An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

23 July 2010


I found out yesterday that a friend and classmate from high school and college, Annabelle Goce, had died. She was only 35. She was the subject of one of my earliest blog posts, and after I found out about her death, I read my old blog post again, and reading it gave me chills.

In the blog post I predicted how she would grow old. (Now I know I am definitely not a fortune-teller.) Neither do I really remember what happened the first time we met. All I could remember was that we were both thirteen. It must have been in the classroom, and it must have been quiet and polite, because that’s how she was. She was unassuming, proper, kind and considerate. Even though she was fighting her own battles, she never showed it. She had poise, and everybody could see that. In the elegance and quietude of our first meeting, more than twenty years ago, the details have been lost to memory.

But I do remember the last time I saw her. It was on the day of her wedding, in January 2006. As I watched her walk down the aisle in a pure white gown, to the song “On the Wings of Love,” I sat at the end of a pew and cried, because she was so beautiful. I wished her a long and happy life. Little did I know that that wish would not be granted. And as the choir sang to a crescendo, saying that the only way to fly is on the wings of love, I felt so much gladness that Annabelle was doing exactly that.

And now, on the wings of love, we send her off. On the wings of love we see her through from this life to the next, amid flowers and tears and the extraordinary memories that she leaves behind. She will be laid to rest on Wednesday, July 28, in Naga, the city that witnessed her life. And even though I cannot be there myself, she will have many people there who will bid her farewell, including our high school batch-mates from the Colegio de Santa Isabel Batch of 1992. I can almost see them there -- an army of 35 year-old women propelled by sisterhood and memories, walking along the streets of Naga alongside Annabelle’s casket.

And as we all walk in the memory of Annabelle Goce, we also remember other high school batch-mates who have already passed away: Georgina de Guzman, Sheila Cuarto, and Encar Parone, comrades from our unforgettable adolescence, sisters from the glory days of our youth. None of us will ever remember them sad, or ugly, or old, or in pain. They will live in our memories, always happy, constantly radiant, invariably golden, forever young.

[Image credits: 1, 2]


Anonymous joy lanon white said...

I found out of Annabelle's demise last month. I absolutely agree that she was the embodiment of what a Filipina beauty is. And I miss Georgina and her gentle ways (i always think or her when I pass by her old house), Sheila, with her physical strength during our PE days, and Encar, who used to discuss NBA matches with me the morning after games on the telly. RIP, guys. Your memories will always be in our hearts and souls.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Maryanne Moll said...

Makapungawon talaga. But I suppose they don't want us to be sad. We are left behind to continue bringing the happiness they started.

Thanks for dropping by, Joy.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Thad said...

I remember reading your post "Beauty" and imagined the kind of lady she was. It's heartbreaking for someone so young to pass away.

My father died a few days ago at 54, two years before that my mom at 50. It seems the younger generations live shorter lives. May their souls rest in peace.

I am such a big fan of your writing. You are one of my idols aside from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jessica Zafra, and Ma'am Alunan.

8:32 AM  

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