This is the simple statement that accompanied Tita Cory’s smiling picture displayed by the gates of my alma mater, Miriam College. It was a prominent sight along Katipunan Road. After seeing it, I felt a deluge of feelings I have been denying for a while now. The Philippine’s well-loved Cory Aquino is sick and dying. Our Tita Cory. My Tita Cory.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, you know by now that Cory Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer last year. Yet she stayed strong, continued to fight for what she believed in, attended gatherings for democracy and human rights, rallied behind people like Jun Lozano. She stayed strong for the Filipinos. She stayed valiant for us. Despite her illness, she was a beacon of hope and truth in a country neck-deep in dismal situations. She could’ve curled up at home, sighed wearily and said “well, I’ve done everything I can to fight for you but you resist all efforts to help yourselves. It’s up to you now. I will think of myself for a change. I want to live comfortably, be with my family, free from all worries.” But no. She stayed with us and our fight for what is right and true.
Until cancer made its presence felt more strongly.
Argh…cancer. This miserable disease that has the uncanny ability to choose the kind, selfless, wonderful, loving people in the world, inflict them with pain and turn their families lives upside down. In Tita Cory’s case, the whole country is affected. Not just her family, but every Filipino whose life and future she touched when she, a mourning widow back then, stood up against a dictator, to fight for the country her husband died for.
…and now she has reached a point where her body is starting to give in. She is now under “pain management therapy”. This must mean she is getting controlled doses of morphine to relieve the pain. We went through all that with my mother years ago. Towards the end, my mom often slept. Morphine allowed her some minutes worth of escape from the pain.
I just love how Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said “Let’s drop politics on this one and just wish the former President peace in her heart and comfort in her pains”. Yes, lets.
Maybe that’s why me and my family are so affected. When I told my father the (cruel) news that Tita Cory has died (the terrible false alarm last week), he was speechless for a few seconds, and then he said that it was just like how it was with Mama. The lack of appetite, the pain, the spread of cancer to other parts of her body. It’s like reliving my mother’s deterioration all over again.
And did I mention that mom was a die hard Cory-ista? She was. And that is probably why I am too.
I remember years back when Tita Cory called on everybody, especially those from catholic schools, to go to Ayala and attend the rally calling for Erap’s resignation. No second thoughts. That was the only time I attended a political/peace rally, during working hours, with no permission from my bosses. With 4 other officemates, we just walked out of the office and marched on along Paseo towards Ayala. That’s how I valued Tita Cory’s opinions and views. That is the power and influence she has over the Filipino people.
“Alive or close to death, it matters not. Her spirit is infectious,” Msgr. Ernie Joaquin said in his homily.
Miracles can happen. Tita Cory believed it more than anyone else. That’s why she continued to fight for us. She believed that there is hope for our seemingly hopeless situation. She believed miracles can happen.
Let’s pray for her and her family. Let us unite. “She can draw all Filipinos to herself as a dying mother will draw all her children to her bed of pain,” Joaquin also said.
Tie a yellow ribbon and let’s let her feel that we are with her in her struggle.
Tita Cory di ka nag-iisa.