December 5, 2023

Dear Manang,
My sister died in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. She was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year but the family could not afford the chemotherapy that the doctor prescribed to prolong her life. She too insisted to be allowed to live the remainder of her life without the operation and the treatments. She said that she was happy to have lived and seen her sons graduated from college anyway. My regret is that I failed to see her early this year when I had the chance. She called me to say that the mango trees bore lots of fruits and the papayas were waiting for me to pick them. Because she sounded fine on the phone, I thought I could still make it sometime in March but then the quarantine was imposed. I never imagined that I wouldn’t be able to see her anymore, not even see her or cry for her. It was lonely, according to my brother-in-law. When the mortuary arrived, her remains went straight to the crematorium and in three hours, she was brought back in an urn. I am begging for a memorial service after the quarantine before her ashes are buried. My grief is incomplete.
Guada of San Carlos Heights, Baguio City

Dear Guada,
Your situation reminds me of a time when my friend lost her son during the height of a storm. At 10 years old, her son went out with friends to check out a landslide nearby. As they were watching the rescue operations, he was carried away by rushing waters into the river. They never found a trace of the son to this day.Her grief is incomplete. You will have her ashes as physical evidence of her body when you get the chance. There will be a grave or a columbarium to visit that represents her. Until then, your grief will find the reason for tears and she will not be alone anymore.
Hold on,

Dear Manang,
Sometimes friendships can get ruined when a friend confesses that they love you. I have had fun growing up with a group of childhood friends. We grew up together and know each other very well. Many of us have fallen in and out of love with other people outside the barkada and have made a pact not to ruin the friendship by proposing to each other. I have a feeling that one of the boys will propose to me anytime. I feel awkward with the special attention and I want to tell him that it will ruin our bond as friends. Isn’t it embarrassing for a girl to tell a boy not to love her?
Hellen of Tiptop, Baguio City

Dear Hellen,
You are talking about platonic love. Yes, this is love that is purely based on a profound kind of friendship that has no physical or sexual attraction. These are modern days and women can speak their thoughts before a man. Women are bolder. Be mindful how you will reject his feelings of love towards you. Choose your words well because you may break the heart and also lose the friendship. Be prepared too to keep the jovial camaraderie after you tell him to drop the love part. Sometimes this is karma too. Pain is repaid with pain. Make it the least painful.
Make your words tender,