By By Pablo A. Tariman
posted 6-May-2018  ·  
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The columnist's daughter Karenina (center with her classmates) when she earned a master's degree in finance and management at the Frankfurt business school.

Tears flowed profusely as a Lumad father looked at his son who just finished college.

Same for the poor farmer whose son graduated at the PMA with high honors.

When you watch news on TV every night, you see tears of relief for those judged not guilty and tears of sadness for those sentenced to spend their remaining lives    in prison.

In another setting, you see tears of jubilation in awards night when awardees are choked with emotions and overwhelmed thus, they didn’t know what to say and because they didn’t expect it, they didn’t know how to react. (This is a very spontaneous reaction although some say that very emotion and projected surprise can be a product of a thorough rehearsal.)

In the same medium, you see relatives of victims of violence awash with tears asking the father of the land for justice in primetime television.

You see parents in distress like this famous mother some years back crying over public television for son who probably took his own life. Where did she go wrong? She wailed. Poor son probably didn’t live up to family and public expectations and for him, saying goodbye to life was the only way out.

Having lived almost 70 years of a life, I have seen all kinds and went through all kinds I cannot say that years of living desperately have rendered me incapable of tears.

Some years back, I was overwhelmed with emotions when after travelling for almost 12 hours, you see your daughter behind bars and that it would take the usual long bureaucratic process to produce a bail. She was doing research on the state of farmers in that part of northern Luzon and in one so-called encounter, she was caught with high-powered firearms almost physically bigger than her persona.

Illegal possession of firearms was non-bailable and so one was advised to write to the court and plead for a motion for reconsideration.

After raising bail money, you start another long journey to go through another process.

On the big day she got her bail, you take it as a blessing as you resist expressing any emotion.

Other chapters of one’s life are virtual invitations for literally breaking down.

A dying filmmaker invites me to a screening of a documentary on her art and life. She didn’t have much time, one could see that as one saw a white medical mask covering her face during the screening.

The film directed by one of her students was her ode to her productive life and her quiet acceptance of her fate.  She told me before the screening, ‘Pablo if you can accept me as friend, surely you can accept death as part of our existence. Don’t you dare cry, or I’ll hit you.”

But as the documentary rolled with testimonials from friends and film colleagues, you know that you are witnessing a life coming to end.

One could not bear to see her after the screening even as you realize how brave your friend was to stare at her fate just like that.

A few years back, she cried unabashedly when our common pianist-friend was diagnosed with cancer. “Why her and why not me?” she wailed loud enough to be noticed by her film students. It turned out to be false alarm.

But when it was her turn to be diagnosed with cancer, she took it very well but we her friends didn’t. The pianist asked me if I could go with her to our friend’s first chemo session and flatly said I couldn’t.

One can admit tears can be happy outcome for some happy  chapters in one’s life.

When my daughter graduated cum laude in this rich man’s school, one couldn’t help being overwhelmed enough to let a tear fall.

Because that moving up ritual in the campus signified the years you were visiting her in this boarding house and making do what one earned to make ends meet.

One told her one couldn’t finish the ceremony as one was overseeing a concert at Philamlife Theater.

When she arrived at the concert hall after her graduation ceremony, I proudly gave her a bouquet and I could see my daughter was in tears.

That she finished college in a school one couldn’t afford -- and with honors at that -- was for me something one can be proud of.

Years later, she’d earn a master’s degree in the same school while she was teaching. She took German lessons later and flew to Frankfurt and later earned a degree in finance and business management.

When one saw her graduation picture with all those foreign classmates, you couldn’t help reprising the same emotion when she graduated with honors.

There is probably some truth when a wise man said, “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

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