Saturday, November 28, 2015

Baboo is home now

While revisiting Baboo Mondoñedo book Stepping Stones, I was struck by her own sense of urgency as she lived out her days wearing the different hats she was comfortable with: "mother and grandmother, a writer, a bridge, a creator, a midwife, a comic, a child, an artist, and an activist. At any turn, I may be asked to do what is called for at the moment."

She earlier asked, "Why is it that I feel a sense of urgency? Why do I feel like time is coming and going too quickly?" What later follows is a closing sentence that can make one's skin crawl at her foresight of what is to come: "I will know what it is I need to do when the time comes."

Two days after her death that has sent people reeling from shock, Baboo has become bigger than life, still a bridge and midwife, now an intercessor, too, for requests and petitions to the Almighty Source. Her friend Perla Macapinlac, ICM, said at yesterday's rites before the body's cremation that now that Baboo has crossed over, those who she left behind can still be assured, if they have faith, that she will always be at their side.

At the wake for Baguio Writers Group founding member Napoleon Javier this summer, Merci Javier Dulawan, Baboo and I shared a long bench with the new widow Linda in front of us. I'm glad I told Baboo what my favorite piece in her book was (sometimes among our regrets when someone dies is if we don't tell him/her something we should have, especially if it is something good): her recollection of her marriage, the breakup, decades of living apart and how she returned to take care of her husband Eduardo Echauz when he suffered a stroke. They became friends anew, went out for dimsum or pasta, visited places that were friendly to the disabled. When he died, she realized that "there is truth to the marriage vow of 'Till death do us part.'"

Only death separates us from you, Baboo. And, as Rudi Tabora quoted you as saying recently and portentously, "You only die once. So live well." Indeed we will until we meet again some sunny day and in full color.

Photo self-timed by EV Espiritu
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