During our last few years in San Juan, we became very close to Tito and Patis Tesoro. Week-ends found us traipsing around many provinces, most specially Quezon where we were frequent guests at Villa Escudero. Week-days were either work or dinners out. There were 4 Tesoro kids and 4 of the Anamas. Each within age range. One stood out amongst the group, a brilliant lad, Joel. Always with nose in books, thinking deep thoughts even at that young age when the other kids were busy getting into each others' nerves, or rough housing or just plain goofing around. For everytime Raffy had a tutor for whatever he was struggling with, Joel came home with more and more accolades.
Years later, Joel made it to Regis in New York, a very exclusive school that only the best of the best got in, and he did. He spent a summer with us in our cramped little apartment, but enjoyed downtime with us. We took a road trip to join Tito and Patis for his high school graduation. And then again, to New Haven where he prepared an itinerary so meticulous that the only set backs were our Filipino timing (you know what that means). It was my first time to have Ethiopian food. What was interesting was his cryptic hint about which top award he was going to get. He was the flag bearer during Yale's commencement exercise where Sargent Shriver gave the speech in a hurried tone as Jackie K. had just passed away and he had to leave. So all of us were poring through the program which had no names but a list of awards. We waited and heard each announcement of the top awards, crossing off each one. And then became antsy as there were only 3 awards left, and then the 2nd to the last award was read and it wasn't Joel, because the last award, Citizen of the World, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduate, was his. With tears and cheers and screaming from all of us (when he said don't embarass me!) it was an event I have never forgotten. Through the years, intermitently getting newsbits about his comings and goings, marriage invitation done so beautifully, and then the shock of knowing he, of Catholic training and upbringing, fully embraced Islam to marry the girl of his dreams. But Joel being Joel, he definitely knew.
Today, I am speechless as once again, I am faced with not knowing how to comfort grief of losing a child. Joel's freak accident leading to his death a few weeks after turning 36, is mind boggling. A very close friend of mine lost his son in a freak accident last June. The pain is unimaginable. Is ruthless, is just on going and there are no words that can assuage this loss. I cannot even fathom to think or understand or say the right words to Patis and Tito . And my fears for my own has reared its ugly head.
And the why's will endlessly go on and on until the numbing starts.
Joel, know our family loves you. We are privileged to have been a part of your life.
- wife, mother of 5, lola(grandma)of 5,joined facebook and still wonder why friend, cook, baker, decorator,daughter,sister, Mrs.A'sCupcakes&Cookies Virgo Year of the Snake St. John's Academy 1970 University of the Philippines BSHRA I'm afraid to admit this, but oh well, Jack of all Trades, master of some. Football fan. Totally. Mrs. A's Cupcakes & Cookies, my latest venture.