Ate Lina and Ate Cristi told me how much you enjoyed reading the letters we wrote to you on your cards. So, I thought I’d write you one last time.
I remember when you first came from the Philippines to live with us. We didn’t have aunties or uncles to dote on us like the other kids. So, I was so excited to finally have “Auntie Puring” for our own.
Soon after you arrived, you gave me your black slip-on shoes because I liked them so much. It was my first pair of grownup shoes. I’m glad I was able to return the favor by giving you some of my gently-used shoes. Whenever you would wear a pair I had given you to church, you would point to your feet to make sure I saw them.
You are such a giving Auntie and Mama. You always gave Zechariah a birthday gift. And if you ever forgot, which was rare, you felt so badly. But then you would give him something the following week. To your grownup pamangkin, you would apologize for not giving us anything for our birthdays. But, Auntie, you have given us so much. Getting a warm greeting from you with your smile and hug were all we needed.
It’s hard to believe we won’t see your beautiful smiling face or hear your laughter again. Your family held your memorial and funeral services this past weekend. Oh, Auntie, you would have been so very proud of them all. Your apo gave wonderful tributes to you. Each and every one of them had their special memories to share.
They shared your humorous side. Their stories of how your quick-witted responses often caught them off guard brought laughter to the service. I know you would have wanted us to remember the happy times.
But your apo had another common theme — how very spiritual you are. Most of them recounted how you had morning and evening worship with them and how you always reminded them to pray. Your faith runs deep and strong. And your witness, through your words and actions, is far-reaching. This past weekend, we heard how your love for and faithfulness to Yahweh have made a strong impression on your grandchildren.
You have touched so many lives, Auntie. You know all the members of The Assembly of Yah love you. You are their Mama Puring, too. And because of how important you are to them, your Luna pamangkin traveled to show their love for you. They brought your beloved sister, Auntie Ising, to be here. When Auntie Ising held the program with your picture, she kept staring at you and saying how “maganda” and “matalino” you are. Her precious memories of you made her so very proud.
Auntie, there are so many qualities about you that make you special. Every one of your children have those qualities, but each has a particular one that stands out.
Ate Aida has taken on the leadership role of being the eldest. Even though she might be taking a step back, she has your decision-making quality and firmness to make sure things were as they should be. She and Kuya Vic opened their home to family and friends on so many occasions to demonstrate your hospitality.
Kuya Rey had your humor. We had the great privilege of having him live with us. He brought so much laughter and enjoyment to our lives. Whenever we visited their home, he and Ate Wennie made sure to make us feel welcomed.
Kuya Dante demonstrates your generosity. He opened up his apartment to us and treated us out when we visited the Philippines in 1972. He could be counted on to provide financial help where there was need. And like you, he is the protector.
Ate Cristi shows your sense for decorum. She always wants to make sure everyone is treated well and with respect. All the events she and Kuya Remo hosted through the years, including my bridal shower, were well-planned and so enjoyable. Ate Cristi always goes above and beyond, just like you.
Ate Lina has your quality of service to and appreciation for others. When Kuya Rey was in the hospital, she would massage his feet. And with you, she adjusted your pillows to make sure you were comfortable. She and Kuya Yousef always point out the good qualities of others and make us feel appreciated.
Kuya Nelson always is willing to help, just like you. Whether with our cars, at the church, or any of our other personal needs, he is “on call.” He and Liza are devoted to family. We all know we can count on both of them whenever needed. And they are such an important part of our Assembly, too.
Your children have incorporated into their lives the lessons and advice you and Uncle Ato have given them. They will continue to pass on your legacy of upright living to their children. You can already see it in how the next generation has already kept your teachings in their hearts.
Auntie, I wish I had visited you more. I loved when I could see you in your reserved seat on Sabbaths. When you were strong enough to come back to church for a few weeks, I took it for granted that I would continue to have the joy of seeing you each Sabbath. What comforts me is that you would tell me not to feel bad. I know that you would tell me that you know how much I love you. Because I do.
You are a precious gift, Auntie Puring. Your strength and grace through adversity is a quality to acquire. Your faithfulness to Yahweh is something to strive toward. And your tireless instruction to the next generation to commit their lives to Yahweh is a challenge for all of us to do the same.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix on our eyes no on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV).
You know what Paul said to the Corinthians was true. That’s why you did not fear death. And that is why your final words to us were to remain faithful to Yahweh and to take care of and love each other.
I love you Auntie Puring. If my nephews and nieces would love me even half as much as I love you, I will be blessed. But I know that I have to prove worthy of that love. You, my Auntie, are priceless. Nothing that has any worth or value in this world can compare to you.
Until we see each other again, I will be forever grateful to you for accepting me into your life. And I am forever grateful to Yahweh for giving me such a strong and loving Auntie.
Forever your loving niece, Dorcas