FACT: Death is inevitable.
I have already experienced a lot of deaths in the family; my dad passed away four years ago (see related post here), my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. We all know that death is our final destination and yet when the time comes we still feel that we are not prepared for such. I still miss my father. I still wish that he is still around to witness the things that is happening in our lives.
Whenever we hear of someone's passing, there's still a bit of shock that somehow leave questions as to why a certain person must die.
Recently, my barkada passed away. He's 42 years old. I have known him since my banking days. For some, he may look like a goon in a movie, but for us, he is a gentle giant. He is a very funny person, even my mom can't stop laughing at his punchlines. He is also very transparent; we can easily know if he's happy or sad or ill (he has diabetes and hypertension). He is also very caring; since we both lived in the east, he sometimes drives me home during the time that I was still carless.
It happened on a Sunday. I just finished a two-day spiritual retreat and I was looking for a parking space at Robinson's Metro East to go to church when I received a phone call from a friend telling me about his passing. I stopped my car for awhile just to internalize the news. Some of our friends have already rushed to the rescue while I told them that I will just go attend church services friend and whisper a prayer to the family.
While I was on my way to my friend's house, I received a phone call from another friend telling me to go straight to the funeral home because they already received a phone call that his remains were already ready for viewing. I arrived first at the funeral home but after a few minutes, my friends who came first to the rescue already arrived together with his live-in girlfriend. We let his live-in girlfriend see the remains first before we get into the room. It was a really, really sad moment. We can't say anything. It was so surreal. I thought that kind of scenario only happens in movies.
The family was still busy preparing for the arrival of my friend's mom who will be coming from Surigao. They still didn't tell that he already passed away that morning. They just said that it was an emergency. They haven't thought about the preparation for the guests. Our friends took initiative on buying grocery items and arranging the food table.
Later that day, one by one our friends arrived to pay final respects, even those friends who we haven't seen for a very long time.
He was cremated on Wednesday. Since it's already a working day, only few of our friends were able to say goodbye to him. Some even filed a leave just to be with him for the last time.
We will surely miss him.....
There are things that we can learn from someone's passing. I truly believe that there are still things to be thankful for despite of a tragedy that happened.
1. Health is wealth. My friends are already in their 40s (I'm the youngest in the group but I'm still in my 30s), and some are already complaining of health issues. Our friend's death somehow reminded us to really take our health seriously.
2. Sunday is indeed a family day. If he died on a weekday, it'll be very difficult for the barkada to immediately go to the rescue because some are in the office and some might have other appointments. We have showed him that we are indeed a family.
3. Treat your friends on how you want your friends treat you when you pass away. He had been a good friend to everybody, always there to the rescue too, so when it's his time to be rescued, we were also there for him.
4. We cannot choose how are we going to die. He died a peaceful and swift death. Yes, it is untimely and shocking. My father was bedridden for four years before he passed away. Some will say they like a sudden death because you won't cause long suffering to the whole family. But then, it is only God who knows how are we going to die. One thing that we can somehow do is to pray to God for peace and for His sustenance.
5. Only God knows when your time is up. Since I just came from a spiritual retreat when I heard the news, God reminded me that our time on earth can be anytime. I was reborn during the retreat and it is so ironic that somebody died on that day too. We must live according to His design. My friend's passing reminded me to live a life with God.
I have to write this blog as my way of honoring my friend. He is not a perfect person, but his imperfections made him a true person. Thank you for the friendship. Thank you for the good times and the bad times. Thank you for the trust.