I always turned down meetings and seminars abroad because I don’t want to leave Ferj but my boss insisted me to attend the Business Summit because it was an opportunity for me to hone my craft. And I don’t know how to ask approval from Ferj and his family. My leaving for Singapore not only makes me sick but also makes me paranoid. I have many “what-ifs” in my mind that if only I have a choice I will never attend that Business Summit. On my way home, I ask the probable alibi I can in order not to let Ferj worry about me and will take his medications seriously without any things that will bother him.
I prepared my luggage bag for my business trip and bring Yuan to my buddy Nina for I’ll be not around for three days. At least he will be safe there. Then, I drive to hospital to inform Ferj that I’ll be leaving for a next day.
I used the stairs instead in order to practice my alibi not to stammer or to cry in front of him. I hold my emotions and make it sound realistic and prepare some crazy jokes to appease him. After three knock, I push my way in and he was there sitting at his hospital bed, watching some photographs with a headphone. (So that’s the reason why he never hears my knock). I just stare at him, memorizing his face, his thinly body and the apparatus all over him. If only I have something to do make him feel better. He moved and shocked when he saw me.
“How long are you there, dear? I’m sorry I never heard you knock.”
“No, it’s ok… Ah… I just arrive.”
“ I see. How’s your day” as he wrapped his arm around my waist.
“Good. How about you?”
“I have my vaccine at around two o’clock and guess where it was planted?” And wink me as if saying ‘you would not believe it’
“Hmm, it was usual to have vaccine on the arm, or on the leg or on the…butt?” and give him a sly look. “Don’t tell me, it was a pretty, young nurse apprentice did it?”
“Ha, you bet!” And his laughter filled the room. His body weakens but still his spirits is the same. Still a jubilant man I ever know through the years!
“Aha. That’s the reason you did not even hear my knock, mister? You’re still mesmerized, huh?” I rolled my eyes as if disappointed.
“Oh, don’t be like that. I’m a one-woman man, remember? I’ve been spellbound since I see you on that school uniform, no make-up, no lip balm and…
“Totally unglamorous” we said in chorus, and laugh on that day where we first introduced by Tita Jacques.
“So what happened after the injection moment?”
“ I just lie back because it hurts like hell. It makes me tremble in pain. And after I regain my strength I sit down, browse our pictures and smile on the thought it brings, and listens to this… And put the headphone on my left ear. The beat for me is melancholic and the lyrics put me into tears as he managed to sing a few lines.
“ …all through your life, I’ll be by your side, till death do us part…Baby I’ll be your friend, my love will never end, till death do us part.”
“I just ran some random music, and I listen to White Lion and this song struck me. It was a perfect song for us, isn’t it?” as he turned to me, seeing me into tears. He wiped my tears, and hugs me. I just sobbed over his shoulders. I can’t hold the tears any more.
“I just thought, maybe, maybe if I can’t carry the ordeal anymore, I can still promise that I love you till death do us part. Always remember that.”
“Don’t say that. See, you’re vital signs show some improvement and let’s continue to pray for your health. Just be strong. You told me that in every success, in every happy ending, there’s always a giving-up moment. So please, please, don’t ever give up, not only for me, but for us.”
“You’re the top reason why I fight, you know that. But sometimes, in God’s time, it’s hard but we let Him do the great things in favor for all.”
Ok. I know. Let’s change topic, I haven’t bring my Kleenex” and force to smile. “By the way, you remember Tim, my former roommate, my God she got married and guess what it’s in Singapore, and I can’t say no to her, besides I am her bridesmaid. I don’t want to leave you, but you’ll behave aren’t you?”
“Of course. Behave is my last name, remember?” I’ll be fine, Mom and Dad are here, Suzan, Abbey and Lian, so there’s no room for worry. Ok?” as he brushed my lips for approval.
“Ok. Thanks dear. I’ll be back soon. Wait for me, ok? I love you.”
“Oh,I love you , my peculiar, spoiled ,bratty wife.” As he try to wrestle me as I ended laughing on the hospital floor.
“You cruel, handsome, wizard, go to sleep or I’ll make you a crooked frog!”
“I prefer to be a crooked frog but please kiss me so I’ll be gallant prince charming.”
And I just bend to him and happy to oblige to my prince requests.
I fly to Singapore the next day but called Ferj parents first about the alibi and my three days Business Seminar. I request them and let them promise that I’ll be calling and asks for some information how Ferj doing and they promised back. Every time I have a chance, I called anybody assigned at him and confirm if he’s ok. And try to call Ferj every chance I get. On my second night, I called his phone and Suzan answered the phone.
“Hello, Suzan. How’s your Kuya?”
