I guess I've always known that Melle was living on borrowed time. But knowing doesn't make the surprise and sadness any lesser when I heard the news that she passed away.
Melissa, or Melle as we fondly call her, was my high school classmate. We weren't particularly close, but our class had been together for 4 years (and managed to keep in touch even after all these years) that it felt like all of us are friends for life. She was one of our classmates who looked so "dalaga" when we were freshmen. She was our Vice President then and her loud voice was so suited in keeping the class in order (I can still hear her shouting "Classmates QUIETTT!!!). She usually took part in our class' favorite intermission number for school activities; i.e. dancing. She was one of our cheerleaders in 4th year. She is so prangka and mataray (she can raise her eyebrows to high heavens) but she's also sweet and very loyal to her friends. When we were in college, she gamely taught us how to conjugate French verbs. In our last reunion, she enthusiastically danced PBB's signature "Pinoy Ako" dance and told us jokingly that she would audition for the next PBB.
I suppose I am not the right person to speak up about Melissa, other than the Melissa I've known as a classmate. I wasn't there for the most part of her adult life. Certainly, I wasn't even there to see how she was when she was discharged from the hospital after her long confinement - and I chose so for purely selfish reasons. I couldn't bear to see this person - someone who's strong-willed and full of life - look diminished, for that is what her sickness has done to her. But only physically, for her resolve - and her family's and loved ones' patience and devotion - never wavered. Truly, something to be admired.
Now, more than ever, I realized how short life is. It's not entirely a depressing realization, but maybe a stark reminder that life is a precious gift, a gift we shouldn't squander. It seems that for Melissa to die at such a young age was a cruel fate. I know, it seemed that way to me. But knowing how she had triumphed over her many trials and struggles, knowing the depth of love showered to her by her family, her daughter, her boyfriend and her friends until the very last days of her life - yes, she might have lived a short life, but such an inspiring, love-filled life!
This isn't just a time to grieve for the lost of a beloved friend, but also a time to celebrate her life and the different ways she had touched ours. I'm sure Melle would have wanted it that way.
a few hours before I received the news, ketz even called me and mock-demand why I haven't updated my blog. I guess this isn't the update she's looking for, or the kind of entry I relish writing...