone robbed me of my mother, even if she passed away a year ago. It deprived me of bits and pieces of precious memory gathered over time. I could have retained her account, had I been informed by Facebook, by way of a legacy contact setting and a memorialized account.
Now, I realize, I am predisposed to keep, not to delete anything, even the ones that bring back painful memories. The painful, more than the joyful, give valuable lessons, a constant reminder of my own vulnerability and my capacity to bounce back, and move on.
suddenly, you are gone
you come to me, in bits and pieces
a sudden burst of laughter, an impish smile
a whisper, brushing, behind my ears
but, you are here again
a fleeting blue flame, burning
and I am warm again, embracing
once more, the presence
I thought, I lost before.
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