Category: Friends


To Chubby, my dear friend

Today is my dear friend’s birthday. Two years ago, I already blogged about her in my Multiply account when she was hospitalized for her ovarian cyst. I doubt if she will be able to read this blog, but I just want to make an entry as homage for her.

Our friendship was hatched when we were in high school. It was a funny start, believe me. But really, our friendship lasts up to this day because it is fun-filled most days. Don’t take me wrong though, we are there for each other in times of crisis or problems, it’s just that we like to laugh a lot together. If I’m not mistaken, it has been 15 years of friendship.

She was with me through it all. She helped me through the Bar exams and prayed with me through the results. She was with me in every novena I made, which took us as far as Manaoag, Pangasinan. When it was her turn to take the exam, I’d like to think I was there for her just the same.

We used to be together everyday. We used to see each other more often than I’d see my Mom. And we hardly kept secrets from each other.

Since I got married, we started seeing each other less although we would still talk everyday. However, the distance between us grew more when hubby and I moved to our current place. Chubby, as I still call her (her new friends call her Jaby) started working so we had lesser time to see or just talk.

Yesterday, she opened up to me again. And it felt nice. Not because I felt needed by her but because I felt that she trusted me still. And to me, that is very important.

I miss our everyday talk. I miss being with her and just laughing like there’s no tomorrow. I miss haggling in Divisoria with her. I miss the times we used to spend together. We used to just talk for hours, watch movies and eat non-stop, and we never get tired of just talking. We never ran out of stories to tell each other. Days never seemed to end.

We were happy just by simply eating squid balls and sharing over a cup of gulaman. We drooled together over signature clothes and hoped that one day we can shop to the max together. We were together when days were simple. And now that things are more complicated, I’d like to think we are still each other’s best friend.

I don’t recall a day that we fought. Maybe if she didn’t like anything I said or did, she just kept distance. Same with me. When I find something she did weird, I’d just let her be. We were always like that. And I badly miss everything about the two of us.

I know the friendship is still there. I guarantee that it is one of the things in this world that will never perish. I just hope that I can spend more time again with her. Life seems to be easier with her around. I hope Ira can grow seeing her more often.

And today, I still have the most fervent wishes for her. I wish she can be happier than she already is. I wish that no pain will derail her days. I wish she can just laugh nonchalantly, not minding tomorrow. I wish that she will find the path she has been looking for, and I wish I will be there with her  when she finds it.

To Chubby, Happy Birthday my friend. Days are not the same without you around. You are one of the greatest gifts God has given me. I hope you know that I am always, always here for you.

Love you much Chubs, and my heart breaks for missing you. Mwah!

Chubby in her last visit to my office. 🙂

The first thing I do upon waking up, aside from thanking God for another waking day, is check my cellular phone for time and for new messages, if any. This morning was not any different, except for the first message I saw. It was a text message from a good friend and colleague, Atty. Inocencio Vivero, Jr. It was a message informing family and friends that his eldest daughter, Lianne, passed away this morning.

I sat up immediately to check if I was reading it correctly. I told Ryan about the news and he was likewise surprised. He checked his phone and had the same message from Ino. I sighed heavily and almost cried on my knees.

Lianne looked as healthy as any bouncy girl. She was just eight years old, if I’m not mistaken. She was plump and always smiling. I was not really her godmother but she always treated me like one.

As of this time, I really do not know the immediate cause of her death. All I knew is that her Leukemia had relapsed recently. We were supposed to see each other in a birthday party of a friend’s son but it coincided with Lianne’s check-up. Days after, Ino informed us that the Leukemia had relapsed. I did not specifically know that she was confined in the hospital for the last weeks or so had I not seen in his Facebook account. I have been telling Ryan yesterday that if she is still in the hospital in the weekend, then we’ll go see her.

Ino was my classmate in college but we went to different law schools. I can say that we were really never friends before but when we worked together for the Elections last 2007, we bonded so well that we became good friends. I even got him as Ira’s godfather.

