When I heard that Lolo was gone, I kept silent and did not mention that I did not believe it. At the back of mind, perhaps, I was thinking that maybe all we needed to do was hold his hand again, or sing him another song and he’d come back to us again with another smile.
That did not happen and still I could not believe that he was gone. This was because I felt it unfair for him to go when we were just starting to get to know him. In fact, when we were choosing pictures for his memorial I felt quite envious of everyone else. Of cousins who got to spend time with him, hear his stories first hand, of cousins whose names he actually called and remembered.
But with what little time I had spent with him, I am thankful for he has given me an understanding of life, of a human condition that one gets not in the books but only through association, and relation with others: it is in the weakest state where one shows the most strength.
For someone like me who flinches at the sight of blood, it was painful to see lolo undergo all the medical tests and procedures, but lolo endured and fought because life was always more important to him. I realized that this shouldn’t be surprising for a man who fought wars if only others get to experience peace. You were the bravest man I’ve known lolo, and I will miss you.
I will miss seeing him go up and smile at me at night, as I study, I will miss singing to him at night after work, as he goes to sleep, I will miss holding his hand, I will miss seeing him smile and laugh as others did and make jokes even in pain, and always offering others to join him as he eats. I will miss bragging about my Veteran war – hero lolo, my handsome lolo, my swimmer-lolo, my gentle lolo, to my friends. But I will remember lolo. When people talk about bravery, I will think of him. When people speak of fatherhood, I will remember him. I understand what people mean by “gentleness” because I met him. And as I read and hear stories about heroism, I will be ready with a story of my own.
Lolo once told me how lucky he felt, having so many loving children and people around him. I should have told you then, lolo, that we were the lucky ones – for not everyone gets to live amidst a hero. Thank you very much lolo, I love you and I will miss you.