for the living

I’ve been collecting them for some time.

I spoke to a friend about the inanity of eulogies at funerals, and we both grieved over all the unheard messages for the departed. This lead me to send random notes to all kinds of people in my life: strangers, acquaintances, friends, relatives. The initial reaction is almost always a shock in the form of, “ano meron?”. It’s sad and weird how unusual appreciation has become that it bewilders us whenever we receive a compliment from someone. The ambitious part of me wanted to break that.

When I started to ask “eulogies” from others, it was on another level of shock, other times followed by a rebuke especially from my family. But there were also some who completely understood the purpose behind my request. It’s just much more convenient if we all say what we want now, I tell them.

May this stir you into action. Speak the beauty you see in others. Do not withhold compliments. Do not withhold appreciation, whether you are or not certain if they deserve it. They always do.

[For future personal use]

Below are the messages I have collected so far. Some of these change over time as senders revise their previously sent eulogies, or they send completely different ones as new memories are built. I am grateful that I get to hear (or read) these things while I still can.

I’m thankful for her existence. For she was one of the few who lent a hand to a wallflower like me. What I will remember the most about her was the silence. Not the uncomfortable silence that has to be intervened by noise, but the silence which carries serenity. Even without a word between us sometimes, I still found solace from the purity of silence that I had with her. As if we were slowly engraving certain moments in our lives, even the mundane ones.  // Genessi

It’s very hard for me to write this. I feel destroyed, empty. A lot of people who were close to her probably feel the same.
It was just so sudden, you know? I recently suffered the loss of my grandmother, but she’s been sick for more than a year, so I was already prepared for when the day she passed away might come. But Sheresh… We were talking and laughing one day, and the next, she was just… gone.
Sheresh Cortes was a simple girl with a rare soul. Quiet and unassuming, she always had her head in the clouds, as if she always wanted to be somewhere else. In her brilliance, she’d turn to you after a while, and say beautifully strange out-of-context things. She was low-maintenance, and wanted nothing more than to lie down, watch a movie, and write some poetic piece that she’d post on her Facebook timeline if she was confident enough. Sheresh was also one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She cared about everyone, and treated anybody she came across with the same respect. She always looked kind of melancholy to me, but every time I’d try to make her laugh, she’d flash the most beautiful smile, and my mind would just go blank.
She was like sunshine. Especially to me. But unlike sunshine, she’s not coming back tomorrow.
It’s not fair that someone like Sheresh was taken from us this early. Heaven has enough angels, don’t you think? I don’t even believe in that stuff, but… She didn’t feel like someone I could reach, but I tried anyway, and it paid off. The time I spent with her feels so… far away and ephemeral. I wish I didn’t leave anything unsaid just because I was afraid. I know that eventually, I will get over it. Eventually, remembering her will only make me smile. Even the love I have for Sheresh, eventually, will burn out and be replaced. However, the halcyon days that she gave me will stay. They’re a part of me now, and for that, I will never forget her. Bye Sherry. // Patrick

