August 1 came and I remembered a very good friend posting the line “august rush” on Facebook. I clicked on the “Like” button not knowing that August would not only bring a rush with it but a “deluge” of stuff as well.
The floods in Manila, the death of a relative, an open door for volunteering (tutorials, I’ll write about this in a separate post), Secretary Jesse Robredo’s death – our Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, and the highlight of the month: my first ever quarterly exams with the kids that I’m tutoring. I didn’t know that would be a tough one. Good thing we made it unscathed and with a lot of A’s. 🙂
What do I write about first? I told my sweet blogger friend, Lydia of lifeloveandlydia that the right words still escape me on how to write about an uncle’s death. This post will be an attempt to do so. Tito R was my mom’s second cousin. Her father and his mother were cousins.
He was only 44. He would have turned 45 this September but one Sunday during the first week of August, death suddenly came creeping and he collapsed while he was biking in the recently held Ironman Triathlon here in Cebu City and was DOA (dead on arrival) at Chong Hua hospital. The autopsy report attributed his death to an embolism that affected his lungs.
As soon as my parents and I got hold of the news, I was in denial. “Maybe they just got the name wrong” to “No, his name is not here on the official list” as I was scanning the athletes’ names on the web. All those “they’re wrong” denial stuff went into my head.
His family and our family were close when my sister and I were pretty much younger – school girls age. We would spend Christmas and their birthdays at their house and we’d dance and sing for them and their parents. We had fond memories of Tito R because he was boyishly handsome, warm and very nice to us kids. They were a very close-knit family and Tito R and his siblings were always nice to us kids even when they were all grown up and working.
When we grew up and went to Manila for college, I guess we drifted apart. We no longer had a chance to bond with them and the rest of the family. The last time I saw Tito R was almost two years ago when I had a trip to Manila and he was there at the check-in counter overseeing the luggage check-in. He was a load controller at Cebu Pacific.
When I got to my sister’s house for our Sunday family dinner we were still hoping the news that our family friend told Daddy was wrong. It was only until my sister Happy read my Aunt J.’s (his sister) status update that the news was confirmed, “We will miss you, R.” Shucks, it was him. No amount of willing that it was wrong could not make it untrue. He really was gone.
So many questions were running in our mind but the foremost and the biggest question was, “Why him, Lord?” It was only when my dad, mom and I got home after our dinner and I was all alone here in my room that I finally got the chance to cry and pour out my resentment and my questions “Why did it happen?”
Now, I understand that we don’t really know when our time is. That incident made me realize how frail life is and how someone we know can actually be taken away in a moment, in a blink of an eye. As my dad put it, “you can be having breakfast with a person one day and the next hour or in the afternoon that person can be gone from your life. There are things that are beyond our control.”
Yes, only God really knows our times and seasons. One thing we can do though is ask ourselves “Am I ready to face my Creator and my God when it’s my time?” “Have I repented and made peace with my Savior, Jesus, knowing that because of his death and resurrection I can live throughout eternity?“
A photo snapped by a friend of Tito R before the incident
Tito R’s burial gave us the chance to reconnect with family whom we haven’t seen for a long time. We finally saw one of my aunts (the one in white blouse) after almost 20+ years after her wedding
While we were reconnecting with family, these two adorables (my nephew and niece) also had a whale of a time running around the memorial park and hiding behind and between the tombs. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic or two of them enjoying their time there just before the heavy rains fell.