I hate early morning calls. I get nervous for some reasons. Last Saturday proved this fear. My only uncle whom I consider like a second father succumbed to heart attack. My mom was hysterical and crying over the phone, they were the closest among three siblings. I was in utter disbelief. We were just facebooking the other day! God knows I have not cried and grieved this much since the passing of my grandpa in 2000. And no matter how we view death as our ultimate destination, nobody will ever be prepared with death from a loved one. Not this sudden. Not this year. Not even next year. He seemed to be in tiptop shape. At 58 years young, his physique can rival any man twenty years his junior.
My uncle’s demise left all of us astounded. I had vivid memories of him being present in every milestone of my life. He didn’t miss birthdays, holiday celebrations, among others. When I was in fourth grade, he was the only thorn among a sea of roses during my girl scout event. My mom couldn’t find a “godmother” for the scout pinning so without hesitation, my uncle took the role, held my hand, and we paraded among the privy eyes of spectators. He consoled me for every heartbreak I had in the past. He didn’t laugh when I told him that I was experiencing some paranormal activities in my grandpa’s house. Instead, he introduced me to Ruth Montgomery’s Strangers Among Us book- at such a tender age of eleven. (He told me I had a gift but I don’t like this whole idea of the other world so I didn’t embrace his psychology). When I reached the age of maturity, I’d joke around and ask him how come he never gave me gifts or money for my birthday or Christmas. He would only smile and hug me so tight.
For the past days, I have been checking my uncle’s Facebook for old pictures, our previous communications, and the like. I am beyond touched with all the heartwarming messages his students wrote in his wall. They have nothing but good words and high respect for him- very intelligent, humorous, down-to-earth professor. Some of them even call him Dad. Slowly, I am beginning to realize that he lived his life to the fullest. He made everyone happy and successful with his untiring support and wisdom. He has a huge heart for everyone. Now I know why he never gave me money or gift when I was young. His love is worth more than millions!
Last night, my mom told me that after she felt my uncle’s presence while she was in a deep state of prayer, we must begin to view his death as a celebration of life. Not that our grief is over. But it’s more of rejoicing the aspect of afterlife. He is finally reunited with my grandparents, and our Creator. No more bills to fret about. No more pain but all- gain.
Goodbye Uncle, my one and only Tito Sonny. I will not see you anymore but you are in my (our) heart forever. Please watch over us, together with Mama and Papa (grandparents), and all the angels who are celebrating to welcome their son’s arrival.