Sunday, October 13, 2013

Segundina: Eat. Pray. Love

Today, as we celebrate Segundina’s journey to heaven to join God, her Creator and Remigio, our dad and our beloved, we pause to reflect on how her life was part of ours.

Segundina, Ding, Abogado De Ungria, served many roles in her 79 years here on earth. She was her family’s bunso, the dutiful daughter who took care of our Lola Papeng until Lola’s death, and there was no doubt she was Lola’s paborito. I now believe that the constant question- “Who’s your favorite?” started from this.
She was the youngest sister to Uncle Doring, the last survivor of the Abogado family from Villasis, Pangasinan and to her siblings who have gone ahead and have surely welcomed her there:  Auntie Dyoning, Uncle Nardo, Auntie Nena, Auntie Auring, Auntie Conching, Aunti Sion.
She was the nurse, wife, supporter of our dad, James De Ungria,  who she loved unconditionally in sickness and in health, and in rich and in poor, till death 1300 days ago set them temporarily apart.
She was our beloved mom who gave us everything and never asked for anything in return. If you see anything bad in any of us- me, Joel, Cora and Paul, today, if there is anything wrong that we do, it is because of our fault. But if you see anything good in us, surely it was because of mom. And we can never thank her enough for that. If any of us achieved part of our dreams, it was because she let us and enabled us to do so.
She was the favorite tita or auntie for a lot of you, the proxy mother when you needed her most –cooking for us, always offering us food, driving us to school, listening to our heartbreaks, protecting us from harm and danger.

And to all of us, she was the happy, cheerful, ever-smiling prayer warrior who prayed for our well-being and safety when we needed it most and even when we thought we didn’t.

And so today, as I was thinking of what she would want to be remembered, I thought of the 79 years of  lifetime service to all of us. And what stands out is what she gave up so that she can give a better life for us. She gave up her dental profession to take care of her children. She gave up her dream, every bride and every wife’s dream, to have a separate house; she obeyed lolo’s request for us to stay with them at Matiyaga. She gave up her own physical health to take care of my dad during the 11 years he survived after his paralyzing stroke.
At the Ateneo, we are challenged to be a man for others. Surely, mom, Segundina,  was the ultimate, undisputed, Woman for others, the Lola, mother, wife, sister, tita that seconded her life and her dreams so that our life and our dreams will be possible. For mom, it was others first, Segundina second. For Lola Ding it was you and I first. Segundina second.

Until yesterday, I  thought that Segundina’s life would be best characterized by what we know as Faith, Hope and Love. For surely, she exemplified all these virtues- Faith, Hope and Love.
But after hearing all of the anecdotes, stories and memories that was shared last night, I think that Segundina’s life is really about 3 actions that we should continue even after her passing from this earth. These 3 actions are: Eat, Pray, Love. And if she were able to speak now, I think she would say:
Eat. Pray. Love.
Eat for health and not for food. Eat not alone but together with family. Eat to live. Eat with your loved ones. Eat to celebrate a birthday, a school medal, a graduation or simply eat because you are blessed with that special moment with family and friends. And eat and then take pictures so that one day when one needs a good memory, then that wonderful eating moment together is recalled in all its color and joy.
Pray. Pray and never doubt. Pray once, twice, three times a day, pray unceasingly. Pray persistently. Pray not for self but for others. Pray and you must expect that it will be answered even if the answer may come in a different form and time. Pray even when you don’t need it but especially when you do. And like she did, keep some money in your prayerbook so that when your son opens it, he will find an answer that he will never forget and which he can pass on to his children and to the rest of the family.
Love. Love unconditionally. Love others first and yourself second. Love even when it hurts. Even when it is not easy. Love in sickness and in health. Love in rich and in poor. Love in life and in death.
Eat. Pray. Love. From hereon, I will hear her whisper from heaven these 3 actions which I will continue with my own family. I promise.

Oh. One last thing. If you saw the many pictures of mom, there is no doubt that they were taken  during the best of times, and during the worst of times - when life was not as she would have wanted. These snapshots were taken when she was at the peak of her youthful beauty, and when she was the ailing senior citizen patient in so much pain. But she always smiled at the camera. I guess she did it not for herself alone but more for us so that we can always remember to be happy, to eat, to pray and to love.

Dear friends, relatives, colleagues, for each and all of you here who have come to share with us mom’s final moments here, thank you, thank you, thank you.  You honor us and Segundina with your presence, with your precious time, your prayers and your tears of joy and grief.

Let us celebrate today, for mom is now home in heaven. She is with dad. She is free.


Please let us honor her memory, her life and her sacrifice by acting as she did: Eat. Pray and Love. And the greatest, is Love.





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