The death of people who are close to you is always hard. But when it happens so suddenly, without you knowing anything surrounding the incident, it becomes devastating.
I just went through one of the worst weekends in my life. It was Friday night when I received an e-mail from someone I don't know who told me, my friend, of 6 years, John, had passed away. He offered very little information about what happened. I suspect it's because he didn't know much either. The only thing that I was told is on 25th of September, John was admitted to the hospital and Daniel, that friend who sent me the e-mail, last communicated with him on Oct. 9. On Friday, Daniel sent him an SMS and got a reply from someone named Cha, who told him John had passed away.
I racked my brain trying to remember my last contact with John. Then I remembered. It was either Sept 23 or 24. About a month before that, he told me he got really really sick but he went to the doctor and got tested. He was diagnosed with TB and pneumonia, but he told me he was on medication, and he said he'll be okay. 'I'll live' was his exact words. Then he seemed to be getting better. We chatted again like usual almost everyday.
On that day, the 23rd or 24th of September, I was sick and Aluf's nanny was on leave. Between taking care of the house, Aluf and trying to get some work done, I was really having a hard time focusing on what he said. But I remember him telling me that he still felt weak most of the time. That's all I remember. Then he excused himself because he needed to lie down.
I don't remember whether I saw him online again after that. I don't think I did. But I still can't be sure because so many things happened within those few weeks.
Then something made me think of him. I don't remember what exactly, perhaps after I finished the second season of our favorite show, In Treatment, and I was eager to talk about it with him, like we did on so many occasions. But it hit me. I haven't seen him online for a long time and he hasn't said hello to me in a while. For the past 6 years, we chatted online almost everyday even though he lives in Cebu and I live here. He never disappeared this long before and he always let me know what he did or where he went. I got really scared so I sent him a short e-mail asking how he was.
I sent an offline message.
In my guts, I knew. I knew that something really terrible had happened. Something I've been afraid would happen for the past 6 years. But it still didn't prepare me for how I felt when I received Daniel's e-mail.
I was shocked then confused then sad then angry then guilty and back to sad again. What happened? Didn't he get better? When exactly did he die? Was anyone with him? Where is he going to be buried? I tried asking these questions to Daniel but he didn't reply to my e-mail. I had no idea what else to do because I know absolutely noone there. Nor do I know his friends or family. I felt so hopeless. Also angry at myself for not noticing sooner that he wasn't there. I felt like such a terrible friend. I still do.
I was so grief-stricken that Saturday was a blur to me. The only thing holding me back from crying all day and all night was my daughter. I lost all my appetite that my husband has to repeatedly remind me to eat something. I replayed the past one month in my head over and over again, trying to make any sense out of it. Did he see it coming? Was he trying to tell me something but I was too self-absorbed to notice? If he could still be contacted by Daniel on Oct 9, why didn't he try to contact me? What's worse is, I lost all records of my messages with him on Yahoo Messenger. 6 years of chatting online and there is no history saved at all. I'm still too upset to explain what happened. But it just made my pain worse. And I was so frustrated to not know what really happened. I didn't even know when exactly he passed away. I e-mailed Daniel again but again, he didn't reply.
Today, some information came out. Apparently Daniel received a lot of questions regarding John's death, his funeral and what happened during his last days, that he decided to post it on a webpage so he could update everyone on any info at once. This page used to be John's blog. From the page, I learned that someone else, another friend of his, made a contact with him on Wednesday but I don't know where John was at that time and what he said. And I finally know this: he passed away on Friday. There is some other information which broke my heart all over again. All this new information is enough to keep me from going crazy today but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I used to ask a lot of questions to John; from English grammars to his opinion of President Obama. He never failed to provide me with answers, he was always happy to do it. But now, I can't even ask him the most important question that only he could answer. Where did he go?
Daniel also set up an eulogy in that page so everyone who knows John could leave some kind words about him. Some have posted their thoughts. I can only stare at the words, unable to write anything.
An eulogy seems so final. I am not ready to say goodbye yet.
I want another chance to talk to him. There are so many things I haven't said to him. How thankful I am that he's been here all this time for me. How sorry I am for not being a better friend. How I will remember him always. How sorry I am that he never got to meet Aluf in person. I want him to know how much he means to me. How much his words have changed me and helped me to become who I am today. How often I thought about him even though I wasn't always available to chat or reply to his e-mails. How highly I regard his opinion on things. How much I listen to him, perhaps more than I listen to my own father. How much I will miss him. I will miss him terribly my heart aches every time I think about it.
I'm so afraid he died without knowing any of this. Sept 23 or 24, all those rubbish I said about me being sick and not responding properly about what he said or said anything meaningful..that can't be the last time we said anything to each other. That can't be.