A little past midnight today, I received a simultaneous text and chat message from my cousin and my mom informing the family in Manila that Tito Peping, the patriarch of the Estanislao-Edquiban clan passed at 10:36am January 6, 2011 Chicago time. He was diagnosed with liver cancer about 4 days before Christmas and after several tests and biopsies, the doctors have concurred that the cancer has already spread to his liver, lungs, pancreas, bone marrow and esophagus. He was initially given 3 months to live, but after some more tests and a couple of blood transfusions, the prognosis went down to 3 weeks, then finally to a week. Apparently his internal organs are starting to shut down one by one. He will be flown home to manila for the the wake and burial and family will be flying home. LIfe is really, really unpredictable and it makes me wonder why the Lord chose to get him ahead of everyone else I know. Sometimes i cannot help but cry in jest and ask God, why him, Lord, why not this other person I know who know nothing but cause mayhem. But, who am I to question the Lord’s judgement. Maybe the merciful God is still hoping that this other person can still change so he keeps on giving him chances; a second and even a third life. I just hope that this time around, the change will be for real 🙂
On a different note:
Today I would like to honor and thank one person who made such a tremendous difference in my life. Much of what I am right now is because of him. In a way, he has fueled me for so long, long after he has gone and even in his absence his influence and effect in my life stayed. He actually is one of the driving forces in my life and if it were not for him and the things that he did, I would not be here. I believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now and I could not have made my way here, if he did not break my heart. Today, I thank the Lord for the day you were born. I am grateful that you broke my heart for it opened my eyes to a lot of other possibilities in the world. You taught me a lot of things that I could not have learned in school. You were my best friend and from you I learned about selflessness and how to always think of other people before I do something. I was not aware of the things I did and you pointed these out to me like the simplest thing of stopping abruptly when I am walking in the mall or hanging by the steps to the elevator. You were the one who made me aware that I was doing that and made me realize how bothered people can get with that. Up until now, I have become very conscious of these things. I used to say anything that pops into my head. I do not mean to hurt people with what I say, rather, these are nothing but innocent musings and honest questions. You were the one who told me to always go over things in my head first before popping questions left and right and sharing my thoughts so publicly. While, I am trying to be conscious about these, there are times that I forget and the real me takes over. You were the one who opened my eyes to the reality of the disparity between faiths and religions. The naive me used to believe that we are all the same in the eyes of God and we only praised one God. But it was you who taught me just how big the differences are in faith and beliefs EVEN in the same denominations. The day you broke my heart, you taught me how to hold on to my faith like an anchor in a storm. Faith was the only thing I could hold on to when the rest of my world came crumbling down into darkness. You taught me how to read the Bible and to really take the Word of God to heart. You made me realize that that aspect of my life is terribly malnourished and it was ironic that for me to be made whole by the Lord, I needed to be broken first by a mere man. You were the one who taught me to be strong and to be self-reliant when you left me without so much an explanation. For so many years I have relied on you and I have gotten used to having you around, the sudden change shook me to the core, but seeing that I had only myself to rely on, I rose from the ashes and that made me a better person. You taught me how to get up after a fall, and you were the one who taught me the very difficult lesson of letting go. After everything that I’ve been through, every splinter in heart that you have planted has helped me to emerge stronger. To save your love, I even considered that the thought of turning my back on my family just to be with you. But, God saved me from that terrible mistake and he helped me realize that no man is ever worth that kind of aggravation. With your help, I learned to respect and love myself a little bit more and realized that I deserve to be treated better. It was you who made me realize the value of family and I’ve grown closer to them more than ever. While it is true that it is because of your doing that I have experienced the worst and most evil anger in my entire life, it is also through you that I have learned the value of forgiveness. I was not an easy task for me to forgive someone who never asked for it, it took me years to let of every blemish in my heart and after six years, I cannot even say that I am finally whole once more. There are some aspects of me that are still broken but, I am getting better each day. Thank you for teaching me how to forgive, not just you, but myself too and one other stranger.
If you didn’t break my heart, I would not have found solace in good friends, music and in God and you did just that, you drove me away but you drove me to a better and bolder direction that I have learned to embrace. If I had been whole all the time, I would not have discovered the joy of ministry work and serving God and his Church. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have even questioned my faith and learned to appreciate it. I would not have grown in the love of Christ, nor would I actively search for answers to the questions in my heart. Because of you, I have now embraced the living Catholic faith with more understanding and hope for growth. I enjoy discovering something new about God everyday. If it weren’t for you, I would not have started this walk with God and I would not have this chance to serve him. It is because of you that a new purpose was born. It is because of you, that Musica Chiesa has served God and His Church for 5 years now. It is because of you that I have realized that I have a greater purpose in this world. I do not exist to please you. I exist, I was born to please and love the Lord and to serve him with the gifts that He has given me. Thank you, thank you for helping me to realize what I am here for.
And so without any hint of sarcasm, irony, loathing or hatred, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. Our paths have crossed for reasons that the Lord has planned long before both of us were born. Though we have now taken different roads, the road that I took without you led me right where I’m supposed to be, beside Christ, my Lord and Savior. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to soar and I would not have seen the world with my own eyes. Know that in this corner of the world, someone is grateful that you were born. 🙂