Being the youngest and the only boy in the family, and having been raised in the creative and dance industry, I have dreamt of giving a lot of dramatic speeches since I was young– a speech for when I got accepted in my dream university, another for my valedictory speech once I graduate, and countless of others. Let’s just say that I was a late bloomer and puberty arrived late, I was a very emotional kid, and I made a lot of speeches. But a eulogy was never one of them. Had I known ahead of time, I could have maybe rehearsed for it, made a draft, revised it, practiced it, and made it artsy. But no amount of preparation could ever prepare you for when it actually comes, and I’ve learned that you don’t always get rehearsals.
I lost my uncle last November 2015 through cardiac arrest. He was at a gas station one Monday morning when he had his first and last attack. I guess you can say he passed quietly, and it seemed as if that silence followed him until they reached the hospital where you can hear nothing but the relentless pounding of my mom against his chest in efforts of trying to revive him.
I initially thought it was hard for everybody because it all happened so fast– without warning, he was just gone. But then I realized it wasn’t hard because it happened fast, it was hard because he was gone, period. Had we known along the way of what was to come, it would still hurt the same way. A loss is still a loss, knowledge of the possibility of losing someone will only bring anxiety, not comfort.
Since my uncle’s passing, I haven’t fully discovered how to react to this kind of pain. It is still foreign to me. I will never be used to it, and I don’t think I ever want to. During his wake, I was told to say only good things about him. But being the spoiled, only boy bunso, I decided to do otherwise.
You see, my uncle does this really creepy thing of talking to himself when you’re with him. Soft whispers at times, the rest, out loud. He’d mostly speak gibberish, but sometimes I’d catch familiar words that, in the manner of how he speaks them, still don’t make any sense. I support all kinds of weirdness just as much as the next guy, but that weirdness was just on a whole different level for me.
Another thing is he’s super active on social media, Facebook most especially. It reached a point where I had to block him from all my posts because he’d end up talking about them over family dinner. You know those awkward dinner scenes you see a lot in the movies, that would be a normal night in the dining room if he was around–and okay, yeah, I guess you can say I was a little over too dramatic growing up.
Hypertension runs in the family, but really, I think everyone just got it from him. He was the epitome of ‘high blood’, a walking, living (then) ball of tension and pent up emotion. He’d tell you a story of this one time when he got really, really bad service at a restaurant, and the next thing you know he’d be shouting at everyone, convincing them to never eat there ever again. It drove me crazy every time he had a ‘story’ to tell and I swore to myself that I will never be the same.
But even then, I already knew that when it comes to family, it’s okay to be a little mad, it’s okay to be a little crazy, it’s okay to get on each other’s nerves. Because family will always be the one and only thing that can take the blow and still overcome it. These are the people biologically programmed to take the hit and not feel bad about it, even if they wanted to, they can’t. Those side bumps will always be the little thorns in the rose that make it all the more beautiful.
Life is full of a lot of wonderful surprises that can sometimes take our breath away. It is also filled with tragedies that can sometimes come dressed as a beautiful Monday morning. The scariest ones are those that come with no warning, like 6am frantic phone calls in the middle of your busy morning commute. It’s sometimes easy to forget these pains exist, and a heart attack is a cruel and terrible wake up call. Life is short, and nobody should ever be reminded this way.