Nice, I really don’t know how to make eulogy!! I can’t think of you as a dead person. So, i’m writing this letter just for you to read. 🙂
Si nice, bago ko pa man ma meet in person, naki-kwento na siya sakin ni jason. How close they are, how intelligent she is, how “emo” back then. Takot ako ma meet siya kasi baka englisera! Hahaha! So when i actually met them, luckily, wala naman siyang paki non kasi bata pa siya/kami.. fast forward noong almost 3yrs ko narin siyang kakilala, I was still so hesitant to talk to them kasi mas close nila yung ex ni jason and in my mind hindi naman ako people pleaser. I don’t care kahit pinsan siya ni jason. (Pride!) and.. beh! Had to be real on this….. distant ako sa inyo ni hannah and shiella kasi before i saw how you treat/talk about Jason’s ex. Natatawa ako kapag in front of her you’re close with her pero ‘pag tayo tayo nalang, you talk and laugh about the things you hate about her which made me think na baka ganun lang din kayo sakin so why bother talking with you. Pero, i understand naman na you respect her kaya syempre behind her back nalang yung ayaw niyo sknya. Time goes by nakilala ko pa kayo through overnights. I love seeing the real you in front of the people who matters.. kung paanong makulit ka, maingay, clingy. It changed my way of thinking and wanted to be close sa inyong lahat not just because pinsan kayo ni jason but because i want to be a part of that genuine happiness pag magkakasama lahat.
The usual me tahimik parin pag sa inyo but i am very observant. I got to know you more on social media din. I am a fan of what you post. your beautiful mind says a lot!! How you view things, your perspective. Ang ganda, nice!! Lalo na noong nakasama kita sa jomalig, i experienced there how to be with you dreaming, thinking, reflecting, appreciating mother nature. When we talked, you made me think like this “grabe siya mag-isip, ang lawak, ang lalim” “oo nga noh” “Bakit hindi ko naisip yun?” Nalunod ako sa thoughts mo and i really thank God that you were there because i learned a lot! Hindi lang halata. Hmm… I told you before that even you’re not the same age sakin, i know that you can be trusted, there comes this scenario na hindi ko naman talaga gustong mag open up pero when you and the rest na andon where asking how i was eh hndi ko na napigilan mag open up at maiyak. I am this kind of person na full of herself, ayaw mag open up sa iba, gusto kinakaya lahat on her own but your character which i know makes me want to open up to you. I know mahehelp niyo ko and hindi naman ako nagkamali. Thank you kasi nandoon ka when i least expected you! 🙂 Instead of eulogy that is supposed to be a letter for you when you die, can’t think of it talaga so in this letter i ask you to pls live! Chase your dreams, live the life you dream of, be more passionate about things, grow your love for the Lord and seek His will for your life. For me, your existence make this world a better place! ❤ i love you! // Ate Jona

Hi, si Nice ay nakilala ko sa former church na ina-attendan namin before and where naging bandmates kami, nagkkeyboard siya hehe wow diba, at kumakanta rin siya! At maganda ang boses niya at magaling siyang kumanta. For me sayang na parang hindi niya masyadong ginagamit.
Naging close talaga kami sa isa’t isa. Actually naging crush ko nga rin siya eh hahaha. Napaka saya niya kausap at hindi mo mapapansin sa kanya sa unang tingin na ang funny niya hahaha sobra kong gusto yung humor niya. For me sobrang nakakapagtaka rin na parang karamihan sa ugali at mga hilig namin talagang magkaiba kami at naging close kami at super comfortable to one another. OR maybe ako lang yun? Haha
I really consider her as a very good and true friend of mine. I-isa siya sa iilan ko lang na nakakausap ng mga deeps spiritual talks. Sobrang dami kong natutunan sa kanya na hindi ko ginagawa or nagagawa. Siguro yung talaga ang perks kapag magkalayo ang hilig niyo ano? Marami akong moment sa life ko na parang “kundi dahil kay Nice hindi ko matututunan at malalaman ang mga bagay na ito”.
Tapos may mga times na bigla nalang siyang magppm or magtetext out of the blue and it really makes me happy of course, na there’s someone na may gustong ishare sa akin na it’s either hilig niya or hilig ko or maybe parehas naming hindi pa alam. Nakakatuwa siya sobra kasi ang dami niyang mga gustong gawin at ma-try in life haha kahit medyo rebellious na yung iba tsk. Hahaha
Sobrang dami kong natutunan kay Nice as in.
I-appreciate ang nature, ang different kind of arts, books, films at sobrang dami pa. Pati na rin ang pagappreciate ng time alone.
Sana mas na-experience niya pa ang life at nagawa ang mga gusto niyang gawin. Pero kahit sa maiiksing panahon ang laki ng impact niya sa buhay ko. Thank you. // Rain

