My Jojo Story: When Does A Person Die?

When I was a little girl, I used to believe that life and death has one process: the oldest dies first, then the next, until the youngest dies last. So in a family of five (three siblings and parents), I believed that my father, who is the oldest in the house, will die first. My mother will follow, then my eldest brother, my elder brother and, finally, me.

A person grows old … then he dies.

Back then, I learned in my Science classes that when babies are born, they live. A person grows old, gets sick, then he dies. My family did not know of this, but some of my teachers and classmates tried to correct my notion of death. I simply and blindly accepted their reasoning that people die of any age because of numerous causes, but my perspective on my family lifespan remained.

This changed when I transferred from the province to the city. I was about eleven years old when my mother toured me in Paco Cemetery and Park. I saw the grave site of the three martyr priests Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. They were not old when they died. We walked further to a gated section of the park cemetery. It was filled with small gravestones and carved child angels. It was a burial site of infants. Babies die, too! They must be the youngest in the family, yet they died ahead of their parents.

It dawned on me that people die anytime, and that includes my family, too! My mother did not straightforwardly correct me of my way of thinking. But experiences, instances such as the park cemetery field trip, taught me to rethink my belief with the presence of evidence from the past.

Sometimes, students have to experience things firsthand, analyze problems on their own and not be spoon-fed of information by their teachers in order for them to learn something new or to correct a wrong preconceived idea.




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