HomeCommentaryA simple, joyful, and hopeful life

A simple, joyful, and hopeful life

A Canadian feminist and novelist, Margaret Atwood, writes: “In the end, we’ll all become stories.”

I think this is what we should do during wakes: tell stories. After Jesus’ death, his friends told and retold stories about him. Their hearts were in flame as they shared their stories of Jesus.

Resurrection also means to retell the stories of our loved ones. In this way, she will live in our hearts forever.



Tonight, we tell our stories of Darby, how she lived her life, and how she has touched us. Darby is one of my students who had gone ahead of me. I have been teaching for quite some time now. The other hundred are alive and kicking. But Darby went ahead of the rest of us.

I first met her at this altar and Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) sanctuary when she pronounced her first vows. During the ceremony, as priests greeted the sisters, I told her: “Congratulations. Welcome to St. Vincent School of Theology (SVST).” She would always remember that first greeting. And she would later tease me about it. She was actually wondering: “Who is this man who is promoting a school in the sanctuary during her vows.”

I know Darby from my Theological Anthropology class and later journeyed with her as a friend. I describe Darby’s life in three words: simple, joyful, and hopeful.

Simplicity

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To be simple is to be transparent. Darby lives a transparent life. In the gospel today, Jesus described Nathanael as a man who has no guile, no duplicity, transparent, simple. “Before I knew you, I saw you under the fig tree”.

Darby is one simple and transparent soul. What you see is what you get. On the first months of her studies in SVST, she came into my office, and said: “Can I talk to you?” “Sure,” I said. And at that moment she bared her soul to me. In the end, she said: “Now you know, that is me.” From that time on, I have come to know her deeper and deeper.

When she was given a difficult assignment, she described it as difficult and challenging. No mincing of words, calling a spade a spade.

On the week that she knew she had cancer, she wrote me: “I haven’t informed most people yet, just family and close friends. And now, I am informing my favorite Vincentian para mas kusog atong prayers.” And when those days after chemo are painful, she will say it is painful, hard, and difficult. When days were better, she would send wacky pictures and smileys all over.

That is Darby. Transparent and simple. What you see is what you get.

Joy

Darby is a woman of deep joy. When she passed on, I reviewed some of her messages. I was smiling because it was all about pasalubong, chocolates, torta, etc. When I was in the US, she told me that she would like me to bring home the Statue of Liberty. When her mom asked me to bring her chocolates from Chicago, she said that we divide them in half. When she got cancer, I told her, her share should already go to me. We were always joking and kidding and teasing.

But later I came to realize that these messages came in the middle of her two-year sickness, before chemo, after chemo, in between chemo where muscles ache, and pain is felt all over her body. I once remarked that she was getting healthy because she looked chubby. And she replied: “Thanks. Courtesy of steroids.”

There are testimonies of her doctors and nurses. Instead of them consoling her, it was the other way around. She would listen to their pains and heartaches, and bring them encouragement. To keep that positive and happy disposition is definitely God’s grace in her life.

Hope

Lastly, Darby is a woman of hope. During the ordeal of her sickness, she was beaming with hope; that God would help her through. That she will soon go home. Since she was in and out of the hospital, I would often receive these texts.

The last message I got from her was on November 5: “The nurse came to inform me that I have the clearance for discharge na daw. Weeeeh!”

She would send me smiling photos from the hospital and write #angbabaengmaylaban#labanlungs. 🙂

To encourage her, I promised that I would treat her to an “eat-all-you-can” dinner when she has fully recovered. The last meal that we had outside was years ago. But now, she is going home to the Father, to an ultimate banquet in God’s kingdom.

Darby’s leaving is very sad. But deep in my heart is a quiet joy that one student and friend will now pray for me, and remember me in God’s eternal banquet.

“Sige Darbs, pag-una lang ug kaon didto. Leave something for us. Ako man unta ‘tong treat. Pero kay ikaw man ang nag-una diha, ikaw na ang manglibre unya.

A Tribute to Sr. Darby Faye Loquillano, RVM

Father Daniel Franklin Pilario, C.M., is the President of Adamson University in Manila. He is a theologian, professor, and pastor of an urban poor community on the outskirts of the Philippine capital. He is also Vincentian Chair for Social Justice at St. John’s University in New York.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of LiCAS News or its publishers.

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