Epi­taphs speak for the en­tombed

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Opinion -

Be­yond names, along with dates of birth and death, epi­taphs in­spire friends and rel­a­tives who visit the gravesites of their dear de­parted. Re­mem­brances are long and they be­gin and end way be­fore and af­ter Un­das sea­son. Who can beat the Pi­noy in their mes­mer­iz­ing gush of emo­tions?

Beat me to the draw, ev­ery­one—wher­ever, when­ever, how­ever—in epit­o­miz­ing a loved one: My hubby Rudy—up there in high heav­ens—must be smil­ing at his bet­ter-half im­mersed in the over­flow of mem­o­ries.

Get it, dear read­ers: Atty. Rodolfo Gedang Lagoc was the bet­ter half (gee, I'm the lesser half) in our con­ju­gal part­ner­ship. He was a hu­man rights lawyer—de­fender of the op­pressed, the voice­less[j1] , the ex­ploited. On his epi­taph, I chose lines from Si­mon and Gar­funkel, also made fa­mous by song­ster John Den­ver: “Like a bridge over trou­bled wa­ters, I will lay me down…” — lines that ex­em­pli­fied what he was in his life­time, de­fend­ing de­mon­stra­tors de­fy­ing the Fer­di­nand Mar­cos dic­ta­tor­ship. Call this a plum award: His in­car­cer­a­tion in the Mar­cos stock­ade for al­most eight months. Dates are of no ac­cord, but these were en­graved in his tomb: Dec. 18, 1935 – Feb. 7, 2012. What is a life span, but what the mor­tal man had achieved in his life­time on earth.

Sim­p­li­cio Cordova Carreon, Sr. is at the top of the heap in our clan—be it past, present or fu­ture—up and down the years. An awe­some math ma­jor, he rose from high school prin­ci­pal to Oton mayor, a life that be­gan on Jan­uary 9, 1903 and ended on Oc­to­ber 25, 1993. Chil­dren, grand­chil­dren, and great grand­chil­dren all agreed on this epi­taph en­shrined in his honor: Thank you for your legacy of hu­man­ity, hu­mil­ity, and courage.

The iconic R.I.P. is on the tablet for my mother, Cris­teta Rivera-Carreon, Fe­bru­ary 4, 1904 – May 27, 1960 fol­lowed by the mod­est re­mem­brance from hus­band and chil­dren. Sim­i­lar ver­sions are etched in many other gravesites—re­flec­tions of the ten­der, lov­ing care of those left be­hind.

My el­dest brother An­to­nio R. Carreon Sr. (De­cem­ber 30, 1932 – March 28, 1980) was the only mem­ber in the fam­ily gifted with a sweet singing voice. Fit­tingly, this in­scrip­tion was se­lected for him: “At the end of the storm, there's a golden sky and the sweet sil­ver song of the lark…” A na­tive trans­la­tion fol­lowed: “May balan­gaw pagkat­a­pos

bagyo…” A song fraught with hope sang by my brother An­to­nio, an­other hu­man rights lawyer like my Rudy.

From the fam­ily of an­other brother, hand­some Dr. Vi­cente Rivera Carreon: “Our beloved Tatay, in our hearts you will stay for­ever.” Calm and gen­tle, Manong Cente would break into a joke or com­ments that tin­kle the funny bone. I could only wish for a sam­pling of his sense of hu­mor. It would take hours for me to re­call—gabs that in­cited smiles and chuck­les. How he could ease your pain with hearty laughs. As the Reader's Di­gest would have it, laugh­ter is the best medicine.

The lat­est to exit was Toto Pis­ing (Fe­bru­ary 3, 1939 – Septem­ber 18, 2016). An ac­tivist in thought, in word, and in deed—three-fold in­deed—he lived by this tru­ism in­scribed in his rest­ing place: “There is no per­ma­nent power in this world. Be nice to peo­ple on your way up be­cause you will meet them on your way down.” His frail health did not de­ter the ac­tivist in him in pur­suit for the com­mon good.

Ever a help­ing hand, my youngest brother Geron­imo Rivera Carreon, lived to the hilt his life's guide­post: “Any good thing I can show a fel­low be­ing, let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.” What else can we do, but abide by his motto through and through— yes, till the end of our lives. Only then will his me­mory live on, and that of his name­sake, our great grand­fa­ther Geron­imo Carreon FREE­DOM FIGHTER in blaz­ing red at the cen­ter of the pan­theon honors the fam­ily hero, Ed­mundo Rivera Leg­is­lador (Novem­ber 24, 1950 – July 27, 1973). Toto Ed­die, as we fondly called him, left us on the on­set of Mar­tial Law — a life nipped in the bud of youth. We can only imag­ine what he could have ac­com­plished in ser­vice to our coun­try and peo­ple.

The last but the mostest of those who went ahead was my aunt Piedad Rivera-Leg­is­lador (Jan­uary 25, 1913 – April 1, 1995). Nanay Piedad was the ac­tivists' Nanay when the First Quar­ter Storm of protests en­sued in UP Dil­i­man in 1973. She typ­i­fied ev­ery word en­graved in her honor: “Life is lov­ing, car­ing, shar­ing and giv­ing joy to oth­ers.” Hers is a legacy for us de­scen­dants to keep alive for­ever and ever.

Ju­lia Carreon-Lagoc was a Panay News colum­nist for two decades. She pops up with Ac­cents now and then. (jclagoc@gmail. com)/WDJ

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