Chapter 2: Forgiveness

Eulogies have always been strange to me.

People talk about good memories about the dead but everyone who listen end up crying.

People talk kindly of the dead compared to when he was still living.

People would say things about the dead that would still surprise you.

I attended my Uncle’s wake with a resolve to pray for him and tell him that I wholeheartedly forgive him — despite all the resentment throughout the years.

I don’t know much about the after life but, in this case, I would like to believe that we really have spirits who can still see, hear, and feel the living world even when we have already departed. In the realm of the unknown, I hope he heard me when I came up to his coffin and said,

I forgive you. Rest in peace, Uncle. 

In the series of speeches by people close to him, I came to know that my Uncle has always been the joker of the group, the center of attention. An aunt said that even in death he, still, is the center of attention. He died on Christmas Eve so instead of having the usual holiday festivities, we all gathered in the funeral home for his wake. It was supposed to be a joke, but sometimes old people jokes really bewilder me.

His friends talked about his antics, his daughters talked about  his kindness to them, his son-in-law talked about his unfulfilled dream of becoming a lawyer and making it a mission to make this dream a reality for his brother-in-law, my Uncle’s only son.

His wife… his wife talked about forgiveness.

On the last night of the wake when the eulogies happened, she requested everyone whom her husband has wronged over the years to find it in their heart to forgive him and make their peace with him. He wasn’t perfect, all of them said, but they hope that we hold on to the good memories instead and let the bad be buried when he’s finally rested.

It’s a pity that my Uncle’s goodness has been masked by the evils of inebriation and we became his punching bags for his frustrations in life. I was just comforted by the fact that his verbal cruelty towards us were not experienced by his own children, some of his relatives, and few of his friends.

While writing this, I realized that eulogies are surprising because you will never really get to know a person 100%. Everyone of us has a myriad of personalities; each side revealed to those we only allow it to. We could be cruel and kind at the same time. We could be sad and funny at the same time. We could be inconsiderate and loving at the same time. Popular opinion would say to always stay in the lighter spectrum — be kinder than necessary — but reality is, not all people are gifted with enough kindness and self-control. Some get controlled by the devils on their backs. Some by the alcohol they take daily.

I also realized that eulogies tend to be kinder to the dead not because we are a fickle society, but because we choose to part with the departed on good terms. In the past whenever I attended wakes or hear about a death and the people’s mourning, there will always be someone who will say: I hope they said those kind words to him when he can still hear them. I hope they made him feel loved when he was still living. But that’s doesn’t really help, does it? Sometimes, it’s better to stick to the good than be consumed by the bad. Sometimes, it’s best to treat bad memories as water under the bridge and just bury the hatchet.

Lastly, I realized that eulogies make people cry despite the retelling of good memories because in the end they are the ones that we like to remember but can no longer recreate.

Sa mga taong nakulugan sang agom ko, ako na tabi nag-aagad pasensya. Sana dai nyo na po isipon ang mga mararaot. Ipabalon nyo na sana tabi saiya su mga mararay…

To those whom my husband hurt, let me be the one to say sorry. I hope that you no longer think about the bad. Please let him take all the good memories with him… 

I did.

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