Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An open letter to David Shipper, a good man and a great friend

March 17, 2015 (6:00 PM)

Dearest Dave,

Your sudden death left us grieving and shocked. That was too swift. I know you don’t mean to leave us with so much pain in our hearts as you have always been a good person. Tears keep on falling as I am writing this; not because I know you can’t read this but because I know I have not paid you back with as much happiness and inspiration you have brought into my life. If there is one thing I regret now, that would be that I failed to keep reminding you of going to the doctor and have yourself checked. You loved your work so much, you tend to forget yourself. Now, what’s left in my thoughts are the “what ifs”. When I tell you to go to the doctor, you always say, “Yes, boss. I will do that” or “I do not trust the medical system here, I promise to do so when I go to Manila. Don’t worry.” Remember when I kept asking you about your assistant’s arrival? It’s not just about decreasing your workload, but for you to have the opportunity to fly to Manila and have your check-up sooner. But everything happens for a reason. With the degree of attack you had, there is no guarantee you can still do the things you love to do, and I know you will never like to give those things up. Nevertheless, should there be chances, I still wanted you to be here, and living the life you love so much.

You said, “Don’t worry; I’m keeping you all to myself.” Ah, I remember our agreement to keep our individual lives private. Have we decided to add each other on Facebook, would that made a difference? Had I added Ate Det way earlier and told her about that chest pain, I am sure she would have pushed you to go see a doctor as well. What makes me cry every time I send her a message is the fact that we are talking about you when this is no turning back. That it is too late to do something for you. I am sorry for breaking the promise of making some things private; there is no other way to know what had happened to you, and that is what my conscience can’t accept. Even for the last time ever, I want to know you will be well taken care of. I hope you still tell me, “no big deal”.

It’s funny how we found each other in such an unusual venue, at the perfect time. The way we’ve met was odd, but every thing we have talked about is perfect. Should I be given the choice to meet you or not, I am still choosing this difficult path as I have known a very special person in you. I have never met anyone as bright, successful, influential yet very thoughtful, loving and humble guy as you are. You are everything rolled into one: as I have told you, I admire and respect you a lot. And I am indeed very lucky to have known you though this encounter is short-lived. Maybe, God never allowed us to meet before you pass away to save me from a much greater heartache. Now, I can’t imagine how I can handle this if the opposite had happened. Perhaps it would have been worse than the numbness I felt the moment I found out; felt like heaven was crushed right before my eyes. I had been crying all night, and even until today, at this moment. I know I will have to live looking back at everything we have talked about and share, and with you taking all of them to your resting place. Remember those funny times when we talked about parenting and we laughed at ourselves coz we are actually single? We even talked about how we can change the world in our own little way. Don’t worry, Dave, those parenting ideas we’ve talked about and agreed on will remain the same. I know you could have been a good dad as you told me you will be when given the chance. You said you wanted to have children and raise them as “good people”. That’s how much the world has lost. I remember you telling me during the first suspected heart attack that you worry you could die in your sleep and only to be discovered in the morning. And that attack made you realize it is time for you to find someone you love and build a family before you die. The idea was to also fulfill your mom’s wish of having grandchildren, and we laughed at the idea of her giving you a reward if you can do so. I, of course, recall the lines, “I have a great job and a good life, and I just need a girl to share paradise with”. So, I often teased you with “those girls from there”, and we ended up laughing. I couldn’t sleep last Sunday night, and was uneasy the next day. That was weird as you never failed to send me a message, except last Monday. I cried so much when I heard about the news, so I broke the promise of not adding anyone yet, and I asked Ate Det what exactly happened to you. At least good friends have rushed you to the hospital when you collapsed, not the one you fear to happen: that you are alone, and dead, and cold at home. That’s not going to make any difference, though. You are gone and that is so painful.

