Pain and devastation
BUSINESS and LEISURE - Ray Butch Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - September 1, 2018 - 12:00am

Losing a loved one is painful.

Losing a person who’s been your life’s rudder and pillar can be devastating.

I just lost Babes, my wife, who’s been my life’s guiding light, my pillar of strength and my shield.

In my many years of writing this column I have stayed away, as much as I can, from being personal. I have made it a point to be positive and stayed away from anything sad.

I hope you would oblige me during this time of grief.

Babes and I decided to stay for keeps after going steady for more than eight years. That’s how much we knew each other and how sure we were that we were meant to be together for keeps—till death.

We have two wonderful children, Kristine Patricia or ‘Tin’ to the family and ‘DJ Suzy’ to her radio (Magic 89.9) and TV (G.O.A.T.) followers. And there’s Ray Louis or ‘Wee’ to family and friends and to those who follow his coverage of local motorsports on the Race Weekend segment of Motoring Today on TV and online.

Babes and I were deep into badminton from the time the sport became its popular in the early ’80s, until a few years ago when slight shoulder injuries and the ever-present ‘day after the game’ painful knees made us realize that it was time to engage in something else to keep fit.

Henceforth, our tandem became a fixture at the Palms Country Club gym thrice a week. I would stay on the treadmill for 30 minutes and Babes would often double that time to more than an hour on the more strenuous cross trainer machine. When she missed a gym day due to my commitments or my trips, she would walk briskly and I mean briskly in our village for at least an hour. If only for that she was physically fit.

With all that exercise and the fact that I’ve had an angioplasty, my friends were expecting me to go first. But she did, which left everybody shocked and unbelieving when told of her passing.

Her ever mild and reserve demeanor would always give people who met her the impression of a stress-free life although we worked hard together running Sunshine TV (STV), our family enterprise of producing shows for television and online content for our websites. Being STV’s head writer, she wrote the transport and traffic management news for Motoring Today, as well as the business news and features of Business & Leisure. 

Except for my very close friends not many were aware that ‘Lovey’, as we fondly called each other was a very good poker player. She learned the fine skills of reading winning card probabilities and players’ body language when they make their bets by just joining me during my game days and watching intently the game proceedings. Such skills eventually earned her a regular seat in one of the poker groups I’m part of. That which had our close circle of poker friends composed of PBA governor, Bobby Rosales who’s with top management of Columbian Motors Corporation, young multi enterprise businessman Eric Roxas, former UP coach, businessman architect Rey Madrid, and Mahindra Dyipko PBA Team manager Joe Lipa. I won the admiration of friends for being a good teacher of poker when she started beating me at the game.   

Aside from her very friendly disposition, her mild manners, and very visible sincerity in dealing with everybody, Babes won the love of her friends and relatives through their stomachs—she cooks very well. She was able to imbibe from my mom, down to every secret condiment and procedure all the recipes handed down through generations, like kare-kare, bacalao, cocido and what we call the ‘original Gamboa hamburger’. While on her own she was able to do perfect roast pork with the ever-crunchy skin to the envy of many gourmands and her very famous sinigang na baka, the broth of which became an instant favorite of Japanese auto industry executives who joined our invitational golf tournaments.    

Countless business acquaintances, friends and relatives came to pay their last respects and to join my family and me in our time of grief. I cannot thank all of you enough for sharing in our loss.

It’s not easy to lose someone you have loved so much and happily lived with for more than half of your life.

I know our God Almighty allows things to happen for a reason.

I pray that our Lord would make me understand why He had to take our Babes away.

My apologies to our readers for being very personal. I beg for your indulgence.

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