Goodbye, Ami

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By Luci Lizares

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MA. AMALIA "Ami" Gaston Lopez-Lizares belonged to a tightly-knit group of bosom buddies, ladies of Bacolod's St. Scholastica’s Academy HS Class ‘67, who have, through the years, forged an enviable brand of friendship.

From this gregarious and surprisingly cohesive group, Ami drew considerable strength and spiritual support as she faced her health challenges until she gently slipped into immortality at early dawn on July 27, 2014.

Ami and her classmates took their friendship seriously and one could only watch them from the sidelines with amazement as they held frequent reunions in Bacolod, Manila, Baguio, La Castellana, Boracay ... wherever they saw an opportunity to enjoy their togetherness. They seem to have the knack for kicking their heels up in the air and have the grandest time with each other...wherever, whenever!


Last year, in November, they went on their first international adventure where 13 of them flew to Bangkok for four days, enjoying themselves immensely despite the beginnings of the political unrest there. They also just came back from Macau this month. They were all looking forward for their next trip to Singapore this August, most especially because Ami was very excited to join the group.

Sadly enough for the traveling Class ‘67, it wasn't meant to be. Yet, they are very sure that when they board their plane, she will be very much with them in spirit.

In truth and in fact, their meetings are never footloose and fancy-free... although one might deem it so, judging from the lively and fun-filled encounters. They always have a purpose - to exercise by doing jazz lessons with Janette Garcia Sanchez or taking long walks in malls, to try a new resto in town, to celebrate each other's birthday, to visit the sick among them and to give a helping hand to those in need (i.e. due to calamities), to congregate when a classmate from abroad blows into town, to support a classmate's book-launching, to condole with each other when a husband, a parent or a sibling passes away. Like a magical wave, they moved as one to celebrate one another with each other.

Class ‘67 formally organized themselves in 2012 to create a project that would give education to the young children of underprivileged families. K4K or "Klasmeyts for Kids," in cooperation with the Parish of San Antonio Abad and the Education Department of LCC, currently serves to enhance the learning capabilities of poor young children, some of them being out of school youths. Through this endeavor, the ladies of Class ‘67 generously give of their time, talent and treasure to do their bit to make a difference in this world. And Ami, an indefatigable organizer and systematic doer, busied herself with heading this project for her group and saw it through until late last year when she felt the need to beg off from her duties due to her frail condition.

Early this year in February, 11 of them hied off to the Highland Resort in cool Don Salvador Benedicto to have a one-day recollection with Fr. Larry Tan, SDB, plus two more days of joyful bonding to celebrate the birthday of one among them. Ami was apprehensive about her ability to go up and down the steep stairs between the bedrooms and the conference and dining areas, but the class was undaunted. They employed "human escalators" to carry Ami seated on a chair to and from the different venues!

It was a very touching and memorable experience for all...and, as usual, the group generated such infectious energies that even Ami couldn't help but stand up and dance a number with the group while holding on to her nurse aide.

Ami celebrated her 65th birthday last June 5, and 15 classmates joined her to celebrate this special occasion. Today, Class ‘67 celebrates Ami's life with gratitude for the privilege of knowing her and having experienced life's struggles and successes, joys and sorrows, fun and laughter with her.

If one's life is a message to be read, the ladies of Class 67 agree that Ami's life is a love letter full of inspirational thoughts. They may have lost a comrade here on earth, one who will be sorely missed... but they have most definitely gained an angel in heaven...a valuable piece of gold nugget in their heart of hearts.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 31, 2014.


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