Goodbye, Tita Cory

I have no words to express the grief I felt when I heard the news. I thought I had cried my heart out when Michael Jackson died in June. I never expected that someone I look up to so much would be the next to leave, and so soon.

Back in college, a law professor of mine encouraged me to join the Ramon Magsaysay essay competition – you can choose which awardee to write about. I don’t know why but I didn’t even think of researching other awardees. I only knew I wanted to write about Cory.

I didn’t get to write it actually. Why? Because I couldn’t think of words that would make people understand how she has touched me. I didn’t know where to begin. I have this old book at home about Cory’s life and it’s dog-eared, torn and crumpled. I cried many tears while reading it many times. And I couldn’t think of words to translate my emotions and the impact she had on me.

Cory was the living symbol of goodness. True, I was lucky to have lived in the same lifetime as Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul. But Cory was relevant to me in that she was here, she talks, and you can see how she lived what she preached. Her display of faith wasn’t cheesy or corny or funny or orchestrated; her sincerity and simplicity is plain enough.

I admire Cory. She lived a very selfless life –> supporting Ninoy in all his endeavour and political aspirations, in all ways possible, even monetary – she even sold her lot at Forbes Park to finance his campaign. She didn’t bask in all the attention thrown her way the way other wives of famous men did and still do. She didn’t even ask for the presidency – she only took it because she knew she would be the crucial tool, the final blow that will strike down the dictatorship. And what better symbol can the people have than her – a simple woman in her yellow dress, crying for her murdered husband?

I admired Cory even more when she became president. She didn’t spend her time hunting down those men who plotted against Ninoy. She was president, she could have gotten away with it if she wanted to. She didn’t steal from our pockets. And she showed utmost bravery and resilience even with coup attempts thrown her way.

And through all the years she’s been in the public eye, she never said one word against anybody, not one word of pride. Not even when Kris Aquino was involved in scandal after scandal – she never castigated her daughter in public. She didn’t tolerate it but she didn’t condemn it either. She just prayed.

I never got to meet her. But someday, maybe we will all see her in heaven. I know she’s there, with Ninoy, watching over us. And I know she’s happy that all these people are united, not just in grief but in celebrating her life.

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