Last week, my batchmates in high school and classmates in college were all shocked to hear a very devastating news: our batch mate, Jerico Tolentino, passed away. Jerico and I weren’t really close, for he was a man of very few words. Very few. And you all know how much of a chatterbox I am. But looking back, I realized that we shared so many things together: we were classmates in high school, we were in the COCC together, we used to share a jeepney going home (because I used to live in Forestry in high school just as he did), and we were even blocmates at UP. He was the sort of guy who keeps to himself, and someone a bully would leave alone because there was nothing annoying about him. Absolutely nothing. He’s someone you would respect, and whose rare smile would also make you smile. He passed away in Hamburg, Germany, where he’s been working and living for just two months. Like many others, I am also curious when his remains would be brought back home so I could pay my final respect. So I visit his Facebook page every now and then.
I have read many touching messages/wall posts to a dearly departed on Facebook. But none of them stuck in my head the way Jerico’s wife’s wall post did:
What struck me most there was that in their six years of being together, they never fought. My kneejerk reaction to that was that it was so unusual and seemingly abnormal. But when I read further, I understood:
“You said life is too short to dabble in petty things.”
Like Jerico’s wife, I, too, agree. I feel that life was so unfair to Jerico, for he passed away too soon. Too soon! He’s my age, for crying out loud! At this point, my constant prayer is always for Randy and me to live long enough to see and play with Raviv’s grandchildren. Life, despite and in spite of everything, is still too beautiful to leave behind quickly.
Perhaps Jerico felt the same way—that life is beautiful. But he was wiser. While many of us would want to be like a phoenix rising from its ashes when we are slighted (and then take our battle to social media to elicit sympathies and perhaps make our complaint go viral), Jerico decided to keep quiet and remain…happy. He just wanted to laugh, cry with happiness, and get smothered in love. And I guess, most people would prefer a short life like that than a long life full of hatred and bitterness.
But oh, if we could live long lives full of joy and love and peace, wouldn’t that be pure bliss?