“Pain teaches, pain reminds.” (Micah Pascual)
My sister, Janet Gonda, passed away last Sunday, ending a long and hard fought battle with Lam Lung Disease.
She was just 50.
About 11 years ago, she was diagnosed of this sickness and though the doctor gave her 10 years max, by the Grace of God she survived one more year. That was enough for her to leave us a valuable lesson.
My sister is a leader. She led a life of generosity. When she was still well, she was a giver. She gave when we asked, and sometimes even when we didn’t. She’s the reason why some of my college tuition fees were paid. So it was really a pain knowing she’s a really good person for me yet she had to go through this ordeal.
I was pondering the whole time, what is God teaching us in this situation and through her death, I learned generosity.
Honestly, I am a stingy person. I feel like I need to save up always; that’s self-preservation. I think I made some developments, all thanks to what the Scriptures teach, but it’s really different when there’s real life application and personal economics is affected.
What usually happens is she asks for food every Sunday for her family, or some sweet stuff like cake or junk food (I don’t condone that junk food), I guess her way of providing for her family. This led to some times having some thoughts of being selfish because at first it was just one time deal that became weekly. It did hit my current budget as I provide too for the house and being someone who just jumped from corporate to business, sometimes when there’s no collections, I tend to be rattled.
I was reminded though of what real giving is all about–that even when you don’t have much, give. Real sacrifice DEMANDS to be felt, and that’s the time you’d know it’s real giving, and that’s what she left for me to really understand. As I write this, I could remember me sitting down and thinking, knowing that she wouldn’t last that long now, and the only thing I could really do is… give.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Sure, there was still moments when I had to back out, which is a painful regret now, but because of what she taught me, hopefully I do retain it. It’s different when you read about giving, but it’s different when you see someone actually live it out, and she did until her last breath. That’s her lasting legacy. Makes me think about mine.
We love you, Ate Janet. We’ll surely miss you.
If you could read Tagalog, sharing some thoughts from her kids who wrote tearjerkers.
From her eldest son, Tyrell: To my mom.
From her second child, Kiara: Sweetest Mom