“Uhmm.. Ate, he’s , he’s, he was transferred to recovery room. He undergoes dialysis this morning but he was fine. Don’t worry, he still a fighter. Once he wakes up, I’ll inform him, you call.”
“Ok, Thanks Suzan.” I can sense something bad is up. Suzan voice is trembling and she is unsure of what she’s saying. I already confirmed that Ferj is in worse situation and I hurriedly pack my things so I will proceed to airport from the seminar venue the next day.
December 7, 2012
I arrived at the airport thirty minutes late from estimated time of arrival because of dark clouds and rain. From the airport, I drop my baggage at home, change my clothes and headed to hospital. On my way, I called Ferj phone and Tita Beth answers it. She instructed me that Ferj is in ICU so I speeded the car and run towards ICU. And there on his hospital bed, a pale Ferj welcomes me. Eyes closed, oxygen mask supports him and family who surrounded him. His parents embraced me and told that Ferj was rushed to ICU a night before because his vital signs dropped. Only the life support makes him breathe and they urge me to talk to him. Maybe, they said, he just waits for me.
“Dear, I’m here. Please open your eyes. I’ll promise not to leave you anymore. I’m sorry for I lied. I thought it’s the only way to lessen and not to worry about me.” I hold his hands and kissed him. I love you.”
No sign. The room is quite. I continued, “I know this would be difficult for me, for us, but if it’s time, as you’ve said, God’s time I entrusting you to Him for you not to suffer, not to experience pain and let enjoy the bliss.” Just go home to Jesus.” as I sobbed and clasped his hands and kissed him. And I feel his strong grip. I responded on his grip, he slowly opens his eyes, smiles each one of us, mouthed his last “I love you’s” and slowly welcomes heaven.
A week after Ferj died, we bring him to his last resting place. Before the final blessings, I ask permission to Ferj parents that I have something to say, as I put in— Ferj special request. Yes, his eulogy:
“Today, someone who is a dear to us left and be our angel. We’re like a shepherd who lost his favorite sheep, but as we bind as one, slowly we can overcome this tormenting part and let this ordeal pass. I know this would be very difficult but this is what Ferj wants us to be.
Ferj request this to me on his first few months at the hospital and I never said yes that time, but here I am fulfilling his requests. I don’t know how to say this, but allow me to tell who’s Ferj San Enrique in my life… Ferj was introduced to me during my senior year in college…”
As I about to finish my eulogy, I sang our favorite song, in between sobs.
“ …all through your life, I’ll be by your side, till death do us part…Baby I’ll be your friend, my love will never end, till death do us part.
The clouds cover the sky as we laid Ferj on his last resting place. His family and mine was last to leave. The crucial part of losing and moving on just begins.
December 24, 2012
Christmas time and I visited Ferj on his place. I bring him some flowers and his Christmas gift. I sit beside him and tell my Christmas wishes and my plans at midnight. I tell him that I’ll be cooking lasagna according to his recipes and Yuan receive his bone-shaped cookie courtesy of Tiffany’s Bakeshop. I told him…
“You know what dear, Tita Jacques visited me last week and she said how terribly he misses you. She joked about how you looked the first time you two met…but she emphasized that you looked different when your eyes locked over me. And I feel so proud I have you. And that makes me misses you more!”
I stayed a few hours talking to him and I was about to leave, when his family arrive.
“Merry Christmas Fia”
“Merry Christmas Tita, Tito, Suzan” as I hug and kissed them.
“By the way, I have something to give you, aside from our Christmas gifts; it was Ferj gift to you. Wait I’ll get it to the car.” Tito Jerry offered.
“Thanks Tito. I was about to leave, so I think, I’ll come with you instead.”
So I left them and Tito Jerry handed me the box beautifully wrapped with a note. It was Ferj own handwriting. As I closed my car door, I opened Ferj gift to me—it’s a ring! The letter reads,
I know that if you read this letter, I’m already in heaven with a wings and a halo sending you a “Merry Christmas!”
I know this will be hard for us, but try to have life. I’m always here for you, guiding and will watch over you. Always remember I love you. My leaving will be painful, but just feel my love from here…
By the way, take care of this gift, God was excited to see me, so I never had a chance to personally put it in your finger, called me selfish now but… “Will you marry me?” (You still have the options to say No, honey)
But if time comes, you will meet someone, and ready to be with him, you still have my blessings. I’ll sign the papers straight from heaven. Kidding!
Always take care. Take care Yuan too. I miss you both.
I love you,
I slowly folded the letter as I wipe my tears. The sky was covered with nimbus clouds, and I know rain will sure to pour. I glance Ferj’s eternity home,put the ring on and started the engine towards home.
Authors’ Note: Believe it or not, Nessy herself cried over this story. Maybe she can relate on something? (wink)