Gerald lived and worked in Moncton, New Brunswick, one of Canada's Maritime provinces. He was from a little hamlet just outside of Saint John. Gerald was my first-cousin, once-removed; that is, his grandmother, Sittoo in Lebanese, and my mother, were sisters, his mother being then, my first cousin. He was also half Irish, and seemed to become, through his friends and his cooking, an honourary Filipino.
I've not seen Gerald since we were young, my not travelling to New Brunswick in too many decades and Gerald not to Toronto. But we kept in touch on Facebook and mostly, he just let me win the argument.
Gerard's funeral was held yesterday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Rothesay.
Gerald died on December 21. He was on vacation in Asia and was in the Philippines on a beach in Casiguran with friends. A storm came up and a woman in the water was in crisis, struggling and drowning in rough water.
Bearing more the physical resemblance of Vox, than an Olympic swim champion, Gerald ran into the water in spite of the protests of his friends. I am told that he shouted, as he ran to the water, "well somebody has to save her."
Gerald's body was finally returned home to New Brunswick and to his beloved parents Dolores and Frank a few days ago. May they, and Gerald's siblings, be comforted at this time by the words of Our Lord:
that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Eternal rest, O Lord, grant unto the soul of Gerald and may perpetual light shine upon him.