Remembering Edmund Dantes:  A Celebration of Life 

 

Edmund & Norma-1Relatives and friends in Canada and the Philippines recently marked the first death anniversary of Edmund Dantes who succumbed to cancer on October 24, 2008 at age 66.  Edmund, a former policeman from Cabanatuan City, immigrated to Canada with his own family in 1975.  He is survived by his wife, Norma, 4 children (Maria Teresa, Caroline, Normita and Edmund, Jr.) and their families.  Sumalangit nawa ang kanyang kaluluwa.

The name Edmund Dantes may not ring a bell except to those who knew him or those who are familiar with the principal character in Alexander Dumas’ adventure novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”.  But what makes Edmund worthy of note, to me, is the fact that his life story mirrored the lives of millions of nameless and faceless Overseas Filipino professionals and workers who contribute so much to keeping the Philippine economy stay afloat with their money remittance, investment, and holiday spending.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that Edmund belonged to a generation of heroic Filipinos. 

Edmund & Norma-3Everywhere, no matter the sphere of interest, the really creative and heroic acts are represented as those deriving from severance from one’s everyday world, what happens in the interval of the hero’s non-entity and exploration, and his/her return as one reborn, made great and filled with power to give boons to his/her fellows.   You have local heroes such as the mythical Aeneas to the Romans and Ulysses to the Greeks, the historical Moses to the Jews; or universal heroes like Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and Mohammad the Prophet who bring a timeless message for the entire world.  

Or we can speak of a generation of heroes:  a hero with a million and more faces such as the Filipino who leaves his/her home, goes out to the unknown regions of the world and returns to enhance the life of his/her family and folks; imbued with new knowledge and a broader outlook, more strongly independent and with a greater awareness and spirit of development.   Such was the life story of Edmund — the young policeman from Cabanatuan City who ventured to uncertain life and future in North America in pursuit of a better life for his family, took on odd jobs in order merely to survive, endured prolonged separation from loved ones, made a rewarding career in the aerospace industry and, finally, settled his family in Canada to a life of comfort and better opportunities. 

Tennyson may have written a line for him as well when he made the mythical Ulysses say: “That which we are: one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and faith, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”  

 

Caroline & Family-1I first met Edmund 4 years ago in Manila.  Our subsequent meetings in the Philippines during the last 3 years of his life were few and far between, but always lively and memorable –thanks to his casual and witty nature.  His banters, colorful language and laughter never failed to cheer up the most boring of occassions.  And not unlike his namesake, the fictitious Edmond Dantes in “The Count of Monte Cristo,”‘  his persevering heart, loyalty and devotion to family and friends was unquestionable.  That was how I knew him, that is how I will always remember him.

To Norma and her children, I renew my friendship and convey my profound admiration for Edmund.  Here’s to Edmund:  sorely missed and never forgotten.  Rest in peace idol! 

 
Published 25 October 2009
Pasig City, PHILIPPINES
 
 

Some photos of Edmund’s family 

Edmund and Norma

Edmund’s daughter Carol and her daughter Christina

Edmund’s younger sister Evelyn (in red dress) and family friend Elsie Fajardo

 

 

Norma and her granddaughter Christina