Monday, November 28, 2005
In Memoriam: Nilda Neri Veloso
(Nilda Neri on the right)
During the funeral services in Baybay, in Southern Leyte, I was asked to deliver a short memorial for my late aunt who was buried last November 12, 2005.
This entry is intended as a more or less permanent memorial of or testimony on the life of the deceased. Any relatives and friends then who chance upon this blogsite are invited and encouraged to lend their own words under the Comment section of this entry.
Thanking you in advance.
I am one of the sons of Amadeo R. Neri, an elder brother of our late departed aunt, Nilda Neri Veloso. I, my brother Philip, and sister Esper, who are here with you today on this most solemn occasion, are all originally from Cagayan de Oro, the same place where Tia Dedith, or Nilda to many of you, also first saw light.
With her death, we have witnessed the auspicious passing of the last surviving sibling of my father's family. And I understand the same is also true on the Veloso side.
Tia Dedith's passing marks a significant milestone - the complete transfer of legacy from one generation to another. We could say, the passing of the proverbial torch to the next generation.
Relatedly, this aspect of her passing has also been quite a revelation for me personally. Our waking up one day to confront the knowledge that we are now the older generation. That many of our cherished elders have passed on, leaving us veritable orphans.
Regarding our own unique and special relationships with Tia Dedith, these are what I can say based on my best recollections.
For most of us brothers and sisters, growing up in idyllic Cagayan de Oro during the early 50's, we may be able to say with one voice that we share the same recollections of Tia Dedith.
To us, Tia Dedith was an aunt we saw only on quite rare occasions. We formed our images of her as the youngest and best-looking sister of our father, who married an important person from Baybay. That with her husband, she split her time between Baybay and Manila. In due course, of course, we learned that she had married our late Tio Minggoy Veloso, who in his political career went on to become Speaker ProTempore of the House, aside from presiding over and tightly operating a thriving shipping business.
The rare visits of Tia Dedith to her old hometown were always welcomed and eagerly anticipated events by us, her nephews and nieces. And because of her vaunted generosity which reputation preceded her, we kids may even have regarded those visits as Christmas times for us. Since we wasted no time milling around her and doggedly continued on till our hands or pockets were filled with our generous shares of her pasalubongs.
Tia Dedith always rose to the occasion, leaving us with kind and lasting thoughts of her generosity.
When the years passed and we had developed our own travel wings, my brothers and sisters got the coveted opportunities of being able to visit with her in Manila. And at times stay with her as her non-paying quests in her hospitable house in Cortada, Ermita. Two older brothers even worked for them for some time. And as I learned last night, even my father was allotted office space in Cortada for a time.
In fine, we collectively got to know Tia Dedith better, through these intimately close contacts.
And as more years passed and the number of her surviving siblings dwindled, we individually got to know her even better - from her occasional visits to Cagayan to attend the fiesta and in turn from our visits to her in Baybay from the time she got widowed.
Today we are paying our last visit and our last respects to our last connection to our parents' generation, and eventually to that part of our past.
We take this once in a lifetime opportunity then to reflect on the long life of Tia Dedith and longingly offer her back to her God's warm embrace, laced with our equally loving testimony on a life well lived.
A life quite deserving of honor, respect, and the eternal reward promised to each one of us.
May God bless us all.