To a dear friend

How does one cope with grief? My inability to define the relationship of Marc and Don, my inability to imagine the kind of sorrow that encompasses almost an entire lifetime lets me view this in a distant light. I look at my husband and I can only guess the depth of his sorrow. How does one find himself entwined with another person who is not your sibling but who was molded into one? How often do you find people who go through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and professional life together? Don has been with Marc in San Pablo Central Elementary School, Philippine High School for the Arts, University of the Philippines, Diliman and would you believe until grad school? Before Don’s demise, he was Marc’s co-teacher at PHSA. Before teaching, they engaged in countless projects, projects that carried them to places like Greece and Scotland. They were born in the same town (San Pablo) and has been living in the same city (Mandaluyong) for the past decade. How does one define a relationship like that? I have left the important details, the in-betweens that, I am afraid, are all too personal and heartbreaking to recall.

The night before your stroke, there was a brown moth in our room. The next morning, we learned that you were in a comatose. That night, the brown moth was still hovering in our room. When Marc arrived from the hospital, it was my first time to see him in great emotional pain. A few minutes after Marc slept, the dogs were barking like crazy and I could not ignore them. Last night, I realized that the brown moth has left our room. Was that you, Don? If it was, thank you. Thank you for the decades that you shared with Marc. Thank you for visiting your friend, amidst your struggle between life and death, you still managed to find a way to say goodbye. I don’t know how Marc remains resilient despite this tragic, tragic event. I just know and I just want to believe that it was you all along, helping my Marc cope. I believe that Marc has learned your personality by heart and knows you far too well and this is why he’s dealing with this tribulation well. It is your voice, your sagacity that he relives and that gives him enough courage to handle the fact that this time, you had to go ahead. 

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