That Girl Rona

This was the eulogy I shared during my friend Onang’s memorial service. She died last May due to pneumonia. I had no idea she was sick so I had the shock of my life when I learned of her early demise. Her birthday is coming up so I thought I’d share this with our classmates and friends.

Jonalyn, Pamela, Ronabelle, Michelle, Katrina, Rassel, Julie Ann, and I during our grade school graduation

Like many of Rona’s friends present tonight, I was shocked when I found out about her passing. I couldn’t find the words to say. “Why her?”, I asked. Why so young? Questions ran through my mind but I realized we won’t find the answers in this lifetime. However, I know one day we will understand God’s reasons for allowing her early demise. But for now, even as we grieve, let’s allow the Lord to be our peace and comfort.

Ronabelle Marie Grepo Radam. She was my first seatmate back in grade one, section St. Patrick. I remember her long curly hair. I remember her crying hard because her mom left her for the first time on our first day in school. I told her “okay lang yun wag ka na umiyak, babalik naman si mama mo“. Naalala ko po may baon siyang Milo, habang umiiyak siya..sabi ko…painom ako ng baon mo…yes, while she was crying.

Onang. Or Radam as we fondly called her back in highschool was a leader. She was our Corp Commander in CAT. I always knew she’d get the top position because she was the most fearless in our batch. Such a strong woman with conviction.

She was one of my closest friends in high school together with Michelle Abogado and Nylani Savet. This means that she was a big part of my adolescence. I could say I grew up with her spending nine hours in school for five days a week for five years and then talking on the phone for hours after. She influenced me in many ways, helping shape who I am today. She’s probably the first woman I knew who was FIERCE. Strong enough to share her convictions, always ready for a debate. She had always been that person we would volunteer to start or join debates and speech contests. Now that I think about it, she was the first person in my life who showed me what a tough woman should be.

Reah, Michelle, Ronabelle, Nylani aka Bunsoy, Abogs, Radam, Savet

She was a fighter. No, she wouldn’t start catfights back then. She’s a fighter in a sense that she didn’t give up easily. When she had an opinion, she would share it with nary a care in the world. She first taught me that it’s okay to voice out your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Feisty. That’s the kind of woman Rona was.

The last time I saw her was back in 2009 during our high school reunion. After that, we only had plans to meet but not one pushed through. Then there’s Facebook, thank God for this social network, that we could still catch up with each other’s life.

She was one of the only two highschool friends who were there at my wedding so she’s extra special to me. My only regret is that she wasn’t able to meet my son Noah.

I could tell that she enjoyed her life. So much judging from her adventure photos. She’s the type of woman who loved to be with people. She had full of love in her heart, choosing to put others’ happiness first. I was talking to her brother Redgie last night and he shared that his ate Rona was very supportive of them. She blessed her family as she’s also been blessed with a great career. I always knew she’d be successful someday. She did. She was. She had accomplished so much at her young age of 29. But she was more than just a hardworking employee. First and foremost, she was a servant of God giving her all to her family, friends, church, and company. If there’s one lesson we could learn from her life is LOVE. Her love for God she extended to all the people around her. That is why she will be missed. Greatly missed.

Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “To live is Christ, to die is gain. ” Ronabelle’s aim in life was to glorify Christ. Now, she’s reaping her rewards. She had gained freedom from all the troubles in life. Heaven had gained another angel. I know that she’s free from any heartaches and pain now.

I think Ronabelle would want you and me to remember that life is about living for God and loving others and. She’d want us to make the most of our time here on earth as she did. We never know when God wil take our life. Are we ready? I guess it’s time that we rethink about how we’re living. Who are we living for?

Romans 14:7-9 says, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord“. Ronabelle not only lived to the Lord, she also died to the Lord.

To her family, the whole Grepo-Radam family, your loss is heaven’s gain. I hope you have peace that passes understanding. Peace the comes from God– comfort from knowing that Onang left you good memories. Be thankful that you had a good relationship with her. Not all families have what you have. Her life…her death was not a waste. Grief can be overwhelming but God will see you through. The Lord will carry you as you find rest in Him.

Rona’s passing was so sudden. Nobody can truly prepare for the time when the death of a loved one comes knocking on your door. My dad, for one, died suddenly eight months ago. Just like that.

Life is short. It really is but we can make the most of it. We have to be ready and know how it is to be with God as we live and when we pass away. That’s because we will never know when it will happen. Death. There’s nothing to be afraid of, as long as we spend every second of it living for God.

Goodbye Ronabelle. Thank you for being a part of my life…our lives. The love you’ve shown to each and every one of us here will be forever remembered.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

2 thoughts on “That Girl Rona”

  1. may God bless you, i am right behind you my love,, will meet for eternity.miss u like you have no clue,,if anything else i know you were an angel that God made me meet.And the advice u gave me.love you rona.

  2. I used to fear Ate Rona because she has this strong façade. I would get scared when she passes by the corridor and the CAT trainees would side step she and the rest of the crew would pass by. She was a sweet lady behind all of those. She was one of those who made me believe that strength is not just a physical aspect. Moreover its the state of mind. Missing you too Ate Rona.

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