Page Title
Editor's corner/ Over a cup of tea
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the
Year for the State of
Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)

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Staring at mortality in the face
By Heidi M. Pascual
At present, my high school batch (1968) is preparing for our Grand Reunion (50th Anniversary) come February 2018.  
As a member of the Ad Hoc Committee planning for activities in relation to that big event, I volunteered to work on our
100-page Souvenir Program. One section of this proposed publication would be “In Memoriam,” a tribute to our former
classmates or batchmates who already passed. I am saddened to find out that a little more than a hundred of us (out of
more than 600) are gone, for all kinds of reasons. Recently, I have been going to wakes of batchmates, and it pained
me to know that most of them had been excited to attend our Grand Reunion.

I am now staring
at mortality in the face.  I note that many of us that remain have health problems, some graver than
others, and some are financially handicapped to handle huge medical expenses. Our class adviser, whom we recently
visited, is 92 years old and almost bedridden. She said, “I hope that those in your batch who have been blessed
financially and
are successful in their careers would help your needy batchmates. That is part of my message to you.”
Looking at her now, I couldn’t help but think backwards when she was our adviser in high school—very tough, very
intelligent, and an activist in many ways. Her mind is still intact, her manner of speaking still very much in character, but
her physical strength is gone. She also quoted Bible verses to her visitors, as if she’s getting ready anytime to face her
Creator. Reality is hard to swallow sometimes, and at that moment, I thought and accepted that I, like her, would
probably experience the same gradual physical weakness as years go by, and focus more and more on spiritual

It’s interesting how women my age (and even those younger) use many cosmetics that purport to defy aging—from
body and hand lotion to facial creams; or undergo major surgery to remove wrinkles or fats; or take vitamin
supplements to fight early signs of aging. I must admit I am definitely one user of such lotions or vitamin supplements.
While I cannot stop the clock, I can at least feel much better with fresh-looking, though not necessarily young-looking,
skin. Vanity is anyway free (to exercise), although we pay much for it, enriching cosmetic companies!
When I was young, active, and ready to start my career  and raise a family, there was no place
in my mind about “resting in peace.” That phrase – though not spoken out loud – was, for
most  youth,  only for people about to face their Creator --  those who have fulfilled their
mission on Earth, those who are probably too tired and sick for decades of hard work, those
who’d rather pass than endure years of grave diseases, and those who are too old to even
move by themselves. Being young seems to erase any thought about mortality. I was focused
on many challenges that “resting in peace” was farthest from my mind, because ”life is
beautiful,” and living happily necessarily means “living” not merely existing.

Like many people, I experienced the usual phases of life such as, childhood, teen-age years,
college, marriage, raising a family, career/work, and retirement. In between childhood and
retirement was the busiest, most challenging phases of my life. I am now in that phase
where I am looking back at what I have done and perhaps, what else I can do. More
importantly, I am also thinking about what aging will bring, including adding the word
“mortality” in my senior’s vocabulary.
Lest I wander away from my topic, I should
say being a senior citizen is a blessing,
especially if one is healthy and financially
stable. While “resting in peace” would
eventually come to everyone, enjoying the
present should be the order of the day.
How do we do that? Well, have fun with
members of the family as often as
possible; be with close friends or relatives
at various events whenever possible;
communicate daily with God; be busy doing
matters that count; and take care of
ourselves.  Nowadays, I think about the
good deeds I have accomplished and still
hope to accomplish. I think about the
people I care about and those I want to be
with always. I think about not “resting in
peace” yet because deep in my heart, I still
have lots of things to do to accomplish my
mission in life. Maybe it’s just a feeling, but
feelings have their ways to becoming real.

My message to senior citizens like me:
enjoy the present, never ever allow
sadness to occupy your mind, keep
yourselves busy with things and activities
that interest you, exercise a lot and eat
healthy, and most of all, BE HAPPY! Life is
beautiful, and as long as our hearts beat, it
means ONLY ONE thing: we still have a lot
to do to make this world a better place for