We started working together September of 2006. It was around that time when Lianne was diagnosed with Leukemia. I always admired how his wife, Sheba, took care of their children, being a stay-at-home mom. The day we found out the possibility of her illness, I went to San Juan de Dios Hospital and accompanied Ino and Sheba. I was not yet a mother then but I already felt their pain. They appreciated the fact that I was there because they did not know what to do. Came then the successive cycles of chemotherapy and the continuous medications. Everything was doing well for Lianne. Personally, I included her in every novena I had. I always commiserated with them because for a very young couple, it was a very burdensome test from God.

But they did no flinch. They knew Lianne could survive the Big C.

Lianne, on her part, showed more courage that a 6-year-old child may hardly have. It was difficult for all the needles that came through her skin but she never complained. I have seen other children confined in a hospital and they are either hysterically crying all the time or just plain grumpy. But not Lianne. She was as pacified as she can be. Whenever she got scared because tests will be made on her, she would quietly shed tears. When blood came out of her nose, my friend Chubby and I instantly cried. Sheba jokingly said that there is a no crying policy in the hospital. Their battle for Lianne lasted for more than three years and they mightily survived.

July last year, Lianne was pronounced to have zero cancer cells. It was a very joyous thing for Ino’s entire family. I was one of the many friends who shared with their joy.  I even remember Ino blogging seriously about it. They even visited our home late December last year and I cooked dinner for them. They liked the Nachos I prepared and gobbled on fries while playing Wii with her sister Daphne and brother Joaqs.

But just this March, the doctor of Lianne said the Leukemia relapsed. I knew so well that Lianne could surpass this one as much as she did the last time. I always admired the little girl’s strength. But I was wrong. Maybe she was tired. And maybe, she did not want to further subject her family to more agony.

I cannot, for the life of me, begin to imagine the pain of Ino and Sheba. I am a mother now and I understand, more or less, all the pains that come with being a parent. I cannot even blink my eyes to even try imagining how they feel right now. I will not wish such pain on anyone. But I know they will come through this. This I have learned in my regular visits to Noemi Dado’s blog.

Lianne’s death came just in time for the Holy Week when we need to mull over things and re-assess our lives. All deaths leave us a lesson that time is fleeting and that we have to seize each moment. I am glad, somehow, that Lianne’s entire family was able to pamper her for the last two years or so. Maybe thats the goodness of knowing someone is ill, it gives you a chance to savor each day with them.

I am hoping though that we will all learn to pamper our loved ones, in a way that we will feel its enough (although it will never be enough) so that when the end inevitably comes, we will be assured that we have made them feel our love.

When I asked Ino if they need any help with anything, his reply to me was:

“Magkita kita lang tayong masaya sa harap ni lianne, ok na yun mare.”

I almost cried with his reply. Cliche’ aside,I am sure Lianne is happy now.  She was a very good girl and accepted her plight with the maturity that none of us may have.

I remember Lianne’s reply when Ino and Sheba told her that she may lose her hair because of the chemotherapy. She said and I quote (not verbatim):

“Magsusuot na lang ako ng hat. Bilhan nyo na lang ako ng hat.”

I was deeply touched by her acceptance. Lianne’s hair grew back just fine, it even became beautifully curly, like that of a doll.

I will no longer see her shy smile.  Ino will no longer share stories about her daughter’s battle with Leukemia. He will no longer ask for prayers for Lianne’s recovery. I will always look for her unassuming eyes. After she gives me a kiss on the cheek, she will always just answer shyly to my questions. I have always admired Lianne’s good heart. Her kindness never failed to light up a dim room. It always reverberated to touch my heart. For the few years that I have come to know her, I have learned from her a lot about loving, giving and fighting.

Being a mother myself, I know how difficult it is to go through the days knowing that your very precious child has passed away. As they all say, no parent should bury his own child. Just thinking about it brings throngs of pain to my heart. And I will not even attempt to tell Ino nor Sheba that things will be okay. I will just let them be and let them grieve for I am certain that their pain is beyond words.

Grieving is the process they have to go through and much as I try to, I will not wholly understand the process. All I can do is to pray with them. And I will do that for them until their hearts are completely healed.

I cannot deny though that it is saddening that the world lost another good soul. But I know inasmuch as Ino and Sheba know, that Lianne is now healed and happier.

We will all see her up there…someday. 🙂