Saturday, November 12, 2011

Death and the wonder of God's promise

Tito Lito Calzado at my wedding in 2007
My Tito Lito died yesterday. I wasn't close to him but my Papa and Tito Lito were almost like brothers when they were growing up. Then his children, Dash and Iza, have always been very sweet and nice to us so his death makes me sad. I know how it is to lose a parent and Iza was very beloved by Tito Lito. It is always heartbreaking and gut-wrenching to lose a love like that.

But wakes in our family have always been... Hmm, the right word escapes me but "fun" is what comes to mind. There's lots of food and conversation, lots of singing and musical performances, lots of funny speeches, definitely lots of tears but there's a ton more laughter. I grew up going to wakes and funerals and thoroughly enjoying them, even the one for my own Mama. All of my friends told me that Mama's wake was the only wake they attended that made them actually want to stay, that when they left, they didn't feel sad or scared. They felt entertained and warm and fuzzy and even happy. Yup, that's my experience, too!

My sister Jacqui, cousin Iza and sister-in-law Rose
at Mama's funeral in 2008.
You can say that it's because the Amper family (and Calzados and Dadaps) is a family of musicians, singers and actors. Every time there's a crowd, we all rise up to the occasion and try to make everyone happy. Even at our wakes! But the real reason our wakes are such happy events is because we're Born Again Christians and we see death as a graduation from this miserable life. There is more envy than sadness at a loved one's passing. And there is that wonderful peace that passes understanding, and the shining hope that we will be reunited one day with our beloved.

When Mama died, my eulogy was based on Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" When someone you love dies, it's very hard to think of the future. How can life go on after this? So that promise, that this painful experience is not meant to harm me, truly did give me hope. I said in my eulogy, "Mama is dead but she doesn't belong in my past. She is in my future because we will surely meet again one day."

Peace, hope, joy. Sure, there is that awful grief but there is also the comfort of such wondrous peace, hope and joy. I wish you all that same peace, hope and joy, even in the midst of your darkest night, even in the face of death itself.


  1. Hi Frances,

    Condolence to your family. I had the chance to work with your Tito Lito for a project way way back when I was still working in Congress. He was so kind and down to earth. Your family and my family are so alike. Wakes are kinda.."fun" perhaps. i don't know but when my Mom died people said that it was such a beautiful wake.

    Keep on writing and inspiring. It's been two years since Mom left us but thank you. You make me look forward and I find peace knowing that I would be seeing her in the future. I still miss her. always will. Thank you.


  2. What an amazingly written post, Neighbor. My condolences. I remember Iza's dad back then would personally bring back answered interview questions to the office. He seemed like such a devoted father. Please send Iza my condolences when you see her. Thank you.

  3. My condolences to Iza Calzado and the rest of your family.

    I got this video from a blogger friend. Check it out.

  4. When my dad died, it was a sweet celebration too. Family and friends came to us and said "Congratulations" instead of "Condolence". Truly the earthly death is a graduation day of sorts. :)

    I've been visiting your blog sporadically but never really thought of leaving a comment. But something about you saying that you're born again and quoting one of my most favorite verses just made me want to say something! :) Your posts are beautiful, keep inspiring the rest of us! :)

  5. Wawan and Riz, I'm sending you both the biggest virtual hugs! Death is hard, and we already have a good attitude towards it. Imagine those people who are afraid and alone! My heart wants them to know God's promises too!

  6. Thanks, everybody! It is not a time of sadness but of rejoicing!


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