By Alex P. Vidal
TORONTO, Ontario — The gestures displayed by members of the caregiver community here in assisting the two caregivers who passed away recently is very admirable. In times of sorrow, we can always count on the benevolence and humility of our compatriots in this part of the world.
Before Maria Cleofe Tadia, 41, and Maria Precy Limpiado, 40, succumed to illnesses one after the other, “their legacy has touched so many lives especially among the caregiver community,” Faye Arellano wrote in the community news of the Filipino Bulleting here.
“Everyone agrees that the two certainly impressed upon them a new and meaningful relationship founded on the real spirit of love and friendship.”
Arellano narrated that “the death of Cleofe on November 1 brought together members of the community from far and wide in an overwhelming support to repatriate her remains to her native town of Oton in Iloilo, Philippines.
“The concerted efforts of the faith community, led by Fr. Ben Ebcas Jr., Pastor of the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, made it possible to satisfy fully the cost of the funeral arrangements which amounted to $7,500. An additional $4,000 was also sent to Cleofe’s aging mother, Magdalene, in Iloilo shortly following the wake in Toronto.”
Arellano wrote further that “despite having no family or relatives in Canada, Cleofe’s friends demonstrated an outpouring of support in order to fulfill her mother’s plea to see the remains of her daughter for one last time.
“It has been more than five years ago that Magdalena last saw her daughter who left home to work overseas. Cleofe first worked in Taiwan then Hong Kong prior to coming to Canada in September of 2009.
“Filipino staff from Balmoral Funeral Homes assumed the responsibility of preparing the funeral service for Cleofe without seeing any deposit to do the work. A word from Fr. Ebeas was good enough for them to start the necessary work from picking up Cleofe’s body from the hospital morgue to rendering a dignified funeral service at a North York chapel.
“By the evening of November 6th, a throng of people from the Legion of Mary; OLA; St. Joseph Convent, to name a few, attended the chapel together with Cleofe’s personal friends for a one-night vigil service led by Fr. Ben who will visit Cleofe’s mother and deliver in person any remaining donation for the latter’s welfare when he goes home to the Philippines early next year.”
Cancer-stricken Limpiado, on the other hand, passed away in her mother’s arm on October 7, added Arellano. “It was so beautiful and touching to see everyone in the community do their part to help someone in need,” Arellano quoted Caregivers’ Ministry volunteer Marife as saying during the wake. “This is very reassuring to see especially by those of us working as caregivers who do not have families and relatives in Canada.”
Limpiado was surrounded by her loved ones in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines when she died. Arellano said Limpiado’s plight came to light when she appealed for help to the Filipino community in 2009.
“Without a job,” Arellano disclosed, “stripped of OHIP coverage and with mounting hospital bills, Limpiado sought the help of the community through the Caregivers’ Resource Centre (CRC) led by Terry Olayta. The community appealed to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to grant Limpiado permanent status on the basis of humanitarian and compassionate ground.
“Limpiado also actively took part in the community consultation with Minister Kenney, who eventually granted her permanent residence status. The consultation, along with community mobilization, resulted in reforms to the immigration laws and regulations in April 2010.”