In memory of Mrs. Jean Navera Llorin
(July 5, 1940 – July 7, 2010)
By e-mail, text or phone – it’s a message that you wouldn’t want to receive ever but it’s a message that will come in a matter of time. It’s the hardest news to relay but it must be done.
The e-mail’s subject heading said it all, which threw my thoughts in a whirl and hurled back to the time that I last saw her. Ironic isn’t it? Death’s paradoxical way of letting emotions surge and swell within like gigantic waves rocking a ship out at sea. One who existed in the archives of our memory or the periphery of our mind’s eye is suddenly thrust into the core of our consciousness like a reel of film ready for viewing. History comes to life and you watch silently, words failing you, your eyes welling up in tears and your stomach tightening as if you’ve been sucker punched in hi-speed motion.
Was it in high school when she was addressing my class, the graduating class, encouraging them to “go placidly amidst the noise and haste”? I believe it was and that was almost two decades ago. After that, it was mostly news about her that reached me through my mum who interviewed her once in connection with a story for Philippine Daily Inquirer.
She and my mum kept in touch intermittently after that. Mrs. Llorin to me and my sister, Jean to my mum, was the rock that my sister leaned on, the safety net she held on to when she was slipping through the sinkhole of her life. She was a familiar face to everyone in school because she was never remiss in what she believed was her duty as a parent, as a member of the JASMS community and as a senior citizen of Naga City. Ever gracious and mild-mannered, she lent her ear to those who needed to be heard; she gave her heart to those who felt lonely and abandoned; she inspired those who gave up easily and stoked the embers of hope in those whose faith in life had slowly dissipated.
The last I “heard” from her was when she shared her thoughts on good governance in her letter, “Learning from ‘The Heart of Bicol’”, which was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer on June 27. She said at one point, “I have discovered that people participation – the more important component of participatory governance – is sometimes propped up by good packaging but wanting in meaningful and creative engagement. The strong and effective governance team had gained the confidence of the governed, but stifled the community’s initiative and reduced its capacity and enthusiasm to do its part…The time is ripe to claim good governance from those we have chosen to serve us. The path is open and fresh! Indeed, when many little people in many little places take many little steps toward freedom and peace, the world will change.”
Jean Navera Llorin was, in the words of my sister, an extraordinary woman and it was heartbreaking to read the concise e-mail: “Our dearest Nanay (Filipino for mother) died peacefully at home at 5:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 7th (Manila time). Thank you to all who helped and prayed for her and our family through this time. She is at peace.”
It is without a doubt she is at peace. But it is also without a doubt that the people whose lives she touched are distraught – heartbroken even – and, more so, heaven’s angel on earth will be greatly missed.
Good night, dear Mrs. Llorin.