Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Her Name Means Peace

I started blogging five years ago after reading the book Life On The Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers. So touched was I from the story, I named my blog My Refrigerator Door. Ms. Kuipers wonderfully weaved a story about a daughter and her mother who battled with breast cancer in a series of notes posted on the refrigerator door.
Last Sunday, at the funeral of Tita Passy, Paz Cojuangco-Teopaco, I was reminded of that beautiful book. She too fought a long battle with the disease, but in her suffering, she has brought her family back together.
I met the Teopacos through my friend Kris Aquino. In one of Kris's anniversary specials on TV, I was introduced by Kris' mother, President Cory to her youngest sister, Passy. After that, I got to bond with Kris's cousins, Marla and Rina in a summer trip to Mindoro. Sharing the same love for sentimental music, and deep affection for Kris's son Joshua, Rina and I became the best of friends. I would often go to their house and we would make playlists on our iPods till midnight. Tita Passy, a film and music enthusiast would also exchange songs with us. One time, upon learning I was an Audrey Hepburn fan, she burned a CD with ten versions of Moonriver for me.
The Teopacos treated me like family and when my father died in 2011, Rina's father Esting Teopaco told me I can call him "Dad" and from then on, he introduces me to his friends as "my son". Tita Passy would always wink at me whenever she sees me in serious conversation with Dad Esting. We'd often talk about the Japanese occupation and life in the 1950s, an era I was very fascinated about.
Tita Passy was very prim and proper yet she would laugh uncontrollably whenever I visit with our friend Rey Lañada. Rey is the Laurel to my Hardy. Till her last days in the hospital, she would chuckle at the sight of Rey or the latest showbiz story I have.
A day before she passed away, I made a playlist of her favorite songs and played it by her bedside. She looked at peace, her lips slightly curled in a smile. At that moment, I believe she knew I was there, Moonriver playing softly in the background.

The entrance to the old Cojuangco family home where the wake was held.

Marissa Lopa styled the garden setting for Tita Passy's urn.

The funeral Mass at St. John Bosco Church

Fr. Manny Domingo and Fr. Tito Caluag concelebrated the Mass.

Like a miniature church, the Cojuangco Mausoleum at the Manila Memorial Park.

Rina Teopaco and Dad Esting Teopaco

Rafa Teopaco

Tita Passy's best friend, Boots Dimayuga
Fr. Manny Domingo leading the prayers for Tita Passy with Dad Esting Teopaco
Ate Celda Teopaco-Santos and Marla Teopaco.

Named after her grandmother, Pia Teopaco Santos led friends and family in a symbolic releasing of butterflies.

Wearing pink breast cancer awareness ribbons made of loom bands : Paulina Cojuangco, Andrea Cojuangco, Sasa Araneta,
Diana Araneta, Sofia AranetaDoña Sari Cojuangco, Annika CojuangcoCarla Cojuangco, and Gianina Cojuangco

Clockwise from left: Nita Sumulong, Jingle Bugia, Maridel Gamban and Boots Dimayuga

My favorite trio, Danielle Yabut, Pia Teopaco Santos, and Adi Yabut

From left: Nica Lopa, Rina Teopaco, and Fr. Manny Domingo
Tita Passy's favourite photo of us, taken in 2010 at the Quirino Grandstand during the inauguration of
President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Previous post: Tita Passy's Birthday, 2013 http://myrefrigeratordoor.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-merry-month-of-may.html

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