Last year, around this time, we were at the Emergency Room of the Rizal Medical Center, perhaps, praying the hardest we ever did and crying our hearts out to the Lord.
I recall at around 12:00 AM of this day last year, I saw Daddy alive for the very last time after arriving home from a YFL Campus meeting. I actually intended to go home at 1:00 AM since Jo-i and I planned to drop by Malayan for an ocular for our campus party. But at around 11:00 PM, my brother texted me where I was. He said Daddy was looking for me asking me where I was. I didn’t know why but I suddenly changed plans and just went home instead. I thank the Lord for that time I went home.
It was the very last time I saw him alive. I actually regret not talking to him during that night I went home. I just saw him at our chapel and he was very peaceful praying and staring at the cross of our chapel after mom has fallen asleep with him after their Wednesday novena. It never glanced into my mind that he was actually preparing himself to see the Lord. I didn’t know what was Daddy thinking during that time. Perhaps, he was already bidding farewell, thanking the Lord for all the good things He has done in his life. If only I knew what was going to happen next, I have embraced him tight. I have said I loved him a hundred times and spent that last 2 hours of his life with him; but I didn’t. Only thing I remember was that he was peacefully praying that time. I changed clothes then went straight to my room to study for my exam.
I was reading my ‘Fever of Unknown Origin’ transcription when I fell asleep at around 1:15 AM. I saw Mommy checking me on our room before falling asleep. I heard their footsteps as they went to their room to sleep. At 2:10 AM, my older brother woke me up in a rush. He said he actually woke me up twice. Then I heard Mommy screaming ‘Daddy.’ I went straight to their room through an opened door. I saw blood all over Daddy and Mommy’s clothes. Blood was gushing from Daddy’s mouth. I didn’t know what to do. I was a third year med student then. I was helpless. I remember I ran and got my stethoscope (which every time I use to my patients right now, I always think of Daddy) and gave it to Mommy. She said Daddy no longer had a heart beat. Then I saw Kuya Ej rushing to the room, carried Daddy hoping to save him by bringing him to the hospital. As he ran carrying Daddy, he slipped in the stairs. We were shouting ‘Daddy’ all the time. Then with our house clothes, not even wearing any slippers, we rode the car and rushed Daddy to the nearest hospital.
It was the fastest car ride I ever had. Daddy was lying on my lap at the back seat together with Mommy. Kuya Ej was driving his fastest. Ate Joy and Ate Giella were at the front seat. (James was at the dorm during this time). Blood kept gushing from his mouth. I was holding his hand. I actually felt He gripped one last time. Everyone was shouting ‘Daddy’ in the hope of waking him up. Kuya Ej was shouting ‘Huwag kang bibitaw Daddy.’ In just less than 5 minutes, we were at the Rizal Medical Center. Kuya Ej carried Daddy to the hospital bed at the ER. They all went down. I was left at the car. I didn’t know what to do. I was just praying hard. A few minutes after, Ate Giella told me to go with my family. With my bare feet, I walked towards the ER seeing drops of blood from Daddy in the path. He was being revived. Everyone was crying. I was repeating and repeating ‘Hail Mary full of grace…’ in the hope of a miracle. Several epinephrine doses have been given, suctions done, and chest compressions. I remember Kuya Ej telling me this time to always be with Mommy, that I was John the beloved who was always with Mary. Daddy was resuscitated until 2:40 AM. The ECG was printed afterwards showing a tracing paper with a straight line. We were crying our hearts out. Daddy gave up. It was his time to go. Actually, he never gave up. He was very courageous all throughout his life. It was really his time to go after 17 years of extension of his life from the Lord after his cancer bouts so just our family may be able to experience His great love for us; and so, we were really grateful.
Daddy was then wrapped and placed in the hallway with a green divider surrounding him. It was his favorite color. Kuya Ej was with him all the time. I remembered Kuya Ej telling me to always be with Mommy as I was John the Beloved; and so I did. Friends came consoling us in the middle of dawn. I saw everyone crying. It was really painful to lose Daddy. I saw Mommy helplessly crying. It seemed ironic seeing that we doctors can’t really do anything to save Daddy’s life. No words could ever express the pain. We prayed and prayed. An hour after, we brought daddy to the morgue of the hospital. Kuya Ej and I were pushing the bed where Daddy was laid as the hospital staff guided us on our way. We passed by the back of the hospital to the open space where the crescent moon shone bright as if it was smiling on us. Yes, the Lord was telling us, it was part of His plan and Daddy was already happy now. We bid him farewell as we temporarily left him at the morgue. We went back to our friends at the ER receiving area with no words to say but it was His plan and we will really miss Daddy. We will really, really miss him.
A few hours after, James arrived after being fetched by Kuya Joseph from his dormitory. We accompanied him and went back to the morgue and saw Daddy again. We opened the freezer and the bag and saw his peaceful face. We will really miss him. Kuya Ej, Ate Joy, James and I then went to the chapel and prayed altogether for Daddy. I really thank the Lord for granting us hearts that constantly seek him. I thank him for making us missionaries and affirming us that all are part of His plans. At our young age, Daddy has already left us. But at our young age, we thank the Lord for granting us the wisdom and understanding to accept all that has happened.
We thank the Lord for preparing Daddy and allowing us to have the best celebrations during Christmas and New Year when we were at the hospital. Those were the most wonderful events that happened in my entire life. I’ll forever treasure those. I even remember Daddy telling us on his hoarse voice, ’proud na proud ako sa inyo, mahal na mahal ko kayo’ and to Mommy, ‘ang ganda, ganda mo, mahal na mahal kita.’ Mahal na mahal ka namin Daddy!
And so, I bid farewell to the world’s greatest dad. A year has already passed but I’ll forever carry with me all your memories and all things you taught me. I agree with James that you always told us to pray for you back then para gumaling ka. Pero kayo po ang nagpagaling sa amin kung sino kami ngayon. I’ll surely miss you most especially when I walk at my graduation and pass my boards, have my girlfriend and marry someday, and have a simpleng buhay na nagsisilbi sa Panginoon. You may not be physically present anymore but I’m assured you will be with me wherever I am.
Again, we love you Daddy and we really miss you. We really thank you for everything. We know you’re having the greatest time of your life up there. Pray for us always unofficial Saint Eulogio Aguila. We will see each other again.
Thank you Lord for Your promise. I really learned a lot after experiencing all these things. It was truly a year of faithfulness, love, and blessings. Your love fueled us to move forward and so we accept that you really give and take away, but still, blessed be Your name. We cling on to Your promise Lord. We will serve you always. Amen.