With Faith ... there is always Jeland: Farewell to a Beloved Comrade and Husband

by Faith Bacon

January 3, 2014 at 8:31am

How do you pay tribute to a man who has been a better part of your life for almost three decades without sounding cheesy and trite. Si Daddy kasi hindi madrama and to prove this…everytime iiyak ang apo niyang si Amber…kinakatahan niya ng “Gulong ng Palad” as derisive he is of “telenobela” scenes.

So…maybe this once Dad, allow me to be true to how I feel..sad, angry, melancholic and very “gulong ng palad”.

I met Jeland in the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines. He was a member of the University Belt Ecumenical Student Ministry (UBESM) which is based in Sampaloc, Manila.  I am sure various parts of his life will be shared by family, friends and comrades tonight.  For me, I will try to share snippets and anecdotes of his life in our 26 years of togetherness.

I cannot recall my first awareness of Jeland. All I can remember was way back in the early ‘80s, I saw Je as a friend of my sister Joy. We eventually became housemates. I was going through a difficult relationship at that time and he would always volunteer to ease my load of child care. He would forgo his meetings in favour of staying at home to take care of Egil.

Jeland and I finally became a couple in 1986 in what you may call an MU relationship (mag  un)…no formal courting. The movement gave its blessing belatedly but Jeland will not be deterred. He saw, he decided, he conquered. He saw Egil needed a father, he decided he will be the one and he conquered my indifference.  My relationship with Jeland went through rough spots..very rough actually given our differences in age, political foundations,  economic standing. educational achievements…basically we were a very unlikely pair.  A friend and comrade Marielle, who was also our "sec" at that time, was so against the relationship because she thinks it was decided on a rebound…not good she said. Everyone agreed. We proved them all wrong.

Through 25 years of partnership, Jeland have stood steadfast beside me and my children…playing the role of father, friend, enemy, disciplinarian, spoiler, employer, alarm clock, cook, driver, messenger, electrician, carpenter, plumber and all around jester. For me he was all of these and more…he was my comrade..isang dakilang kasama…who has always been consistent in his convictions and commitment to both people and country., steadfast in his belief in what is right and wrong. Willing to fight and offer his life...basta papayag ako…(biro lang po)

Friends through the years have asked us what makes our relationship endure…My answer to that is... because he loves me… more that I love myself. He has never brought me to harm,  rather…he has snatched and pushed me out of harm’s way…many, many times over already.  He is one of the reason I wake up in the morning..he is the reality in the cliché “you complete me”..Jeland is the one person in this world that will, can and have endured ME. 

But wait…that may be too personal for you…because truly, Jeland and I also shared the same belief..in the goodness of humanity…in the dream of a better world..of world peace. We walked the same path..maybe in different ways..but the same path nonetheless.  We endured because we played different roles…in this movement and cause we call ours…We laugh at the same jokes, we cry at the same pain and we rage against the same injustice. We are ideologically compatible…there is no doubt about that. It not the why that we fight over but the how. In the years we were active in the people’s movement, we have not really seen eye to eye in the strategies and tactic that were used to bring about the people’s emancipation from all the “ismos” of this world. Jeland have always believed in the supremacy of the armed struggle while I have always been a pacifist at heart. We may have had our differences in this but it only made for  interesting debates,  because at the end of the day…the reality of US held precedent over our beliefs.  He decided not to pursue the highest form of commitment to the movement in favour of building a family with me. (He also said NO to his grandparents’ invitation to migrate to the states in favour of that family).

Instead, together, we created a new path for ourselves…we continued to find an expression of our commitment in a different way..in the service of others.  It may not be as lofty as “shooting” at the enemy but it is as noble as saving lives.  It also gave us a chance to strengthen our relationship further and found a family. We were blessed with three beautiful children and now a very lovely and amazing grandchild…Amber. 

Jeland and I celebrated our silver anniversary last October 1st. It has indeed been a roller coaster ride.

Jeland and I is  living proof that opposites do attract…Those of you who knows us can attest that Jeland is the calming sea opposite my very turbulent temper. He is always the voice of reason when I find myself making emotional decisions… he is my anchor when I create situations that is the result of actions made without careful planning and due consideration to dire consequences.

Jeland is my silence amidst the noise, my order amidst the chaos and my reason amidst the anger and rage. I have always said that he is truly “the wind beneath my wings”.  On the other hand..he has always said that he continues to defy death (he has had four attacks before this) because he has FAITH.

When I woke up that fateful Christmas day and saw him lying there lifeless…the first thing that came to mind was a silent urgent plea..for the Lord to make things right. Now looking back…I can only surmise that Jeland planned the entire thing. From the time of his death—Christmas day -- to the manner – in silence so typical of him--- up to the “objective”  condition—with my entire family around to assist and protect me and the children.  Jeland knows that his children are all grown up, ready and able to face responsibilities.  His one true concern at that time was his beloved apo…Amber. Ibinilin po niya ito sa kanyang Yaya Joy…wag daw pababayaan. I want to believe that Jeland was ready to go when he decided to leave us that day.  That wherever he is right now, he is smiling that signature smile of his…we may even actually expect his shoulders moving in silent laughter…naisahan ko kayo sabi niya…isa pa rin ito sa mga biro niya na hindi nakakatawa pero makahulugan…kaya  Jeland…bossing…kasama…taba…dad… thank you so much…

There is nothing left unsaid between us…nothing to mourn over…no wasted time..no things left undone…We have had one hell of a ride…I will cry and miss you…I think that is normal…It may take me a lifetime to get used to not having you around when I wake up ---sino na magluluto ng agahan ngayon....sino na ang gigising kay Khalil at Ate Joy… or not seeing you walking around the house looking for things you have misplaced…or hearing those corny jokes you even have to explain..I will surely turn my head everytime I will hear Khalil snore or Amber laugh and look for lolo…

But dad…I promise…I will find you in the songs we use to sing and the melody we used to hum, the food we used to cook and eat,  the wind in my face, the sun on my head…I will find you Jeland in the lives of our three children…in their successes and failures..their tears and laughters…I will find you in Amber…Most of all I will find…and keep you…in my heart. Thank you…I love you…keep  watch over us…really dad…REST IN PEACE…TILL WE MEET AGAIN KASAMANG JINGGO!!!