Monday, December 26, 2011

The Gatherings

I heard several news this month on the passing on of some classmates back in high school and college. It reminded me of our mortality and how short life is and how we need to live it fully.

I rarely meet up with colleagues for reunions. It's not that I don't like reunions nor the company. It's because I don't have the time for it or that it conflicts with several of my already piled up appointments for the day.

This December, however, I did take the time to clear some of my calendars to accommodate two reunions.

The first was with some of my batch mates in my college days. We belonged to the class of 1979 for Bachelor of Science major in Mathematics at the College of Science at UST. We were a handful of mathematics majors. Truth be told, we were the best the college ever produced! Most of us are successful by industry standards and well, we've tried to make the most of our lives. While we're still all alive and well, some of us are doting grandparents already! Even if only a bunch of us were able to come to the reunion, hosted by the ever gracious Gigi Bautista-Rapadas (her dad Mr. Felix Bautista was an icon to recon with and I am truly honored to have been under his wings during our Varsitarian days) at her home. Myrna, who I missed during my trip to New York last October but flew in to Manila this month came to the reunion. Husband and wife Benjie and Beth Tan had come straight from work. Agnes took the time to be with us in spite of the distance traveled as well. I cut my clinic short that day, took the time to laugh, catch up with our life stories and uhmmmmm....make that special appearance with classmates from the past who never seemed to have aged a single day (okay so I exaggerated here a bit, but you've got to hand the fact that we all looked great). After 32 years, this was the first time I graced our reunion. And I enjoyed it!

A week ago, some of my co-residents during our residency training in Pediatrics at the UST Hospital had flown in from the US. Again, I missed the chance to be with them during my trip to Boston and New York two months because of "conflicts in schedule". I received a phone call from Gigi that Meg and Babes were going to be in town and could I join them for lunch? Because Gigi called me 2-3 days before the said event, I stared at my iPhone calendar in disbelief at the very short notice. I told her I'd get back immediately. At the mall that afternoon, I had bumped into Connie Paulino and told her of the "gathering". Connie was quick to affirm that she would attend. Period. Where, when and what time were the only questions she asked. Wow! If Connie could clear her calendar, then so could I. I told my secretaries to clear the Monday for me. Never mind if I had to reschedule some meetings but I was having lunch with my friends. At Chef Jessie at the Rockwell Towers, the five of us had huddled like we always did during our residency days. We told stories, swapped lives, looked back at how life during our training days were, talked about sex or the lack of it (LOL!!!) and yes, enjoyed the short time we could with one another.

That evening I had to cut my clinic short as well to go our Christmas Party for the Department of Pediatrics of Asian Hospital. Held at the Ayala Alabang Country Club and organized by my co-chair Bettina, the party (over pasta and pizza) turned out to be a lot of fun, with many of us letting our hair (or whatever is left of it) down and just simply having fun - like children,
once again!

In all the gatherings I attended, the thought that perhaps this would be someone's last get together dawned on me. We are, after all, not getting any younger. And somehow, the people in our past who are still with us today have taken our journey together. Our paths will cross, no matter how near or far, how long you've not seen each other, how well we've done (or not) in our careers, relationships and love life...and we need to be remembered somehow and we need to stay in touch to some degree.

It took these gatherings to remind me how good life has been and how precious friends are. Here's to all my friends out there! Cheers to life!

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