A Different Journey - my cousin went to sleep but never woke up

Philippines Travel Blog

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I have always wondered how it is possible for people to go to bed one night expecting to see the beauty of the world the next day but then, never did.

The deaths of Filipino young actors Rico Yan and Marky Cielo, for example, had always been puzzling and disturbing to me. Questions such as what if and what could have been continue to linger in the minds of many. After all, at the prime of their careers, they died so young and very unexpectedly.

I never thought that we will personally experience such a loss. And of all the painful questions we could think of, what was very pronounced was the question why?

On the eve of March 30, 2009, my cousin went to sleep looking healthy and happy (or so we thought) but never woke up the next day. He was 26 years old and was survived by a young wife and a 5-month old daughter, Mika.

Around 11 in the evening, his wife was awaken by their baby's cry. When she tried to wake her husband, she found out he was no longer breathing and tried her best to wake him up, called their neighbors to help them and carried her husband's body in the hospital who was then declared DOA - they said, of cardiac arrest. He had never been admitted to a hospital before - this was his first and last time.

Our family was his closest relative in the city and we got the shock of our lives when we learned of his death. Helping his young wife and informing his loved ones were the hardest things.

What was the best way to tell an ailing mother who had just lost her husband a year ago that one of her sons just died?

What was the best way to inform his only brother whom he had just spoken with in the phone an hour earlier before his death?And how do we tell his sisters that their youngest brother is no longer with them?

It was a very emotional day for all of us. It was just sooo sudden. He was full of life - my own brothers treat him as their Kuya - their leader, their big brother. We will always remember how happy he was when his daughter was born - he waited to be a father for 5 years and now looking at his little angel, our hearts break at the thought that the 5-month old baby lost her father too soon.

This afternoon (April 9) was his funeral. Ironically, this Holy Thursday is also his mother's birthday. A birthday and a funeral - such irony indeed.

Ah, life is never certain. We will never know if today would be our last. The passing of my cousin taught me to give more value to every single day I have in my life - to value my health and my loved ones more.

It taught me not to put off the things I have wanted and needed to do for tomorrow if I can only do them today.

It helped me redefine my priorities in life and to have the courage to answer the question - what if? Yes, what if tomorrow is my last - how then should I spend that day?

I guess it's time for me to update and act on my 'bucket list' the soonest.

(my cousin will always be remembered and missed but we are comforted with the fact that he is with Him now - the Author of Life)
nadika10 says:
Thank you very much for posting this ! ,this is a brick thrown at me from GOD,
Posted on: Mar 18, 2011
jethanad says:
Thank you - we all need to be reminded how precious our lives are
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011
will62 says:
We all need to slow down and remember what is important in life and how to appreciate life. Thanks for sharing your moving story.
I love your country and people and hope someday to have the opportunity to live there. yes, live there.
Posted on: Jan 22, 2011
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