Thursday 5 May 2022

Silenced mornings

He was known popularly as Athoji, Anthusio Joseph Pinto, 59. He died on May 5, 2022 after a repeat heart attack in GMC. His first stroke was on May 03, 2022 soon after the feast finding of the Holy Cross on Vanxim Island. 

I spend an hour with him chatting and joking on his hospital bed on May 04, 2022 evening. He shared with me his experience as to how unbearable pain he suffered in his back at home on May 03, 2022  At that time he said he thought he would die called upon Almighty to remember him. His prediction came true two days later and God recalled his life. 

He was joyous that many Vanxim people came to bid farewell to him when he entered the Ambulance as he narrated to me from his hospital bed. And immidiately he extended his right arm in gratitude- sleeping on bed - towards me for visiting him in the hospital. It was warm and affectionate handshake that proved a parting one on the threshold of his entry into eternity. This handshake with joy is a treasure that will remain with me for the rest of my life. 

My relations with Anthusio started a dozen years ago in 2010 rather in hostile context of Vanxim agitation. Hostility over the years subsided and finally ended. Relations then turned friendly with regular communications. I dare to admit that Anthusio found unique niche in the core of my life with the way he conducted himself after my wife Margarida died in June 2021. He would daily visit me mostly early in the morning between 6.30 am to 7.30 am, call me out and inquire about my health and Maggie's Aunty's too. He would rely messages from him mother to Aunty. Then he would visit again in the day with invitations for someone's Litany in the Holy Cross Chapel or some other information. 

What I found most remarkable about him is his sensitivity towards me. After my wife died inner core of my life was shattered. Many contributed towards my recovery and Anthusio is one unique amongst them. On September 08, 2021 at the feast of Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary I was in Vanxim Church. However due to my intense sorrow surrounding my life I forgot to carry flowers to the feast Mass. At the end of the Mass everyone qued towards alter to offer flowers to Blessed Virgin Mary. Having no flowers I my hand I remained seated on the side of the bench. Anthusio spotted me and extended his hand and shared some of his flowers with me to be offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I did take his flowers and with them our relations turned affectionate. He made my feast day meaningful. I was amazed that out of everyone present inside the Church he was sensitive and graceful to share his flowers. I pray to Blessed Virgin Mary that she remembers all his offerings from heart and obtain favour to forgive his sins and guide his soul into Heaven. 

He was instrumental in guiding me through in many other aspects of my life which I wouldn't put in here to avoid making this tribute long. I thank God for his most unexpected presence in my life during my most difficult phase of my life. Surely not a leaf moves without command of God. I am left with awe and admiration to wonders of God as how Anthusio -in spite of all his weaknesses and all my weaknesses- was sent as a bearer of encouragement and hope when I was plunged into discouragement and despair. Thank you Lord for everything you have done through Anthusio as your medium. 

He loved Catholic Church and told me that after he gets discharged from the hospital he would resume his duty of ringing of the bells. Though he looked good and jovial on May 04, 2022 doctors on duty however informed me that he is still in critical phase though better than the previous day. 

There was only one thing on his mind: get back to Vanxim, to care for his Mother and continue his Chapel messenger duties. 

My mornings henceforth would begin without his robust voice calling to me and then my neighbor Lawry. For Lawry and me henceforth every day will have Silent morning interspersed with melancholy of chirping birds. I will have to listen extra attentive if any of the birds whiper from the palms Anthusio's robust voice. 

Lawry cared for him in GMC to the best of his abilities and was with him in his dying moment  and he too will have much to share about life of Anthusio as he witnessed and experienced him. 

I found Anthusio tense after his relative Viviana Marilia Pinto died on May 01, 2022. He came over and informed me about her death immidiately and also opened up and said "I am very rensef on this account." It is now clear that both of them based last moments prior to death on bed no. 01 of Ward no. 143 in GMC. He was shifted to ward 144 bed 12 after he showed improvement before the second heart stroke took him away. He did inquire with me as to number of people came for Viviana's funeral on May 04, 2022 and deeply regretted that he was not able to be present due to his confinement to hospital. 

As we bid goodbye to popular Anthusio with tears let's be particular to pray for his soul: Eternal rest grant unto the soul of Anthusio O Lord, Let the perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul rest in Peace. Amen. 

Anthusio shared trusted in God as he lived amongst us in Vanxim. Jeremiah 17:7 comforts us that Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence. 

May God have mercy on his soul and bestow strength to his family to bear the loss caused. May God help us all in Vanxim to fill the void caused in his death for in his simple yet sensitive ways he touched almost all of us and we all miss him.

Sebastian Rodrigues

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