I consider my relationship with Death as trivial, and our encounters were fleeting. I always make sweeping declarations that, Losing my mom is my greatest fear, and that I am thankful that no one close to me (or close enough that would merit tears) has died. My favorite aunt's, my lola's and my aunt's deaths have saddened me but I was either too young or not too close to them for their deaths to affect me profoundly.
Last year, through the Internet, I was able to follow the events of a person's death and the different reactions to it through Facebook. This guy and I had so many common friends that it was impossible for me to log in and not see a status update, a photo upload or a note written related to his demise. First, I was just curious. Then, as days went on, I find myself being interested in this guy's death--or, rather, how people cope and react to it. I was amazed at how one life could affect so many people. I admit, the drama of it all piqued my curiosity. I wished to experience that kind of profound loss.
Be careful for what you wish for because you might actually get it.
Today, I find out that my sister's boyfriend died. He's a 2nd Lieutenant for the Philippine Army fighting the insurgency in Mindanao. He was set to come home for a break this November. This December was his turn to be home for Christmas.
At first, thinking that my sister's boyfriend was only missing, I immediately texted my sister saying, 'Kamusta si _? Stay strong.' She replied with a simple, "Thanks jo," which was very uncharacteristic of her. I waited for a follow-up text. Soon it enough, it came, "Magpapatulong ako sa eulogy."
I was in utter disbelief. Yes, he was in a highly dangerous situation, but knowing my sister's boyfriend, my Kuya, I knew he was wais enough to outlast the 'war'. I offered a prayer and bit away the tears welling up inside me. I went back to reviewing, or tried to, for my final exams.
But I couldn't get it out of my system. I start reading then I'd remember the instances I was with him. All the ice cream he treated me and my sister to. All the siomais we ate during his birthday last year. All the jokes he said. All the encouragement he gave. I couldn't accept the fact that starting on the 19th of October I will never see Kuya alive, smiling. What pains me the most is that I will never see him with Ate living happily, making their own family. I will never see the two of them together, and their little chubby-cheeked kids.
Death is like a thief in the night. It robs you of the things you value in the quickest possible way, when you least expect it.
May all the people whose lives Kuya touched find solace and comfort in each other, and in the thought that he has lived his life the way he wanted, the way we all should. Passionately, dedicated.
Alanis, unexpectedly, provides me with musical solace at a moment like this.
You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn
You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn