I was a member of the school choir since third grade until high school. Ms Deanna Gabriana or Mama, as we call her, is our choir moderator: an old maid grade school music teacher who's every inch an OC, totally strict to her students but unbelievably loving to us, her anaks. She has cute dogs namely Beethoven, Mozart and Scherzo. Never did she tell her real age; she'd just say, "Eighteen," when asked about it. Mama knows we're very active (and competitive) students but she'd always get jealous if we prioritize CAT/COCC trainings, student council meetings, org projects and the likes over choir practice.
Of course every school year, a batch graduates and leaves the school including those of whom are her children. It's sad and it breaks her heart; she never got used to it although she did it for more than two decades, I think. 2002, my turn to leave highschool, it's really gloomy. We must've stayed all throughout the one-hour lunchbreak at the music room chatting and tinkering with her piano and stuff. I visited her once, during my first semester in college. She looked so proud seeing us in our college uniforms. She reminded us to do well with our studies and go easy on the boys.
Sem break following that semester, news broke out that Mama had a heart attack. We went to visit her at the hospital but she's mainly living on machines by then. It broke my heart to see the ever-elegant and neat Mama look so helpless with her hair messed up and her sheets falling over. Tubes were all over. I lasted five minutes inside the room and then I had to excuse myself and cried at the hallway. Eventually, the family had decided to pull the plug.
Lots of students came to her wake. Some, I don't even know. Some, batches way older than I am. And then for the last time, we had a choir practice for a mass for Mama. We sang while we cried while we choked while we tried to blink back tears endlessly while we said our goodbyes. And we did our best. It felt like singing for the last time.
The experience was kind of hard to accept. I was in denial for so long. Since then I never sang during masses. I didn't even hum. It must've taken me three years before I sang anything (during a mass) again. And until now, I have never heard any choir sing our most favorite song.
Mama, we miss you. It's been five years. May you rest in peace.