Your early morning greetings as I prep to work are one of the things I’m going to miss. The way you encouraged me to look at life from a very positive perspective helped me survived even the toughest day at work. When you have your bad day, I felt special with you sharing those, valuing my words and assuring me you are fine at the end of the day. I will forever keep that in my heart. You have inspired me so much to go for the things I love to do. Thank you for all those words of wisdom. Now I don’t know how to be back at work without you being at the start of challenging days. I guess I will have to imagine the way you say, “Hope you have a great day at work!” I know this is too late, but you ought to know that you are the very person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life, too. I am sure you know that already, didn’t you? We just have to overcome the distance first, and see where it leads. It’s just so sad that fate came in crashing all those wonderful plans, leaving only the thoughts we have shared as foundation of a very deep and special friendship. You are my favorite conversation buddy, always remember that. I also love the way you begin your advice with my name. You always told me I am perfect and would argue if I refuse such. Thank you, David, for appreciating me as I am. Thank you for encouraging me to be a much better version of myself despite the distance. Things might have been more wonderful if destiny allowed us to be together. Your words have been very powerful and those thoughts alone helped me get through a lot of challenges. (You know what I am talking about). The lines, “go out and have fun, accept the things that you can’t change” and “just keep going, you’ll realize you are getting closer to your goal… time will fly so fast” echo on my mind. Thank you for quenching my intellectual curiosity with so much wisdom and willingness. I will miss the literature talks we have! I promise to read the books and watch the movies we’ve talked about.

The love you have for your family, especially for your mom, is overwhelming. I hope that they will also find comfort with you being in a safer place beside our creator. You are too young to leave this life with so many plans left to be fulfilled. You are the person this world needs: just, helpful, loving, honest and so much more. Now that you are gone, all I have are the pictures, and the saved chats to read when I am confused, ecstatic and needing comfort. I will keep all that close to my heart. I once asked God to give me someone like you, and he fulfilled it. Sadly, this ended not the way we both wanted it to be. I appreciate the way you said you admire and respect me, as I also feel the same for you. There is no need to defend yourself, I will say that incessantly. I wanted to tell you again that I deeply admire and respect you, and all those things you said were part of your bad side aren’t enough to outweigh the pure goodness of your heart. I confirmed that now with the things I heard from the people you are close with in Palau.

The last time we chatted, you told me how thankful you are to your parents saying, “Though I must leave, they are supportive and happy for me. I am sad I must be away from them.” I didn’t know you’re really leaving, Dave. When you asked me for my birthday request and I said I wanted to see you, I really mean that. I am thankful I said that, and found out that we both wanted the same thing out of this. I was so happy to know you already had a plan to come over here, and we can finally meet after some time, but fate twisted all these. I didn’t know that was the last goofy chat we have with that “bye” and “have a good weekend” not to be received by me anymore. Have I known that, I would have talked to you the whole day, or “annoy” you the whole weekend. No more “good mornings”, “hey!”, “so how did your weekend go?”, “is today kids’ day of university day?”, “have a good day at work”, “you make me fall in love, strict professor”, “okay that ends my rant for today”, “You are the first person to ever tell me that, so I guess I have been looking for you”,  “I have to go back to work na, ttyl okay?” and so on.  Even to the last few days, I know you wanted me to be happy. With you asking me if it is okay that you will fulfill my birthday request way ahead is already reason enough to be happy. When I say your jokes cracked me up, you would tell me, “Of course, I want to make you laugh always.” Thank you for all that. You are now in God’s hands and we can never compete with that. Maybe you deserve an end to all the human sufferings and live eternally happy from now on. As you have told me, “Jovy, as an older person, you should know that as long as you live, you will never be free from worries”.  I know you are there watching over us. Every time you call me “angel”, I can’t help but laugh, and banter back with “your highness”. Now, it brings me tears as it turns out you will be my angel instead. You have made your mark in the world, so rest now, my dearest.

I am going to miss you, David. I am already missing you terribly. Till we meet again. See you in heaven.

P.S. I will try my very best to be fine soon, Skylark/Blue Hulk/DS. Don’t worry.