Beauty is a very strange thing. In it's essence it is simply what others think about, predominantly, one's surface appearance. You would think humans now days would have grown out of something so facile, and some have. Overall, however, it is safe to say that we are as obsessed with beauty as we have ever been and maybe even more. If we investigate the intricacies and huge number of elusive elements that go into perceiving someone as beautiful, it can start to make sense that it is so captivating.
Racine Pregunta was a 20 year old from Davao city, southern Philippines. This young student tragically knew the end was near as she had been battling osteosarcoma (bone cancer) for quite some time and could feel she was losing.
Osteosarcoma is a cancerous tumour located in the bone and is the most common form of bone cancer and is most common in teenagers and young adults. This means there are many tragic stories of young students becoming fatal prey to this illness like Racine.
The treatment of choice is to start by trying to cut the tumour out. Or in some cases amputation may even be attempted. This surgery is then followed up with Mifamurtide and chemotherapy in order to stop the cancer from returning.
In Racine's case the treatment didn't work. She went through all that trauma and surgery and still the cancer persisted inside of her bone and eventually got the better of her. Robbing this woman of the life and experiences that lay ahead of her.
The line 'Die Beautiful' comes from a Filipino comedy drama of the same name. The film was directed by Jun Robles Lana and premiered in October, 2016. The film is about a transgender man whose sexuality and dream of being a beauty queen was oppressed by his father.
Racine loved this film and found it to be an inspiration in her life. She felt it helped to guide her life and the messages of acceptance helped her to become a kinder and more inclusive person. Her last wish showed just how much this film meant to her.
Similar to the protagonist Racine wished to be beautiful, even in her death. As she knew her sickness would soon take her, she decided to make arrangements for her own funeral. Alongside the arrangements she made sure her final wish would come to light.
Her funeral has happened, and pictures of a fulfilled dream have surfaced. The pictures are both beautiful and disturbing. Serene and tragic. She is pictured in a white dress and a white coffin. Laying there calmly as if she was sleeping beauty herself.
A point of difference in Racine's life and the story in the film is that Racine's family were amazingly supportive of her throughout her sickness. She planned her own funeral and her parents supported her completely enabling her to realise her dying dream.
It was Royln, Racine's sister, who shared Racine's dream with the world. Just 5 days before her sister's death she said that Racine wished to die beautifully in reference to the film. Racine was no stranger to beauty in the past, having modelled previously.
Racine was able to plan absolutely everything for her own funeral. From the white casket to the white dress. In order for her to 'Die Beautiful' she designed her own look. She then told her sister she wanted a 'Personal make-up artist' to create it for her on the day.
Rolyn posted on facebook a kind of farewell "Today, request fulfilled and there all I see is you, smiling.On the way to the sunset, friends and family gathered and bid their last farewell to Racine who now sleeps beautifully forever. You will always remain in our hearts."
On a tribute account Rolyn posted of how Racine prepared for departure: "Let me tell you how Racine prepared her departure. It was April 12, 2017... Before she informed everyone that she's ready to go. She had these requests: An off- shoulder white dress and a white flowerband."
"The next day, she asked for something that's Violet, Blue and Mint Green. Then I asked her "Unsa d I na gang?" she replied "Basta kabalo nka ana". The following day.... she said: I want to lay beside Papa. Thus, I said, let me try to achieve your request, consulted Mom about it and she told me: If we can afford to buy the lot beside my father's grave."
"She practically suggested; what if "ipatong nalang nato sya sa lubnganan sa imu Papa?" And immediately relayed the message to Racine and she answered "it' s fine". She added: "If I die, I want to die BEAUTIFUL." Personally requested for Ate Gladys to do her make- up (who is her personal make- up artist). Today, request fullfilled and there all I see is you, smiling. Rest in Peace Langga."