”Will I be selfish if I cry? Will I be selfish if I feel pain? Will I be selfish if I can’t let go just yet?”
Those were the questions I was asking myself September of 2016. Calendar pages turned, a lot of things happened, September’s coming once again. I still cry, I still feel pain, I do not know if I have fully let go of you already. How would I know? Memories are still clear in my mind. Do I really have to let go of them? If yes, how? Maybe this is one way of doing so? Maybe if I spill out everything here, I will not need to keep them in my mind anymore?
Sorry if this bothers you, I’m coping up well, please believe that. God placed quite a number of people around me to keep me company and make me feel happy. I’m doing okay… though there are times that I still miss you.
I had many reasons to be sad. Early days of this month when you started messaging me about your sickness. I learned that you were hospitalized after 3 days of on and off fever due to dengue as you told me. We were wondering what’s really wrong with your body.
June 10th when my roommate, Karen, whom you met once went back to Tacloban City for good. I was sad because having you still admitted in the hospital for some unknown reason and her going home left me feeling SO alone. The two of you were the only people closest to family that I have.
June 12 when you broke the news to me. After undergoing laboratory exams which are unusual for dengue patients, you were diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. You even sent me a photo of your laboratory exam result. I was initially shocked. I got afraid. Since then, no day has passed that I did not think of you; that I didn’t utter a prayer for you.
June 18th. My birthday. I remember I was asking random people from the office to accompany me on that day, just so I can have someone to celebrate my birthday with. I was literally alone. Without you and my old roomie around, I have no one else. You were still at the hospital then and it only adds to the drama. But God is good to let me spend the night of my birthday with people whom I now consider as my family. I was also happy when you posted your birthday greetings for me on Facebook, I even kept a screenshot of it in my phone! ☺
I learned you were readmitted to a hospital near my place this time.
July 13. We were exchanging chat messages. You told me you were starting to get tired of your situation. It was hard for me to console you and give you comforting words because I was also breaking inside. Thinking of your situation was enough to worry the hell out of me. And it breaks me more to hear from you directly the struggles you were going through, from the difficulty in breathing and moving, to the irritating bruises showing on your skin. All I could tell you was for you to be strong, to continue fighting for your life, that I’ll always be here to help you, and that you continue to trust in God.
July 16. It was a rainy afternoon, I was sick and had myself checked in a clinic that was only a few blocks away from the hospital you were in. I decided to visit you for the 1st time. With my hair on ponytail and me wearing my usual comfy outfit of 3/4 sleeves top, shorts and my backpack, I went to the hospital and asked from information desks, nurse stations, and other hospital personnel about you until I found you in a shared ward of patients with different critical illnesses. To be honest, the place was not conducive to recovering. Upon seeing your fragile frame lying on the bed located in the corner of the room, I rushed to your side and called your name. “Zur!” I exclaimed. You opened your weak eyes to look at me and motioned through your hands for me to sit on your bedside and I did. I just stayed there looking at you. You were so weak to even open your eyes again. Only later did I realize that you were surrounded with around 10 people. I got so excited to see you that I went straight to you without introducing myself to the people around. I unknowingly intruded your family’s conversation. Sorry for that. Anyway, I guess they understand how I feel that time, nobody seem to mind me at all. And your mom seems happy to finally meet me, she said you’ve been telling them stories about me. I think you did great in introducing me to her ahead of time! 😀
I was able to visit you again the weekend after your birthday, I just learned you were already released from the hospital but needed to be readmitted on the very day of your birthday, because you collapsed at home when your birthday celebration was about to start. I could only imagine the horror it brought to your mother. I remember being with Ron and some other folks during one of my visits. He brought a friend who was generous enough to donate blood for you. After hours of catching up, it was time to say goodbye. We prayed for you before we left. I don’t know why but I felt the need to squeeze myself to your frail frame for a quick hug before I finally turned to get out of the room. Maybe it was because I know I will be out-of-town the following weekend so it’ll be a long time until the next time I get to visit you.
Before I went to my hometown on the last weekend of that month, I was able to visit you again. That time I was with Raven, we needed to rush to the hospital for you immediately needed some more blood bags and he was a willing donor.
Your situation seems to worsen as days passed by. Platelets and red blood cells continue to drop to critical points even after multiple transfusions. We can not seem to get your numbers to a point suitable for chemotherapy.
The following weekends I wasn’t able to visit you.
I still regret the chances I didn’t take to visit you again.
I’m back in Cebu.
Sept. 4th, I attended an outreach program of Lingkod Cebu (another weekend I wasn’t able to spend with you).
Sept. 10-11, I had another activity to attend to. I was really getting busy during weekends, and I can’t visit you during weekdays due to the nature of our work (graveyard shifts), I’m always exhausted every after office hours.
Sept. 17-18, third weekend of the month. Finally, a free time for me after consecutive jampacked weekends. Finally, I have time to visit you… but I decided not to.
I already planned to visit you that day, but I was half-hearted to do so. I didn’t know why, maybe I was feeling lazy.
I slept in the morning and woke up in the afternoon with an inevitable horror I was trying to and praying to be delayed or not to happen at all. When I turned on the mobile date of my phone, multiple messages bombarded me with me with questions verifying if the news was real or not. It left me astounded. I just came from sleep and I do not know anything. So I called your mom, and the horror was confirmed. You were no more. You were gone. The fight was over. We just lost you. It’s hard to believe but I have to, there’s no other way but to accept it.
I called Ron right after I talked to your mom and we both decided to go to the hospital. There we met your family, they were still processing the papers for your body to be released. Reality didn’t sink in just yet. I was still able to smile and be positive in front of everyone. I even initiated to pray over your lifeless body before I and Ron head to office for that night’s shift.
The sad reality started to creep in when we arrived at the office from the hospital. I remember the moment when I entered the office floor and all eyes were on me, people seem to check as to how am I coping up. And then wishes of condolences were addressed to me directly for they know that we have been inseparable since we were endorsed to operations floor after we passed our training as customer service representatives.
Sept. 20th. It just happened yesterday, reality’s starting to hit me. And it’s hitting me hard. After composing a letter for you, I finally allowed myself to cry. I cried hard. I cried myself to sleep. I cried to ease the pain, but of course, it was to no avail.
I visited your wake multiple times, I attended your burial and allowed myself to cry again upon seeing your mother break down in tears. I just can’t accept the fact that you are gone for real, for good. Your life has a lot of unfinished stories. I know your dreams for yourself and your family, your still far from reaching them. And all of a sudden, your time stopped, giving you no chance but to leave everything behind. You became that flower bud that was robbed the chance to showcase its beauty as a fully bloomed flower.
Fast forward to August 2017.
Tomorrow’s supposed to be your 22nd birthday and so I can’t help but be nostalgic. My memories of you are flashing back in my mind. Honestly speaking, memories of you started to haunt me since April when they started to prepare for the annual summer outing/anniversary party at the office. Everytime I was asked if I will attend the said event, I always answer no. And I find it hard to admit the real reason why, that I do not think I can ever afford to have another summer outing with our office mates for it will only bring back the last series of happy memories I had with you before you got hospitalized. Memories of you visited me more often come June, for it was that time last year when things started to change.