It is not what you’ve lost that matters. It is what you do with what is left.
Ewan ko ba. Simula nung marinig ko ito kay kuya Chard e hindi ko na talaga nakalimutan. Hindi ko maalala saang speech niya ito sinabi. Basta tumatak to ng husto sakin at paulit-ulit ko itong pinapaalala sa sarili ko sa tuwing may pinagdadaanan ako.
June 2008, LTS when I first met him. I knew then that I wanted to be close to him. Siya yung tipo ng tao na ‘with arms wide open’ para sa lahat. Very kuya figure. Mararamdaman ko yung genuine kindness at yung concern niya para sa lahat. Madaling makagaangan ng loob.
He accepted me as his sister and treated me as one. We had this parang family tree sa student council. I belonged to his siblings.
October 2009, pasukan, last sem ko na. One day, he came to ask me. ‘Jhem, hindi ka pa nag-eenroll’. Sabi ko naman sa kanya na mag-eenroll ako, naghihintay lang ng blessing. We were having a financial difficulty that time. Without hesitation, he told me, “Kung kailangan mo ng tulong, kapatid, magsabi ka lang.” those were his exact words. I really appreciated his offer at talagang napaluha nalang ako non sa sobrang pagka-touch. I promised him na mag-eenroll ako at gagraduate by the end of the sem. I did.
After graduation, we seldom met. He always had a hectic schedule. But if time permits, we go out. We used to celebrate his birthday – he never failed to have a simple celebration at home where we always felt welcome. Minsan pa nga nakikicelebrate nalang ako sa kanya since our birthdays are only 3 days apart. I’ll never forget that video they sent me – siya and the rest of our siblings – when they celebrated on the exact date of my birthday. May pa-birthday greetings ang mga kapatid, I felt so loved! Kuya Chard – you will never feel left out kapag kasama mo siya.
He was a huge part of me and the mister’s relationship. Simula day 1, simula pa nung ligawan stage, andiyan na siya, nakasuporta sa amin. Anything about Jolo and I, nandiyan siya para samin. I will never forget that one long text message he sent to Jolo nung naging kami ata yun o nung nalaman niyang nililigawan ako. “Wag mong sasaktan yang kapatid ko, lagot ka sakin!” When Jolo didn’t pass the board exam, he was the one who called me up. It was only around 8 or 9pm, I think, but I was already in the middle of my sleep kasi early duty ako non sa work. There he broke the bad news. Wala akong nagawa non but to cry over the phone. Sabi ko siya na ang magsabi kasi di ko alam kung ano’ng sasabihin ko. Ang sinabi niya lang saken non is that I have to be strong and he assured me na andiyan lang siya to back me up. Kuya Chard – he was always there in good times and in bad. Lagi siyang nakasuporta. Hindi kami kung ano kami ngayon kung hindi dahil sa kanya.
The last time we saw him was last year. Naconfine siya due to a lung problem habang ang kanyang mama ay nakaburol. Dumaan kami sa kanya bago kami dumaan sa lamay. ‘pagaling ka’ were the last words I was able to tell him. Ang last message ko sa kanya ay yung magpakatatag siya kasi nababasa ko na nadedepress siya sa pagkawala ng mama niya.
I never thought that it was the last.
Binati ko pala siya nung birthday niya pero hindi ko sure kung nabasa niya kasi walang ‘seen’. I think during that time, maysakit na siya.
Heaven gained another angel. Hindi ko alam gaano karami ang kailangan ni Lord. But anyway, siya lang naman nakakaalam kung kelan tayo babalik doon. It pains everyone to hear the news. Pero at least, no more pain for him.
Kuya Chard – he has touched so many lives. He was everyone’s kuya, he inspired so many people. And maybe he died on a heroes day because he is a hero to many, lalong lalo na to his family Indeed, he lived his life well.
Thank you, kuya, for believing in me; for letting me know that I am not alone. Thank you for the things we’ve shared and the times we’ve spent together. Salamat for treating me as a family. I will hold you close to my heart forever. Rest now and be at peace.
It maybe short, but it was a life well lived.