Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It’s been 23 years since I’ve moved to Canada from the Philippines.  I remember that the first thing I looked for was a Filipino community paper so I can read some news about the community being new in Calgary.  I never found any Filipino community paper back in 1996. From them on I told myself that [...]

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Page added on October 23, 2016

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Erwinism: Friends, Elegies, and Time 2

By Erwin Maramat

(2 of 2)

When I got to his house, much to my horror, I remember his lifeless face peering out of the casket seemingly reaching out with his unmoving hand asking for help. It was a day of loss; a day for soul searching; and a day of me beholding a reflection of my fragile self.  He looked me in the eyes, dead-centered, and said “I’m gone for good and that’s all there is to it. “ I went home with a heavy heart that day with his voice echoing, bouncing back and forth like an eternal pendulum in my head. “Don’t give up! Don’t give in,” he says but the circumstance couldn’t be anymore ironic. My faith was more than shattered; it was grounded into powdered sadness swept by winds of time; and again I felt I was free falling.

All the days went by and the years carelessly flowed like a river. Over and over, I kept getting knocked off my feet by circumstance and it has been diligent in doing so. A few months before moving to Canada, I dropped off at my mom’s place and for some reason I opened up a box of my old stuff in our attic and there I found the student handbook that Red handed me many years back. Many will think that I may be reading into this coincidence so much, but it was nothing but a strong reminder that I keep letting situations bully me around because I keep putting myself in the dark. Of the many times that good ol’ Red spoke his mind, it was about smartening me up to keep me on my feet that really stuck.

Do you know why people do something out of desperation? It’s not because they lack options, but because they have no idea what their options are and let alone, they do not know they actually have options. This is what the student handbook was about; it was about knowing more than just looking out for a hand to help us up all the time. I kept waiting for him to lift me up that when the day came he can no longer do so for both of us, I felt powerless. “Don’t give up! Don’t give in!” There’s just much more to that, many of us give up because we don’t check the student handbook.  He may be gone. However it was he who helped me back on my feet again, and this time it’s for good.

Nothing is as clear as the message that Red was trying to get across, but what remains to be obscured is why he didn’t receive it well on his end. It is clear to me though that it easy to lend a hand, but it’s always hard to lift one’s own self up.  Almost no one practices what they preach. However, it is also good to know that a piece of advice can just save your life and no one is better in giving an advice than life itself.  Life is not a loop, everything changes, only our attitude toward it is, and if we are willing to understand what courage is—falling down and getting back up on your own—then we learn to be smarter as to keep ourselves from getting knocked down all the time.

We all stand before a network of interconnected roads with either good or bad people in either a good or a bad situation. People are but strangers, until you decide to open the door into your world as an invitation which tells them you mean to keep them as friends. Red did more than play the role of a friend he became my internal compass pointing within—a direction which I so often forget. When bewitched by the ghost of indecision, I always make it a point to open my student handbook before I lift a finger.

I have no intention to embarrass a dear friend, but his lesson in life is something worthy of being shared. Whoever you may be; however bad your situation is; there is always an option. “Don’t give up! Don’t give in.”


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