Death is really like a thief in the night. You never know when it’s going to come and rob you of something precious—your life.
Just this month, one of the founders of the dance group that I belonged to passed away. I’ve known for some time that he wasn’t well but even if I’ve known that the result was inevitable, I still couldn’t believe it when I heard the news. I could still remember that day clearly. It was early in the morning and I was preparing to visit him. I was just waiting for the message that would give me the directions to the hospital and when I heard the message tone of my phone, I expected to read directions to where he was. I didn’t expect it to be, “He’s gone.”
I didn’t know such a short sentence could hurt so much.
I cried. Hard.
I couldn’t help it. I just can’t. I know that I should feel better since he’s no longer in pain but there will always be that part of me that’s going to miss him, that part of me that can’t believe that everything was real, that I’ll no longer be able to see or hear from him again. I wasn’t as close to him as he was with the alumni of our group but it was already hard for me. How much more for those who were closest to him? When I was there during the wake and in the interment, I could feel it. Whenever I was able to stop crying, just seeing his family and those who were very, very close to him trying to control themselves from crying made me cry again. I can feel it. Their pain, their loss.
It showed that he was very much loved and appreciated.
And just like what the first stanza of his favourite song says,
Every now and then
We find a special friend
Who never lets us down
Who understands it all
Reaches out each time you fall
You’re the best friend that I’ve found
I know you can’t stay
A part of you will never ever go away
Your heart will stay
He might be gone, but our feelings for him will stay because, “Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
There were things that I wanted to say but wasn’t able to and I hope that somehow, somewhere, this reaches him…
I could still remember those moments when I always badger you about money (I was Finance Head in our organization before). Ever since then, whenever we meet, you’d playfully hide from me and tell me, “Ayan nanaman siya, maniningil nanaman. May utang nanaman ba ako?” (There she goes again, collecting and asking for fees. Do I still have debts?). I will miss those times. I will miss you. Even if you kept on hiding and avoiding me because you think I’m going to collect fees from you! 😀
You were a good mentor and a friend. My memories of you were always so… energetic and fun. When you visit us during our trainings or when you go to our competitions to support us, you lighten up the pressure and the heavy mood by your jokes. You also inspire us to give our best and not be intimidated by the other competitors through your words of wisdom and encouragement. You were always supportive and you always believed in us and in what we can do.
I could still remember the first time I was able to dance and perform with you, that first time when you taught me a dance you choreographed. I felt this urge to give my best because I wanted to be as good as you were and I felt that I could do it because you were very encouraging and patient and I can feel that you believed that I could do it. I was just a trainee then. You were also one of the persons I first performed with when I finally became a member. The performance was for an orientation of our dance group. It seemed so long ago…
I remembered a few lines I’ve read in Tuesdays with Morrie,
“Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine?”
If I was asked this question, I could proudly say that you were this kind of teacher and I know that all of the people whom you had taught whether about dancing, or life in general, when asked by this question, would think so too.
You may no longer be physically present, but you will always be remembered. You might have lived a short life, but it was well-lived. I’ve always believed that a life’s worth is not based on how long it was but on how much good has been done while living it. You will never be forgotten because somehow, you’re immortalized through the things you have done for others.
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” –Henry Adams
I admit that I was really sad that you’re no longer here, physically. But I’m contented with the fact that now, I know you’re no longer in pain and your struggles are over. I may not have seen you in the last moments of your life, but maybe that’s for the better.
My memories of you will always be that of your energetic, fun, encouraging, and believing self.
I’ll remember you this way. 🙂