Why write about death at the start of what with hope will be a brand new and happier year? Well, if it’s a beloved democratic icon, the country’s beloved first female president, the late Corazon "Tita Cory" Aquino, talking of death, it might also be a way to understand how the pains of losing a loved one can be healed with understanding, love, compassion, and time.
We share a beautiful poem, Prayers for a Happy Death, "Tita Cory" wrote when she knew her time on earth was running out. She was never melodramatic about her health, but she knew, as we suspected, that something painful was surely coming. This lovely poem about dying in God’s peace was first revealed to Margie, Cory’s faithful social secretary. Later, it was included in a book of poems by the president.
"Tita Cory" was already an art lover when she decided she would try her hands on paintbrushes. Being a novice in the arts or poetry-writing did not discourage her. She tried painting with some brushes on every medium. She had painted early on before her political life, but she picked up the brushes again when she went back to private life with confidence and high spirits. She was accompanied in this art journey by close friends who, like her, loved paints and adventures into the art world.
She tried her hand on water painting, oil, mixed media. She did portraits, and tried nature. She partnered many of her paintings with her poetry and haikus, and straight-from-the-heart outpourings. In 2009, she produced this poem to help her struggle with her coming mortality. She also gave her friends a beautiful mixed-media painting of a happy flower-filled Cavalry Hill, majestically crowned with a towering wooden cross.
Here’s the poem Prayer for a Happy Death
Almighty God, most merciful Father
You alone know the time
You alone know the hour
You alone know the moment
When I shall breathe my last.
So, remind me each day, most loving Father
To be the best that I can be.
To be humble, to be kind,
To be patient, to be true,
To embrace what is good,
To reject what is evil,
To adore only You.
When that final moment does come
Let not my loved ones grieve for long.
Let them comfort each other
And let them know how much happiness
They brought into my life.
Let them pray for me,
As I will continue to pray for them,
Hoping that they will always pray for each other.
Let them know that they made possible
Whatever good I offered to our world.
And let them realize that our separation
Is just for a short while
As we prepare for our reunion in eternity.
Our Father in heaven,
You alone are my hope,
You alone are my salvation.
Thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.
Thank you to her children, the late President Noynoy, Ballsy Cruz, Pinky Abellada, Viel Dee, and Kris Aquino, for sharing your mom with us. Thank you to her behoved Ninoy too, for showing us that to die for one's country and your family in God’s Name is the only thing that matters!