An old photo shows Bahay Kubo’s Mommy Lucing with the writer

THE last image of Mommy Lucing was on distant mid-afternoon when her guiding hand led my wheelchair to a waiting ride. Against the gate of Bahay Kubo, her lips pursed a trifle, her pain of steady eyes gleaming with a kind understanding light. Smiling, she waved. I didn’t realize that it would be the last time that I would see her alive again.

When it approaches, death announces itself with a kind of scent, some silent sound. In this case, surrounded by her children after a journey to a hospital that seemed so far away; she opened her eyes, drew a very long breath and then her gentle heart burst.

Stiffened in the soulful immobility of the dead, she proudly rejected every word and every gesture of affection from people whose lives she had touched.  These are the people that wept a quiet farewell, all that remained of what she was 12 hours earlier.

How does one say goodbye to an ally, confidant, mother confessor, who listened to one’s secret hopes, shared one’s deliciously wicked, schemes, and possible dreams?  She was the elfin godmother who teased me into good spirits when life sucked and our only language was laughter.  Some of the time, our talks had to do with “STG,” a great man whom I adore and respect and held in esteem.

The friendship of Mommy Lucing

There is something about friendship — its fragility and resiliency — in its role as a connecting tissue between the lives of women.  She and I do not need to agree about everything to tolerate each other’s point of view.  It is acceptance without judgment, a give and take without ever keeping score.  Just to be there — as we are here for her and as she was for me — to comfort our sorrow, to celebrate our joys, share the redemptive ardor of spiritual fulfillment.

It is said that among women, friendship is when you totally love, support and trust each other.  To bare to each other the secrets of your souls and run, no questions asked.  To help each other and say harsh truths, when truths must be said. That was how she was to me.  

How easy to say that a friend is a friend all the way, but that’s such a very narrow point of view. For the friendship I have and I see in her are conducted at many levels of intensity, served a lot of different functions and met different needs and range. It is never casual or nonchalant because that’s how dearly Mommy Lucing is. I treasure her character and spirituality.  

What this friendship means to me, and what I mean to her is having a dear sister without sibling rivalry. We have no emotional distance. We know the texture of each other’s lives, the reason why one is hurt by the bigotry of others but only to our best friend, we’re willing to tell what’s gnawing all at the inner recesses of one’s heart.  We bonded and loved and not only faced adversity (if there was ever one) together but faced each other and while there was something probably different in the way we spent and “do” our time.  We “were” simply trained and restraint, she’s never been afraid of other’s judgment so that I’ve never felt awkward with our affection for each other. She made it easy for me to say “you make a difference.”

It is a very lovely kind of friendship — close and dear, tender and caring — from the similar intellectual interests to share a faith that makes life’s journey more fun, unique and bearable, mindful of grand blessings, to be grateful about.  

Our friendship advocated through her committed intelligence, as a single minding truth speaker; like a credo’s enduring probity.  

The loss of one’s best friend helps sort out thoughts — to wake up from a sleep that befuddles intelligence and prevents judgment   It hits harder because it brings the reality that death is not just a bad dream. When a dear friend dies a part of you goes with her that no one can ever bring back and when you lose a part of yourself, it is difficult to halt the tears.

The mourning never ends.

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E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol.com

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