On November 12, 2016, the unthinkable happened. A part of me died. My beloved only brother passed away. My world will never be the same again.
He was fine…. We were promised he would be as he only had what the doctor described as a simple case of Grade 1 Dengue. We were even told by his attending that final evening that he would be discharged on Monday or Tuesday as he was on the mend. I had no idea that he would be rushed to the ICU and suffer from multi-organ failure the following day. I had no idea that he would suffer from cardiac arrest and despite multiple desperate attempts to revive him, he would fade away.
I had no idea that the last time we spoke… would be the last.
When my father tearfully told me over the phone: “Wala na si Deck” as I was on my way to airport… I couldn’t believe it. I kept hoping that I heard it wrong. I kept hoping it was just a horrible mistake. Although we were in tears while waiting in the airport for our flight… I guess a part of me was hoping there was some sort of mistake.
It hit me like a ton of bricks when I entered his hospital room and I saw his body lying there on the bed.
That’s when I started wailing.
I didn’t realize that the wailing I saw in movies really happened… because that’s what I did. My parents and I clung to each other as they tried to calm me while I was wailing like a banshee.
It’s true. It wasn’t some horrible mistake. My brother is gone.
You don’t know grief, or how you will react to it, until you experience it yourself. I always assumed I would break down. I always assumed I would collapse like a rag doll.
Much to my surprise, after a few minutes, I managed to pull myself together. The words of my friends from Cebu ringing in my brain “You need to be strong for your parents.”
By some miracle, I was.
It is not the natural order for parents to bury their sons. It is not natural for 1 year olds to lose their fathers. It is not natural for 28 year olds to become widows. All of sudden, this has become our reality.
Within the haze of my own personal grief, I knew I had to be the one to pick up the pieces of all these broken hearts.
Two things kept running through my head.
All I could think of was I owed it to Deck to make sure he has nothing to worry about in the world he left behind. I know my brother; he would be terribly worried about everyone he has left behind. It is important for me that he knows that we have his back. He has nothing to fear. He shouldn’t worry about my parents or his wife and child. I want him to be at peace and rest easy that all will be well in our world so he can go on to enjoy his new life in God’s embrace. Stan and I have got this.
All I could think about is how I REFUSE to have my beloved brother’s legacy to be one of pain.
To me, Deck is Joy. Deck is Hope. Deck is Love.
Deck is the sort of person who would stop in the middle of traffic to help someone who got into a car accident. He would not leave until he talked to the cops on her behalf and made sure she was okay
Deck is the sort of person who would wait for the one person who strayed while we were travelling in a group just to make sure that person is okay. No one else but him was worried enough to backtrack through our route just to find the one missing person. He was 13 at the time.
All these stories are true…. He did this for MY friends. Not even his friends… MY friends.
It is hard to compress the life of a person into a few short words, but these particular stories struck me because they were experiences with Deck by people who were friends only by affiliation to me…
The things he will do for his family and personal friends are boundless.
That is what Deck is. I will make sure that his name does NOT equate to pain and grief. His legacy should be similar to the way he lived.
JOY. HOPE. LOVE.
I want Deck’s name to be spoken in happiness. I want him to be remembered with love and a feeling of peace.
We are blessed for Deck to have been in our lives, even though it was much too short a time. I will be forever thankful to God for the years we were given together.
We will continue to be blessed by his very being for the rest of our lives.
Our lives will never be the same again after his passing; we are all poorer without him. We grieve for our loss because we miss his loving presence in our lives. We cry because Deck is such a terrific son, husband, dad, brother and friend.
For now, the pain and tears are inevitable. However, I am confident that one day, beyond our grief, we will build a new joyful reality in his name.
So until we meet again Deck…. Be at Peace. You will always be loved and remembered with Joy.