How can you speak of the life of one taken so young? It is a sad, hard time for our family. Our youngest member, Giovanni, has gone ahead of us. It was so fast, so sudden, that it took us all by surprise and rendered us in disbelief. I am still struggling with thoughts of justice, fairness and God’s plan for all of us. Who isn’t?
How can Giovanni, who just turned one year old, be called to Heaven before the rest of us? What is God’s plan in all of this? Yes, our faith is sustaining us. But it doesn’t mean we do not have questions. We are taught that faith leads us to understand. And I am on that journey to understanding. And it is not easy.
Again, how can we speak of a life so young? I can tell you about his deep dimples. Or his calm manner. Or how he loved hanging out with his pseudo-parents, Carlo and Lil. Or how fun his first birthday party was. But, I’d rather see his life through the family around him.
His older siblings, Santino and Belly are characters. They know what they want and they go get it. They have strong personalities. And at the same time, know how to charm you and let you fall under their spell. I am sure they, like us, do not fully understand where their youngest sibling is. But I can assure them that Giovanni will always be looking out for his kuya and ate. Making sure they still get away with a fair share of anything.
Santi, my hardworking brother-in-law. Not only being an entrepreneur and serving people, but also blazing the trail with spreading the Gospel. He is the champion of the Liturgical Bible Study, and under him, it is breaking new ground in many places here and around the world as well. I can only imagine how it is inside your mind and heart right now. And, as a father myself, my heart is in pain just thinking about it. But, just like the example of our Father in Heaven, we are called to sacrifice, endure and persevere through this all. You are thinking that you need to be that pillar of strength for your family, and you are strong enough to be that, but when you feel that pillar buckling, do not worry, we are here to help keep it up and strong.
Vania, my sister. I love you. You truly are a wonderful mother. The way you care for your children. How you always put them first. You are an amazing woman. Talented, passionate, creative and a go-getter. There is an unbelievable amount of pain that we are all going through, but I’m sure all that pales to what your are experiencing. But we can only pray that we have the strength of a mother that has been through this as well – Mother Mary. Who even through her Son’s pain and suffering remained firm, steadfast and hopeful that everything He said would happen. And it did, and so it will for Giovanni. We will always be here for you, Santi, Santino and Belly. Always.
We celebrate Giovanni’s life. And even in his death, we hope for a new life with him in the future. I cannot help but cry as I write these words, yet I am hopeful that with each tear that falls, it brings with it the confusion, sadness and anger in my heart. So when the tears stop, and our eyes are dry again, we can look toward the future and see it as bright and full of joy once again.
God bless you, Giovanni. Pray for us, that we can make the fullest out of these lives that we have. And may we never take anything, and most especially anyone, for granted.