The blessings that accompany a loss

OCTOBER 27, 2022

ILLUST_LS_Christmas without mom for 121723


Losing a cellphone is one personal loss the depth of which we would not have known had we not ever owned one. Now, with practically everybody owning a cellphone, losing it is a common fear, and, as an actual experience, one they will hate to imagine.

At no time could we have imagined how a grown person could develop such an intimate dependence on that little device that he or she admits not being able to live without. And as the cellphone improves and becomes even more efficient, that attachment and dependency grows.

Indeed, it has transcended its communication function, although, for that function alone, it more than fulfills its worth: I can connect by text or audio or audio with video with anyone anywhere in the world—and for free! But it is as a health monitor and a health advisor that it serves as a critical companion for someone my age. It is connected to my Fitbit watch, which I never take off except to bathe.

More routinely, it serves as an alarm, a reminder of everything I need to remember—it’s a calendar, a date book, a planner, a photo album, a TV screen, a video player, a dictionary, a personal banker and a filing cabinet, a keeper of documents.

With a cellphone, you may never experience boredom or loneliness again. With it, time flies when you’re stuck in traffic or while waiting in hospital corridors for your turn at the doctor’s. That’s exactly how I lost my precious one. I only found out when I dipped into my bag for it to pay the consultation fee with GCash.

I had misplaced my cellphone before, at restaurants or shops mostly, but somehow I had an immediate idea where to look. Twice I had lost it and never found it again, but I knew how they disappeared, or had an idea. In one case, a thief must have managed to slip a deft hand into my bag in a crowded market. In the other, a snatcher took the entire bag.

This time, after looking high and low, helped by the doctor’s secretary, who appeared to personally understand the nature of the tragedy, it did not turn up—not in the doctor’s office, not in the chairs where Vergel and I had sat waiting, both of us on our cellphones. Going through the agony imagining, nearly tearfully, that my cellphone was forever lost, I turned to St. Anthony—it is with me instinctive, and almost always redemptive.

St. Anthony

Meantime, we alerted the hospital’s lost and found and kept looking, with Vergel constantly trying to reach the lost phone. It kept ringing, but no one was picking up. Very likely I had put it on silent mode and failed to reset it. Each time he dialed and got nothing, he threw me that look I know so well.

He called his daughter Tracy, who had once helped him track his own phone successfully, and, on her instruction, called my granddaughter Mona to have her switch on the laptop I had passed on to her through which I could be alternatively reached, and to watch for a code that the central trackers were supposed to send in order to verify that it was really me seeking the assistance and that it was really my phone I was looking for.

Still, no luck. Mona got no code, Tracy could not work her magic without it. We finally decided to proceed to our provider’s nearest office in order to either seek more expert assistance or have the phone shut down against possible hacking or otherwise improper use.

But St. Anthony would not be denied! Vergel received a call from our kasambahay; she had gotten a connection to a voice on my phone.

The woman, herself a patient at the hospital, said she had found the phone lying abandoned on a chair beside her. She took it home, apologizing that she had meant to leave it at the hospital’s lost and found, but had been too confused after treatment, and in a hurry to get home to far Bacoor, in Cavite, she forgot, as it was getting dark. She was not coming to the hospital or any place near us anytime soon, but a daughter-in-law works in Makati, in an office we could walk to if we felt up to it. Arrangements were thus made for us to pick up my phone from her.

The mountain was coming to Mohammed! That’s St. Anthony for you, dramatic and generous with his response!

The next day we didn’t walk, we flew, and we prayed to him again to give thanks.


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