Gone too soon

By Jing Villamil

WE do not bury our children. They bury us. This is how things are supposed to go. Fetus, neonate, infant, toddler, pre-school, almost unending school-age, adults thereafter. Life lived to the full.

For us older folks, when the sun had risen for the last dawning, when it dipped for the final farewell – these children shed tears (well, almost all of them) for the absence of a presence which they believed seemingly forever-more here, there and everywhere. Death is rest richly deserved and very much expected. When the curtains drop for us, we bow and go out gracefully. Although some of us prefer to stubbornly stay on stage for more encores! We do wish to live to a hundred (Tawad God, to see our kids and apos through!), but a lot of systemic disorder make sure we do not: cardiovascular, circulatory, pulmonary, allergies, etc. Cancer, Hepatitis, Dengue, HIV, etc. – wild bacteria and unruly virus gone wilder, more unruly. Also, deaths due to unknown causes – undiagnosed, untreated. Accidents – unbidden, unexpected. Then, there, too, are the mean toughies, with guns and knives and hard-hitting fists.

We are born, we grow, we strive to live to our fullest max. Then we die. For each life, a cycle that completes itself at the end. Or else, without dying, we become immortals! Our ancient, tottering selves will crowd poor mother earth, crowded as she already is!

But it’s entirely different thing when the young ones die without having even begun to live! The parents shed tears not only for the gnawing absence of a beloved presence – of a voice echoing from a happier past, of laughter still ringing in the ears of the mind, of a naughty smiling face but only as images caught by the cam. The parents’ tears are mostly for a child’s life unfulfilled, cut too short, too soon. A song stilled when just trilling for the high notes; a jump frozen when legs were just raring for the big leap.

So very young; so very dead. So very dear; so very gone.

Maybe it would lighten things a bit, if they who had gone too soon, would somehow whisper to the grieving hearts: I am not there in that box on which your tears fall, which you touch with your fingers gently, lovingly. Look up, please, to the skies far beyond the fluffy clouds. I am here with Papa God. And HE and I and the others who had gone ahead like me, shall watch over you forever-more here, there and everywhere! And WE shall join you as you smile and laugh and sing and leap! We shall forever be young as we had left! And WE shall wait for you all, but not too soon, so do not rush!

And as they wave goodbye, they flutter and swish their pretty white wings. Or so we fervently wish . . .

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is for a friend who just lost a child; her story comes next issue. This piece is a revise of Left Behind written 13 years ago for same intent by same author. This is also a study on the preferred use of “shall” over that of “will”.)

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