I write this article in anticipation of a milestone in my wonderful marriage. My husband of 25 years and I decided to renew our vows in a ceremony with all “the works” that go into a Filipino wedding. It was something that we’ve decided to do years ago, something that we’ve planned, saved up for, joyfully anticipated together with our three sons. And now that it’s here, it seems that there are still a million things to do for me. In the span of 25 years, weddings have reached an epic level of preparations, details and of course, cost. From simple Betamax video coverage that you get several days after your wedding day, we now have on-site videos whose costs can almost rival that of an Indie film!
But I’m not going to discuss the OAness but exciting aspects of weddings these days. (I’ll probably do this later.) You see while we anticipate this milestone, some heart-stopping moments happened. My mom is sick, and even if she assures us that she feels fine, the symptoms came back and we need to bring her back for further tests. My oldest son got into a car accident and thank God he’s miraculously scratch-free. My sister’s mother-in-law, who’s close to us, died today. A cousin was diagnosed with cancer. In fact, even the deaths of Robin Williams and my youngest son’s batchmate are affecting me right now.
A part of me asks, “Is it right to be celebrating our silver wedding anniversary joyfully amidst all these?” I feel like I’m riding a roller coaster of emotions right now.
Whenever I think about my mom’s condition, I can’t help but be teary eyed. I know we have a lot to be thankful for but we can never be ready for things like this. She had always been our Supermom hardly getting sick and this makes it difficult for us to reconcile our juvenile perception of her with our adult realization of her present condition. And today my sister’s mother-in-law, who belongs to the same age group as my parents,’ passes away. My son’s accident last weekend was an eye opener for us how a tiny error, just an inch more, could be fatal and leave us all weeping for the rest of our lives. My cousin who’s a doctor, who would see my parents when they wanted medical opinion, is now the one fighting his own battle. The suicide of a talented actor whose movies we all enjoyed and that of a seemingly happy teenaged girl point to the great danger of depression that we are all susceptible to. This reminds me of a quote from Fr. Orbos which we should all heed, “Lahat tayo dumadaan sa problema at pagsubok. Daanan mo lang, huwag kang tumambay!” (We all go through problems and trials. Just go through them, do not “stand-by” or hang out there.) – But of course the Filipino version gives the stronger punch.
All of these life-changing moments come together and make me move away from the details and frenzy of wedding preparations to focus on life – its meaning, its being predictable that all of us will grow old, and at the same time its randomness of who goes first.
The thing is, such is life. All these happy moments and sad moments, events that kick us out of our comfort zones are what make us truly alive, grow and improve. In fact, a life without these disequilibrium moments would be dull and might not be worth living.
As I pause and gather my thoughts and emotions, I become more thankful for the gift of life, for everything around me. I feel that I should not lose time in thanking the people around me, forgiving those who hurt me, forgiving myself for my own shortcomings, sharing what I know that’s worth sharing, expressing my love, enjoying life and savoring every minute of it. So to answer my earlier question, “Is it right to be celebrate our silver wedding anniversary joyfully amidst all these?” the answer becomes a “Yes!” that’s more resounding than ever before.