Losing a loved one

Now I know that when you’ve lost a loved one, you don’t have to force yourself to cry instantly. At some point, you just have to wait for the tears to arrive like an expected visitor that now comes very much often.

When I first heard about Ate Riza’s passing, I was in an island in the northernmost part of Cebu. Somehow, it no longer came as a surprise but a certain kind of feeling crept into me that made me shiver all over. I wanted someone to embrace me so I could feel some warmth. It didn’t take too long for me to realize I was alone.

It was a hard fought battle against cancer. I knew it’s going to kill her but it didn’t stop me to wait for a miracle that could possibly save her. I have kept that wish inside my heart until her last breath. Now I know that when a person is suffering from an illness, she does not fight alone. She fights together with all the people who love her. When she’s hurt, everyone’s also hurt. And when she lost the battle, everyone lose as well. I sure felt I lost it. I was crashed.

It’s been a month since she went but she’s still very much alive in my heart. I still remember everything about her and how she’s one of the reasons why I’m still a reporter now. Three years ago, I tried to see the world through her eyes. There was comfort in them, something relaxing, something that tells me to take things easily, that there are so many other things to think about than get past other people in the race, that there is life outside work and we must all enjoy it. When I have so much doubt in things, she will be there to put some light in them. She was my ray of sunshine in the otherwise hazy, cutthroat little universe I belong to.

Until now, I’m still trying to figure out how to carry on without her. It sounds overly dramatic but when I think about my dreams, she’s always one of the first people that pops up in my mind. The amount of support she poured into my wild dreams was equally wild. Sometimes, she even believes in them more than I do.

There were also times when we actually shared the same dreams. It gave me so much joy knowing our friendship is indeed for keeps. Late last year, we talked about building a laundry empire with friends. We will start with one branch in Makati, strategically locate it near a potential commercial client like a spa house, and would charge premium rates so customers would feel comfortable about the quality of our service. She wanted to name it Shiny Bubbles but I want something else. Now that I think about it, maybe I’d let her decide with the name… on condition that she lives.

Then there’s this plan to co-manage a farm. I’ve always been wanting to go into farming it’s just that my knowledge about it is not as broad as Ate Riza’s. She then offered to help me out. I didn’t have to force myself to believe in her because whatever she says, for some reasons, would just always give me comfort… that nothing is ever impossible to handle.

You see, even before, I knew that my future is so much better with her in it just the way my life was better with her still in it. I found out that when an important person in your life is suddenly gone for good, there’d be some sort of a panic that will make your bones tremble. It’s so hard to start over, to filter your dreams, adjust them further to reality, to remove some important aspects in them because they are no longer there.

I will surely miss Ate Riza, her loud laughs, her endless stories, and the comfort in her presence that everytime I see her, I’d feel everything is going to be okay. I wish I also have that effect on people but Zai To is Zai To and she does that effortlessly. I hope that one of these days, I’d see her in my dreams to tell me that everything is indeed going to be okay, that she’s already happy wherever she is, to tap my back and remind me I have so many things to do so I can’t stay idle. I know she’s going to be there no matter what. She can no longer be present physically but her memory will last forever.


*photo taken a few months ago