A Peace Lily Offering

As I shared last week, my mentor, second father, fellow photographer, and dear friend Manny Goloyugo passed away on May 15th 2021. His death marks the end of an era in Philippine photojournalism, the last of the great analog Philippine photojournalists who still covered the 1986 People Power Revolution. His ashes will be placed in his final resting place at 13:00 Manila time today, May 25th, in the same columbarium where my parents are. In fact, he will be literally down the hall from them.

The past nine days, as per Filipino custom, in lieu of a wake there has been a daily novena held online for Tito Manny, and being part of this prayerful community made me feel so connected again, at home in my Filipino roots. 2020 completely changed the way we deal with and process death, and I still find it bizarre that this is the the third online memorial service that I attend in the past 18 months. On the other hand, there is something very comforting and inclusive about the Zoom connectivity, as it bring together people from other parts of the globe who would not have been able to attend the services otherwise, yours truly for example, or other relatives of the dearly departed.

This evening another member of my extended family in the Black Forest passed away. Her death marks the poignant end of another era in family history – the final departure of a generation that lived through World War II.

During mass this morning the priest reminded us that death is an inevitable part of life, in the same manner that grief is part of love. We only grieve for those we love, nobody else, and it is an absolute measure of a deep bond that transcends all barriers.

Eternal Flame ©FrogDiva Photography

Mother Nature has her own ways of sending messages of comfort during difficult times, and my peace lily bloomed on the day Tito Manny died, living up to its name in every sense of the word. The photograph I share today is the lily shot against the light, backlit by the afternoon sun and against a vibrant blue sky. The result was eerily ethereal, and looks as if I added layers and layers of post-editing, but the truth is that it’s as natural as they they come.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

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