From ‘forevermore’ to ‘forever ends’

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Love songs, like the stories they tell, can be hits or misses.

Take, for example, the very popular song “Forevermore” written by Joey Benin and made into a major hit by the band Side A. From what I know, the song was a personal piece written for his wife Bing Ledesma Benin. But like with everything that good, the song simply had to be recorded and released, to the delight of romantics and music lovers alike.

Perhaps what makes the song so special is it speaks to the aspirations of many who can’t imagine themselves with the girl of their dreams or the dream boy and the song tells us that it is possible, and it has happened like it did for Joey Benin. Despite the odds, many of us either get just as lucky as Joey or better yet, blessed by God to find “the One” and so we sing “Forevermore.”

Sadly, we ultimately learn “na walang forever” and recently one of my friends wrote a message on Facebook to remind couples: “Forever Ends.” The back story is my friend Pastor Jonathan Bocobo, who is much younger than I am, recently lost his beautiful wife Riza due to a virulent type of bacteria while on vacation in South Korea.

Like many young couples they had plans, places to see, dreams to fulfill and a future with their children they yearned to live. No matter how often pastors preach about life and death, nothing prepares you for such a sudden and premature demise.

During a couples’ event, Pastor Jonathan shared a message he gave to those attending and, knowing his circumstance, you could really feel the depth and sincerity of what he was trying to make couples realize. I asked his permission to share what he wrote today:

The first time I met our couples Victory group I encouraged them and told them to hold their spouse’s hands as often as they can, say “I love you” as often as they can, date, dine out, celebrate anniversaries, because you will never know when it will end.

Love and be expressive with your love for your spouse. Have fun, really have fun. Don’t be so familiar. Keep the good humor in your relationship because life itself is already serious. Don’t allow petty arguments and unforgiveness to stay in your hearts.

Enjoy your life together because forever ends.

One day your spouse is beside you, the next day gone…forever. All you have are wonderful memories. I hope I can say this to every couple I will meet. And this time I hope they can hear the sincerity of my words.

*      *      *

Pastor Jonathan told me about how nowadays, when he is driving, he automatically puts out his hand to touch Riza’s hand that isn’t there. How like many young couples, they once “argued” over grocery shopping and now he is completely lost and trying to figure out the books and household accounting. And like many widows and widowers, how he misses the familiar presence that was always nearby. Yes, Forever Ends.

After our collective pandemic and its subsequent wave of tragedies, I have found myself privately praying for widows and orphans and helping whenever I can. It is one of the most repeated instructions in the Bible and that only means it’s important to God, so I focused on it.

But recently my list has expanded to widows, widowers and orphans because I have come to know of more than a handful of husbands who need the prayers as well as company and “hellos” to see them through the day, the week, the month.

Months after the death, the funeral services, after the crowds and friends have moved on to their respective lives and concerns, that is when it is darkest for those left behind. Every time I have lunch with an 86-year-old widower, he never fails to tell me at least three times that he was supposed to die first but instead his wife did. I’m no psychiatrist but perhaps it’s what they call survivor’s guilt. Being old or elderly does not make us immune to the loneliness and pain of losing your better half.

A dear friend kept himself busy through the first year, but the grief eventually caught up with him and he confessed that he didn’t know what to do or how to deal with it. Uneasy and difficult as it may be, talking to someone, especially someone who cares or who qualifies, is vital. Recall the Carpenter’s song “Rainy days and Mondays” where Karen Carpenter sings: “Talking to myself and feeling low…sometimes I’d like to quit…” It was not just a song; it was a warning.

Whether you’re a senior or someone in mid-life, the grief and loneliness is something you can never be ready for. Unfortunately, there is no recovering from such a loss and there are no timelines for how long for things to get better. We learn to deal with it, adjust, accept and live the life we have. It becomes a choice between planting an entire garden from the memories or settling for a tombstone to talk to.

I share all of this because it is so easy to overlook the lonely and the lost. Many times, we are reluctant to ask how they are, mistakenly assume they are managing or we are frightened to get involved in such a painful or difficult process. Imagine if you were the widow, the widower or the orphan? Yes, why not try to imagine? That will surely inspire you to be a friend.

Have coffee, share a meal, let them talk, remind them of what they still have and encourage them to help others and then, just like the song, “Say a Little Prayer.” God bless you.

*      *      *


E-mail: [email protected]

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with