My dearest cousin Nice,
First, I just want u to know that I miss you so much. I can’t imagine living my life without u. You were my “best friend” kahit di mo alam at kahit wala akong best friend. Sobrang saya ng life with u and it’s hard for me to accept the fact that you’re not here with us anymore :'((( since we were kids, magkasama na tayo and ang dami na nating napagsamahan and dreams na na-share sa isa’t isa. You’re the coolest person na kilala ko, I know you’re not into sports or whatever but I think your creativity is what makes you the coolest one and the same time yung pagiging baliw mo. I admire every piece that u make (alam mo yan) lagi kong sinasabi sayo na I’m your number one fan. Anddd I know na magiging isang batikang director ka and u were kung ano man ang narating mo (yung mga nasa isip mo palang na i-direct, alam kong maganda na yun) at ganda ng mga films na nagawa mo (in your mind). Marami pa tayong dreams together na tutuparin pero iniwan mo ko how dare u (hahaha) I used to see your pretty face every weekend and your kabaliwan and I will surely miss your gorgeous face and everything about u, kung paano mo ko inisin sa pangungulit mo at yung moma natin at mga selfish lakad natin together. At oo nga pala, dami mong friends, btw. Daming nagmamahal sayo. This one’s really tough for me bro, for all of us. I miss you soooo much Pogs, I will miss you every single day. I love you so much, I know you’re happy right now with God. I’ll see you there someday. Love you. // Ate Hannah

First of all, I would like to say Hi to all of you.
Resh, as we fondly called her, my friend, your friend, your niece, your daughter.. an angel sent from above. This girl, I really don’t know what to say… She’s very incredible… AS IN. A very good friend of mine… Well, it fits naman sa face, maganda na, eheeeem wala ka pang masasabi sa ugali. One of the coolest, wittiest, prettiest.. lahat na ata ng “iest” nakuha na niya. Sobrang, idol ko tong kaibigan kong to, yung standards niya sa film kakaiba, sa music ay napaka! Wala akong masabi.. Ito lang talaga, kahit napaka-kalog mo na alam nating hindi ikinabawas ng kagandahan mo na sa katunayan nga eh kinaganda mo dahil tatandaan ang pagiging totoo ay isa sa pinakamaganda at humuhubog sa isang tao. Mahal na mahal kita, friend. Maraming Salamat sa alaala, sa tiwala, sa pagmamahal sa pag-eexist mo sa mundong to, labyu tohl. labyu. ❤ // Polly

I’ve never done this before.
My first eulogy for my beloved friend, sheresh cortes.
Hi nice, gneiss, the special metamorphic rock. I miss you already bro. You’re one of the people who i can truly count on or trust. From my first impression na ang sungit mo hanggang sa you are not masungit at all (bawal lang manggulo pag nanonood siya) everything about you is perfect. Yes, lahat.  I really admire how you see things, how you add value or appreciation sa things na other people won’t notice at all. One thing i love about us ay ang ating talks, i love it na when may mag pop-out sa utak kong thought or something i can just say it to you na walang keme. Our adventures, syempre konti lang pero ang saya. Our momas na tinutulugan lang ni hannah. And gusto mo yung star wars :((( sana napanood natin yung episode 7 together diba? Naalala mo ba yung mga moment natin sa garden sa labas ng ccf pati yung sa may mainit na part sa tapat ng bhotel sa likod. Naiiyak ako tuwing naalala ko yun, wala lang ang ganda lang nung nga moment na yun (kung naalala mo pa sana naalala mo kasi super laking part nun sakin) kasi ang perfect non. Sana naman nagamit mo yung magnetic poetry at napanood mo lahat yung pnadownload mo sakin joke.
everyone will love the people who died but not everytime they’ll remember them time will come that they’ll not even think of them. But in your case, I won’t. I promise. You’ll always be here in my heart, not every feb or nov but everytime. You are one of the best person i’ve ever known and i will never forget you just like that.Thank you for everything, you’ve contributed so much for RJ’s existence and sana ako din sayo. I love you so much, believe me i really do. // RJ

See you. // Renzo