Rex suddenly died last Friday. I don’t remember ever meeting him personally, and our only real link was my husband, who shared four college years with him in the seminary. It was a great shock when we heard the news, but I only got a sense of how much a blow it was to Lakay when I heard him absent-mindedly tell our 9-month-old baby, “Anak, a brother of Daddy just died.”
A brother. Yes, I remember now how important the bond he shared with his batchmates in Maryhurst was to him. I can only have an idea of what their lives were together, but it must have been a heck of an adventure to justify such an emotional bond. My husband told me of their beginnings as young and belligerent men, divided by a strong regionalism, and always on the verge of brawling in the refectory. But that divisiveness happily evolved into a mischievous solidarity, as mundanely expressed in their unified preference for Levi’s jeans and Jag/Penshoppe shirts. I also heard the stories of their midnight escapades and their usual banter on their way to the university for their major courses. (These jokes by the way have gained iconic status that they get incessantly repeated —and still laughed at—whenever they gathered together in the years that followed). I smiled when I learned of the batch’s “most common crush” and all the teasing that came with that. I’ve heard of their cruel teacher jokes, the funny anecdotes about their formators, the labels they put on some people and even among themselves. I’ve also heard of the story of how their lives in the seminary culminated and the moving graduation rites that followed that. All these filled the one line my husband said to me when we heard the news,
“Our lives in the seminary have made a deep bond on us as batchmates.”
Rex, your passing has left a gaping hole on your brothers. As I try to sympathize with them, I ask you to look over them now and be their angel. Be with them in their continuous striving, as they live their own paths. May your spiritual presence be their reminder that they are not alone in their struggles. Whenever they say that life is complicated, tell them again of those times when happiness simply meant having birthday ice cream in the seminary.
And, please say hi to Buen for us. May you both find joy in your Rest.
PS. Thank you for inviting me to be your friend in Facebook. Perhaps it was your way of telling me, “Take care of my brother.”