By Sophia Roco-Avancena
The Manila Times
“Mourning is the language of memory…the passage to recovery.”
(Canon Without Closure by Rabbi Ismar Schorsch)
On August 5, my father, Raul Roco will be with our Lord for three years. It seems longer to me, his daughter, who misses him terribly. Time is supposed to ease the loss and heal the pain.
Maybe not enough time has passed.
Maybe his passing gets harder with time.
But surely, in mourning—I am on my passage to recovery.
He loved reading. He memorized by heart his favorite poems and works from his favorite writers—Plato, Aquinas, Shakespeare, T.S. Elliot, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Alan Poe, Lewis Carroll, Pablo Neruda in the original Spanish—among many others. He kept reading and when he could not manage to hold a book anymore began to recite for his pleasure and my amusement whole passages from those literary giants. I inherited his passion and love of reading.
He believed everything could be learned with perseverance, hard work and determination.
In the last months of his life, he found peace with himself in the little time left he had for deep reflection. The few times he would cry out in pain, he would immediately apologize to the Lord for complaining. And thank Him. He was ready to meet his Creator.
He once told me, “Never look back. Move on.”
Recently, the NAIA 3 Airport Terminal opened and started operations. Few people know that the President and Executive Secretary Ermita had been consulting him regarding this issue. It was his last project, no politics involved—for our country he offered his legal expertise crossing party lines. Fate would have it that the project would end up with Mike Defensor who early in his political career also sought my father’s wisdom and advice.
The last movie we saw together was The Last Samurai. In the last scene, the Emperor asked how Katsumoto, his most noble and loyal general, had died. The reply given was, “I will tell you how he lived.”
My father died with the convictions of our heroes who died before him, planting the seeds of change for the next generation to sow.
I ask now that we all remember Raul Roco and how he served our country.
Let us remember how he lived.