The passing away of a colleague, brother

Ligaya Rabao-Visaya (The Freeman) - February 7, 2015 - 12:00am

As some linger on pressing national issues, I am also faced with the passing of two people treasured to me. One was extremely sudden, the other was primed.

We were having our API conference in a hotel last January 30-31, 2015. For two days, Jethro "Papu" Estimo was there. My student back in high school and for just a short stint became a colleague in the Arts and Humanities Cluster in UP.  As we ended our gathering, I asked him if he would go to SM for the screening and awarding of the Sinulog Video Documentary and Short Film Festival. As an art patron, he values this undertaking. But he had prior appointment in another place at that time. So I bid him good bye. But my goodbye was just temporary. Without knowing, it was also my last.

It all seemed so unreal. One of the most giving persons I've ever met. A true gentleman. For his friends, he is the true definition of a gentle giant. He was the back bone of the dragons scrum and a true mate on and off the field. It's an honor to have known him. His memory will always live on.

I'll miss you, Jet. And for sure to everyone else whose lives you've touched with your unselfish ways, you'll be missed.

Moonpools and Caterpillars' Heaven aptly said:

When the distance grows and the nights are long/And you're scared at times/and you wonder why/Take care and don't go too far/I will miss your soul/I've looked into the sky a hundred times/And I've seen the stars that shine so bright/I'm sure that one of them is you, my friend…The road back home is shorter than you know.

My brother, Bayani "Tatang" Rabago was in and out of the hospital. He was battling with cancer. On his last stage, we were just hoping for a miracle. Though it was a case that no one would dare to revive as the end is certain, but losing hope is never an option.

Siblings that pass away have special meaning to us. They are often close in age to us and their death may bring to mind our own mortality. Life is no longer taken for granted. Someone from our generation has passed away. If the death is unexpected, there may be loose ends in the relationship that have not been dealt with. It is common that a death of a sibling brings upon a search for meaning. We may ask ourselves if we are accomplishing the goals that we have set for ourselves.

Here's for my brother:

Heaven has called upon you leaving so many words left unspoken. But now it's too late, for your time has come. I am sure everybody has some. Regrets and wishes are probably there too, but lasting forever are memories of you. There have been many times that we disagreed but we were there for each other in time of need. Now it's time for me to say good-bye, until we meet again in heaven to fly.

I miss my brother and I know my whole family does too. He was a loving father. Was he perfect? No. But the good memories when we were young in a struggling family make me realize how wonderful life is with him. He was instrumental for me in defining what self-giving and forgiving is all about. And the real meaning of reconciliation and healing.

His remains will be laid to rest on February 14, 2015, a love day, but my heart will forever beat for him for the memories he has shared.

I am overtaken by scores of daily concerns and by national issues that are of wide impact but there is also a personal happening that creates impact on me. Yes, the passing of a national issue is definite to end. But the passing away of our loved ones leave memories forever.




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