He was… Guido

“Always do things seriously, but don’t take things too seriously…” President Guido de Marco’s granddaughter Angelica recalled as one of her grandfather’s many pearls of wisdom.
Although the heavy atmosphere of St John’s was oppressive in its sense of collective grief, as usual, Guido got the last and funniest word. Even in death, he has the ability to motivate, to cajole, to persuade; and above all else, to make people smile.
Guido was brought into the church and the whole Co-Cathedral erupted into a cacophony of noise as each and every person present; young or old, burst into applause. He deserved it.
The de Marco family chose readings and psalms which they felt reflected their beloved Guido’s philosophies, ways and beliefs… but it was not enough. Archbishop Paul Cremona read out the Gospel, again chosen to reflect Guido’s life and manner… but it too was not enough.
As well as he tried, even his Excellency the Archbishop could not encapsulate Guido. The mood was somber. The heat was oppressive and everyone inside the Cathedral was absolutely struck with blackness and grief.
Then came the grandchildren. It was only their Bidding Prayers that truly managed to show Guido for what he was. A man of all seasons, a patriot, a grandfather, a father and, as one tiny tot put it – her Guardian Angel.
Moved to tears, two of his boys, as he called them, told of their beloved Nonno Guido, who loved Malta and its children and much as he loved his own.  Perhaps in time, we as a people will look back on Guido as being our beloved Malta’s Nonno.
Angelica picked the peach of the bunch though, telling us that her favourite quote from her grandfather was to “always do things seriously, but not take things too seriously”. It is not hard to imagine him throw back his head and laugh that hearty laugh of his as he saw a whole congregation snigger, smile and shake their heads as they remembered just how dry his sense of humour could be.
Forgive us, but we do not know the name of the tiniest tot who read out the last bidding prayer, and it was not the right time to go around bothering the de Marco family to get names. The first part of her prayer was muffled as she couldn’t quite get hold of the microphone, but the last part tugged on the heartstrings of all those present. She told the congregation that she wanted Nannu to be her guardian angel, because that is the only way she could deal with the pain of her loss. Perhaps, as a people, we also need Guido to be our guardian angel.
Throughout his life, he crossed the political divide – believing in people and not colours. Believing in justice and virtue, a true patriot who would have given his left arm to see Malta as a whole advance and move forward through knowledge and increased standing in the world.
We will end on another quote; one he gave to this newspaper in one of his last full length interviews. He refers to Malta’s near collapse into anarchy. Guido told the young people of today: “Treasure democracy. Treasure freedom and treasure Malta. See to it that we never get to that stage again.”
Look around. Read the propaganda and venom that is spouted from many sources; and we might just realize that we really do need a guardian angel. In 2010, divisions are returning. We really ought to take his advice.
You simply cannot describe the man, no matter how many words you use. He was… Guido.

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