Farewell, Atty. Leah Padernal Adorio

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 10:30PM

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:

Good morning.

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.

Thank you!

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.


Bella Sinclair said...

Even without seeing her radiant smile, it is evident from your tender words that your beloved sister was a beautiful soul who lived a remarkable life. She touched and benefited so many. Your tribute is most loving. I'm sure she is smiling and filled with such love.


audrey said...

What a beautiful tribute you wrote for your sister. She was loved and admired by many.
I am happy that you have carved a place in your heart to keep Leah alive there. You can still talk to her, Ces. She will hear you.
You are a strong woman and you will get through this difficult time, but you WILL cry, Ces. You must. During those times, remember how many people love you and are there for you if you need a shoulder.
I offer prayers for a safe return trip, Ces.
♥♥♥ audrey

Shirley said...

What a beautiful eulogy and service for your dear sister, Ces. It is truly evident through your words of how she touched so many and will continue to touch many still. What a lovely soul...thank you for sharing this tribute with us. The orchids are a most beautiful and heartfelt tradition. Wishing you well at this difficult time, Ces. xo

k.h.whitaker said...

Thank you for sharing this with us Ces. It is a beautiful tribute to her. She sounds like an incredible person and I know that you will miss her terribly.

tera said...

Such beautiful and loving words must mean she was a beautiful and loving sister. May you all find peace in your loving memories.

Steve E said...

Anywhere in the world I would not rather be...than right here, right now, reading the Funeral message--the moat worthy Tribute--you gave your sister, Ces.

THANK YOU SO MUCH...for bringing us into your family's circle of warmth, tenderness, and love, by posting this so beautiful piece. Amen.


Ces said...

Thank you very much for your kind words. They are most appreciated.

brandi said...

~to honor and remember is the greatest give to give your sister...your words have me crying so if there are mispelled words please bear with me...ces...i am so sorry to be reading this...i know sorry does not do justice for what you are going through but know that i am...in the days ahead...may your heart and mind find peace...in the quiet of your days know she will always be by your side...walking beside you...find comfort in your memeories you hold in your heart...treasure all that you did have and share with her for it will help to carry on...gone but never forgotten is she...my father has always said...it is never goodbye but till we meet again...and one day you will walk beside her soaking up her radiant light and all the goodness she beholds...she seemed to be a great spirit in our world who did beyond what was called...her words and actions will be remembered always from all those she helped and touched...thank you for sharing this with us...truly beautiful were are words...i am touched deeply by your love...be well and know that my thoughts prayers and blessings always be with you and yours~

Shirley said...

Thinking of you today, Ces! Sending you a box o' virtual chocolates too..please don't mind the holes.


Bimbimbie said...

Tsup Dear Ces, I'm so sorry you have lost your much loved sister. Please stay afloat in your dark days with the knowledge of how lucky you and your siblings are to have her as your sister...she'll always be a part of each of you as each of you were a part of her.

Tsup*!* x

Andrew Finnie said...

Oh Ces! I am so so very sorry to hear about your sister. I had/have tears down my cheeks going back through your blog and finally coming to this post. I admire you so much for your strong heart and your wonderful and positive attitude. Your sister would be very proud to know that she was so well loved by so many wonderful caring and kind people like yourself.

Sending you hugs and prayers and well wishes.

Take care of yourself.

Lisa Holtzman said...

Aw Ces, I'm so sorry that your sister Leah has passed away. As you yourself say, she is forever in your heart. All the ways in which you have always spoken about her convey what a beautiful and brilliant person she was. Thank you for sharing your heart as you always do and letting us get to know her too. Much love.