Death is sad

Someday, in a place so far away, we will all meet again.

Perhaps the saddest thing about death is the fact that you will never see the person ever again. You will never hear his voice, his laughter. You will never get to hold his hands, touch his face. 

My mom has this wonderful habit of calling her siblings on the phone from time to time, when she's in Manila or even at the province. She enjoys long phone conversations with my aunts and uncles, which revolve around just about everything. I am close to my mom's siblings because I know what's going on in their lives, in part thanks to my eavesdropping skills whenever mom's on the phone. 

There were always the good news, and of course the bad. My mom's family was deeply affected when we learned that my uncle Jun was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent an invasive surgery and became okay. Mom, my aunts and uncles visited him and phoned him each time. Then just months ago, he had difficulty eating. He lost appetite and felt something was wrong with his stomach. Another surgery said the doctors, which we all thought will make things better. 

After the procedure, the family rushed to the hospital to see him. He was okay- thinner but okay. They fed him intravenously. My mom and her siblings would alternate visiting him, seeing his health deteriorate at each visit. They thought they can bring him home 2 weeks after the surgery, but 2 weeks became 2 months. He went home, home to our Father. 

My mom asked me this morning if I can help her prepare a short eulogy for Uncle Jun. She said the priest last night told them one of the siblings will have to talk after today's mass. Then tomorrow, before cremation, my cousin Jenny will give the eulogy. 

I asked my mom to describe to me my uncle, and all the fond memories she had with him. I teared up while writing. I wondered why he had to live so short a life, I wondered why we all have to see him suffer so much in the hospital. I have so much questions but I know God has a reason for taking him. 

Uncle Jun, thank you for providing for my mom when she was young. From her stories, it seemed to me that you became her second father. I knew you were happy and proud that time mom showed you that tiny newspaper clipping of the Taiwan scholarship article. Until now I feel guilty that I was not able to visit you when I went home last October 5. I feel bad not seeing you for the very last time. 

Thanks to Facetime, I was with the family this afternoon while they were watching over you. I call it "online lamay". I heard your grandson CJ telling you to wake up. He's so cute, I'm sure his presence lessens the sadness of everyone, especially Ate Jenny. Ate Jenny took such good care of you uncle, she must have had superpowers to be able to juggle her clinic hours, being a mom, a wife and a daughter who was always by your side. 

Among the nine siblings, you were the first one to go and meet with lola and lolo. Ne-John might have given you a big hug when he saw you  up there. Please look after the other eight, and us- your nephews, nieces, your family. We are happy that there are no longer tubes and machines attached to your frail body. You see us crying, but we try to be happy because you are now in a happier place, away from all things painful. 

Death is sad. Everything about death is sad. But we all have to let go and hope that someday, in a place so far away, we will all meet again. Rest well, Uncle Jun.



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