Below is the eulogy I delivered last Thursday, 12 February 2015, for Amanda Hsieh during her memorial at the Church of the the Gesu in Ateneo.
After the mass presided by Fr. Dacanay, Sei had many of her friends from various groups speak to her and share their memories. I spoke for the Kythe alumni.
Sei was my friend, and I will never get to thank her enough for changing my life and the lives of all the people who loved her. I hope by sharing this piece publicly it gives people even just the slightest idea of how big a part she was in the lives of all those she loved and served selflessly. We love you, Sei. In all ways, we always will.
Good evening, everyone.
Friends, Kythers, OrComm, Lights for Hope team, GK, ASLANS, schoolmates, fellow alumni, the Psychology department, the Health Sci department Fr. Jett Villarin, faculty and staff, all members of the Ateneo community, and all of Sei’s family and friends, good to be with all of you tonight. The past six days have been very hard but it’s definitely been a blessing to be around so many loving people and old friends again. Despite what’s happened, being around loving people to grieve with, to cry with, to cry on, to remember her with, and to love Sei with is one thing I’m very thankful for. To be honest, it’s one of the many things I have to thank Sei for again—the gift of knowing who are the people you can really run to when things turn out the way they do.
Before I speak about our loving friend, I’d like to ask you to take a moment to think about the past few days and the people that you’ve been with. How much harder it would have been without the person on your left, your right, the person you’re texting, the person you called up on Saturday, the people you went to the wake with, and the people you went here with today. These friends, these loved ones, have not only proven to be real friends but became better friends. They became closer to you these past few days and you have Sei to thank for that also. This was how great a friend Sei was to all of us—she allowed us, not only the opportunity to make better friends but to be better friends. That’s how much love Sei had in her because you never touch and move this many hearts to cry on people and allow people to cry on you without being as a good a friend as Amanda Hsieh was to all of us. So, thank you, Sei. Thank you.
I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never written a eulogy in my life. I’m 23 years old and all I have is the power of google to tell me what a eulogy is supposed to be like. It told me just to speak to the audience and tell you about how she was in my life, and how she lived. I hope you’ll forgive me if I can’t bring myself to do that because I don’t want to talk about how she was, I want to talk about how she is— I don’t want to talk about her life, I want to talk to her. When you love someone this much, they never really die. They live in our actions, remain in our lives, stay in our hearts. And if you’re here tonight, I’m sure Sei is very much present in your heart, also. So, please allow me not to speak to you but to speak to her. Please allow me to speak to her by speaking to you.
MESSAGE TO SEI
It’s been a little over a week since we last spoke. Do you remember? It was Wednesday last week around midnight, and you were talking to me about Kythe and the recent miting de avance. You were telling me about your general feelings about the week because big decisions regarding what responsibilities you’d have for your senior year would be decided in the next few days.
You also talked about your platform and some small insecurities that can never be shrugged off after putting yourself out like that. Do you remember? Hope you don’t mind if I remind you a little bit of what you typed.
You said: “Platform ko, basically. Alam mo yung lalo na seeing my write-up beside the other applicants… sobrang wow…
But I really do believe in my platform though…
Syempre, di naman matatanggi na gusto ko siya because I really do but I want to see my plans through.
But like I said yesterday, mas gugustuhin kong manalo platform ko kaysa sa akin. Masaya na lang ako na at least bits of my platform was evident in the 3 others’ din. :)”
After some time and some hugot jokes I’d rather not mention because I still want people to respect us, the both of us just arrived at the conclusion that Kythe would always be the same regardless of whatever results came out. “Kythe would always be Kythe”, I said. But you know, Sei? I was wrong. I really don’t know how Kythe will ever be the same again now that you won’t be running around with us on Kiteflying and taking pictures, or making kids like Aaron and Penpen laugh in the hospital. You played such a big role in this family and we, including the alumni, were really glad to have you as one of the youngest people who kept going out with us. And, let me speak for all them when I say I love you.
Your TNT AC loves you. Your friends in med school Issa, Elijah, Mea, Dianne and Jar love you. Aimi, your sungit sister from BPI loves you. All your other friends who work in banks, corporations, schools, in Manila and abroad love you.
Your friend Eli from Canada says you really are an angel a now—a blessing to everyone. She’s eternally grateful that she met you and she’ll never forget you. The same we’ll all never forget you.
Alberto, all the way from Borongan, Eastern Samar, says he’s sure you see us grieving but he knows you’d want us to continue on with the work to be done. Nakagiginhawa siguro kung patigilan natin ang pagpapatuloy ng mundo at huminto, manahimik, at iyakan ka lang pero hindi eh. Ikaw rin nagsabi “magpatuloy lang” at yun gagawin namin. We’ll all continue to move on with you and without you.
And for all other alumni, whose full messages I can’t read anymore, just please know your friendship was valued by everyone and that you were one of the biggest reasons why we always felt like Kythe-Ateneo was something we could always come home to. Truly we’ll miss you a lot but we’re glad all the kids who’ve touched our lives and gone on ahead now have you to watch over them. Please make them laugh there like you did here. I hope you take lots of pictures with Ashley and Alecs whose wakes we visited 2 weeks ago. Know that many of us smile every time we think of them knowing they’re with you now—no longer in pain and can never be hurt again.
Sei, I know you’re beside God right now listening to all of these things so if you’ll let me, I’d like to just say these last few words to Him.
MESSAGE TO GOD
You already know what I prayed for but I hope you don’t mind if I say it again.
God, you’ve got a wonderful, loving person beside you. The angel wings look wonderful on her. I know I pray for many things but for now, I hope you hear these 3 simple requests. Hug her, love her, and keep her in your love.
Please hug her and whenever you do, please hug her so tight that she feels every single friend who has ever loved her in that embrace. Hug her for everyone, and not just for the people who never got to hug her to say goodbye. Let her feel so warm and welcome in your arms that she’ll never want to be anywhere else but with You. Leave it to us to want and wish she could come back home, but let her feel at home wherever You are.
Please love her. Love her and make her feel so loved that it overflows and spills from the glory of heaven and into the hearts of every person who has ever loved this beautiful girl.
And lastly, please keep her in your love. Please remind her every day that you love her, and that we love her. Remind her just as many times as we will remember her whenever we do something for Kythe, for OrSem, for psych, for Christmas, when we do something to carry out your name, to be a ripple of change, to be more, to be men and women for others, to be Atenean, to be good. Please remind her of how loved she is, and remind us that whenever we’re around good friends on our right, our left, on the phone, or on the way to wherever, that’s where she is also. Where there is a good friend, where there is love, there she is. There is Sei.
Take care of our beloved friend, God. We entrust her to you now.
And Sei, one last thing? I’m just really really going to miss you. Thank you for being my friend, our friend. I’m never ever going to forget you. I love you and see you on Saturday for Kiteflying. Bye for now, Sei.