Atty. Leah Padernal Adorio
January 8, 1952 - February 10, 2012
The above photograph of my sister Leah, is one of my favorites. It was taken when she graduated at 18 years of age with a Bachelor of Arts, major in English, magna cum laude from La Salle. The following year, she graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education, major in Mathematics and minor in History, magna cum laude. She went on to study law at the University of the Philippines while teaching Algebra and Mathematics at the Philippine Science High School. She then worked as the confidential lawyer of Justice Lorna de la Fuente of the Court of Appeals. She set up her private practice as a principal partner at King and Adorio Law Offices in 1986. The Supreme Court Report Annotated (SCRA) records three of her cases as landmark cases.
We had a funeral today. We said our farewell to Inday Leah. It was a beautiful and solemn occasion culminating a wake of 4 days after her death on February 10, 2012. She was 60 years old. It was followed by an even more solemn cremation service. Last night, I took my turn at the wake. It was when I wrote the eulogy for my sister, below. Many people came to visit; law associates, classmates, sorority sisters and faculty from the University of the Philippines College of Law, the faculty of Fairfield School, Inc. where my sister was President; childhood friends, high school classmates from Negros Occidental Provincial High School (NOHS); my sisters' and brothers' friends, alumni of Philippine Science High School (PhilSci) where my sister taught Algebra and Trigonometry, faculty members of the U.P. College of Education and U.P. College of Mathematics, the R.Ns who took very good care of her when she was ill, my friend Dave from Oregon and also a friend of our family, my sisters' clients and their relatives, our cousins and their children. My family is grateful to all of them for their prayer offerings and words of comfort and visits. It was so heartwarming to see and meet people who loved and admired my sister. She was much loved. We had a short procession from the chapel where her body laid in state to the internment chapel and crematorium. Lynette, our youngest, led the Scripture readings. Our eldest sister, Mercedes, asked me to deliver the eulogy in behalf of our family:
Inday Leah. Atty Leah Padernal Adorio. There are very few people, the mere mention of their names, brings comfort in my mind and warmth in my heart. My sister Leah is one.
Thank you for joining this solemn occasion with my family. I think most of us are here to say goodbye to Inday Leah. Instead, however, I would like you to join us in celebrating her life. My sister is at peace. She has achieved perfection, for perfection happens when we are no longer saddled with mortal and temporary needs. I am not trying to deny that my sister is gone. I will no longer hear her voice. I will no longer be able to receive a letter or email from her. She will no longer be able to give me advice. I will no longer hear her laughter.
Yet the pain and sadness of not being able to experience those things any longer cannot make me cry, for my mind is now filled with memories and my heart has carved a permanent place for her. I request you to please remember my sister, not for her last days of physical discomfort but for the beautiful and good life she led and shared with each and everyone of us.
If there was one who was truly good, kind, honest and beautiful, my sister Leah was so. Since I have known her, my mind recalls a truly caring, loving and giving soul. A few months after she started her law practice, I received word that she was doing a lot of pro bono work. I called her from New Jersey and encouraged her to be practical and not be reluctant to charge for her legal services. I could still see her smile as she gently replied "Nene Cecille, my clients cannot afford to pay but they deserve justice." She really believed she ought to give back to the people for sending her to law school at the University of the Philippines. "I should give back to them." She said.
I could not argue with that. My sister was a brilliant, generous person. Most of all she was honest and just. Sometimes, I do want to cry because I truly miss her. I miss her laughter. She had a way of laughing without opening her mouth. Her voice was gentle, her demeanor respectful. Yet, I knew no one more brave, more tenacious, and determined. She was a warrior. Even after she accepted her faith, she did not give up hope.
She was a bright star whose brilliance was enough to illuminate those behind her footsteps. I was so proud and happy when my professors asked me how I was related to her. I knew that question already increased my grade point average. When she sensed that injustice was about to happen, she was not afraid to point it out. I was so proud when she was cited for contempt of court. My friends who read the transcript marveled at her courage and steadfast stand for the principles of justice. When she was at the hospital, she brought some work papers with her. I asked her to let go and think of herself, but it was difficult for her to do.
One day when I was alone with her she said "Nene Cecille, I did not realize how nice it is to just think of myself." Most of her life she thought of the needs of others. I need my sister. I need to be able to love her because loving her is such an honor and a privilege. And so my heart has carved a place for her. Please join me in sharing that honor. Keep her spirit alive in your hearts and mind. She was truly a giving soul. Even her coffin will be donated to the home of the elderly after the services.
The world is truly a better place because Inday Leah was here.
We had cremation services for my sister following the Holy Mass. It was a very solemn, sacred and beautiful ceremony, filled with much reverence. Relatives and friends stayed for the service. The crematorium staff presented the cradle that would hold my sisters' body. We were asked to fill it with fragrant orchid flowers to act as a bed for my sister's body. They presented us with a cover for the cradle and we were asked to write messages. I drew an acorn and and oak tree and signed it with love with my husband's, my children's and my name. Plans for a memorial in the form of an annual outstanding achievement award in Mathematics at NOHS in our sister's honor is in progress.
My blog lost its most loyal reader.
My blog lost its most loyal reader.