Send me all those flower now

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Indeed, how silly that we always conscientiously fill all the spaces in the memorial parks with thousands of flowers while we hardly send a single petal to the living among us. How stupid we have become to say all the good words for a departed friend, all the while that we gossip against, ridicule, harshly criticize, and even malign the honor and character of those who still dwell with us. We spend a lot of time, money, and effort visiting the tombs of those who could no longer feel the affection that we show for their memory. And then, we ignore, we forget, and we remain indifferent for those who are still alive but sick, ageing, and are longing for our company and affections.

While we were on the way to the cemetery the other day, we had to pass by the flower shops to buy a very expensive bouquet of flowers for each of all our departed loved ones. we had to buy all the wreaths, the bouquets, and flower arrangements available since we have had many departed uncles, aunts, cousins, and close friends, aside from my dearly beloved mom, who left us a year ago, and our grandparents from both sides, paternal and maternal lines, and in-laws too. The prices were jacked up due to the immutable law of supply and demand. The just departed typhoon, Lawin, had exacerbated the flower market situation when it devastated the La Trinidad Valley, the flower capital of the Philippines.

It's amazing how all the flowers are being sent to all cemeteries, funeral parlors, and homes where the mortal remains of dead loved ones are laying in state. Just imagine the value of all those flowers: roses, chrysanthemums, sunflowers, tulips, mums, and stargazers. Most the of the fowers are from Baguio and Benguet. Some are from Malaysia, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, and the US. If we get the total worth of all these flowers being made into intricate arrangements, it must be in millions of pesos. All Saints' Day has become a big business.

It's a source of great wonder how the living does all these to honor the dead, but while we were praying inside the chapel in the memorial park, it dawned on me, in deep reflection, how we have ignored the living. I remember an autobiography written beautifully by a Cebuano retiree entitled "Send Me the Flowers Now." That small book struck me with a deep realization that while it is indeed commendable that we always remember to honor the dead, it is more compelling that we show our genuine concern, affection, and love for the living.

Thus, I am one who do not really wish to attend funerals, much less give pretentious necro speeches during  someone's necrology services. I am one who learned to shy away from wakes and prayers for the departed relatives and friends. They all look to me as occasions for hypocricy and pretension. I would rather visit the old, the sick, and the dying. To them, I shall bring all the flowers. My father is ninety-two years old and my favorite aunts are both eighty-eight, my high school teacher, Ms Ida Mercader, is now ninety-seven and still alert. They are the ones who long for a visit and a bunch of red roses too. Yes, candles and prayers for the dead, and flowers and kisses for the living. Our thoughts for everyone who has touched and touches our heart. That what matters most.

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