July 16, 2008

A good man

I lost a friend today. It hurts because I didn't have enough guts to visit him when he was sick, and in the hospital. At the back of my mind, I was hopeful that he would still get well. And the last time I spoke with his wife, just last week, she said he was always thinking of food. I told her to tell him that he better get well and I will cook him sinigang, one of the dishes he wanted to eat.

I prayed and prayed that God would spare him again. I said his family still needed him, and I wanted to see him up and about, and fully recovered. But he passed away this morning, after putting up a brave fight with his illness. I know he wanted to stay because of his family and the many things he still could have done. I will always remember him as a sweet, caring person, with a joke or another amusing anecdote to make kwento about himself, his family, even our favorite president. His zest for life was just so infectious.

I never thought we would actually be good friends because he breathed a more rarified air than what I am used to. But just like that, he took me in like family (which is why I called him Dad sometimes). Pangs and I would usually join their family to watch a movie, get together for dinner, or go to their beach house and just spend a nice weekend lounging by the pool. I will always remember him with either a glass of red wine in hand, or smoking like a chimney, and by the time I would wake up, he would be done reading with the newspapers, then I would join him and his wife discussing the dastardly news of the day.

He had such a kind heart. I remember that when I had resigned from a job, and he heard another version of what happened from a cruel and corrupt lawyer I had a run in with, he and his best friend took me and Pangs out dinner. He was very concerned about what I would do next. While the night began on a somber note, by the end of it, we were all drinking, laughing and dancing. He didn't like the people around him to be sad, so he would always try to be upbeat.

At his wake, photos of him, his family, and friends were projected on the screen as we heard Mass in the chapel. It was riveting, all those photos. He was just smiling in all of them! It was a celebration of his life and how much he enjoyed it. I shall miss Iñaki, and am sad that he is now gone, but after seeing those photos of him, I'm so thankful that he became a part of my life. He was such a good man.

Ana, my prayers are with you and the whole family. Big hug.

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