By Grace M. Pulido Tan
If I had FB, my current status would be “in deep pain and sadness.” I had just bid goodbye to my BFF of 45 years, my soul sister and surrogate parent of my five children.
Marvie was the first friend I made at UP. We were both incoming freshmen, newly minted UP-government scholars gathered at Vinzons Hall for orientation; I, an inept probinsyana and she, a seasoned student leader from UP High. We learned that our fathers were high school classmates in Cagayan, and thus was our friendship sealed.
While she was in pre-med and I was in accountancy, we were kept together by UP-Gov. Through the turbulence of youth and the eventual hurdles in careers, marriage, and children, her family became mine, and mine, hers. Wherever I was, whatever the time, I could call her and she was always there for me… and for all her other friends.
As a student, Marvie was academic excellence personified. More than that, she was our conscience and opened our socio-political consciousness specially during the cruel years of martial law. She was always engaged with some cause or another, reaching out to the less privileged, building organizations and communities. She had so much stamina and drive, wasting no time in frivolities.
Marvie proceeded to med school and continued to be engaged with even greater vigor. She went on to become a pediatrician-oncologist par excellence. With her specialties, she could have been fabulously wealthy. But no, her heart was always with, and for, the poor and needy. She unhesitatingly devoted her entire life to them and to country. It was not just passion; it was a life choice and commitment.
One of her pet projects was attending to impoverished children with cancer – gratis et amore – for which she became a TOWNS awardee. She had about a hundred of them in her care, treating them not only of their illness but with summer outings and Christmas parties as well. She also established a halfway house for their parents and caregivers to stay during treatment.
As if that was not enough, Marvie took on a full time hospital job in various capacities, the last being that of head honcho of a leading government hospital. And she still made time to teach and mentor, go on medical missions around the country, spearhead other public health projects, and lead several professional organizations. Selfless, like no other. She was the embodiment of a model Iskolar and Lingkod ng Bayan.
She left us suddenly and unexpectedly. Perhaps, she had been sick for longer than she cared to acknowledge, choosing instead to just go on caring for others. True to form, so very Marvie. She placed herself completely at the disposal of the Lord – whom she loved dearly – in the service of His little ones. Thank you Gerry, Mimi, Gerald, Gerson and Mela for unselfishly sharing her with us.
Eternal rest, my BFF. You had run the race, fought the good fight, and truly glorified our Lord. Your legacy will live in every life you have touched with your healing presence and compassionate heart. May we whom you have so blessed with your generosity and friendship pay it forward. I surely will.
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