February 20, 2013. Wednesday.
I have just logged off from work when Ate May showed me a message from another friend, delivering a very horrifying news. I felt nothing as I didn't believe; but things got suspicious when I received unexpected calls from various people - all of them asking me if it is true.
My knees were then wobbling already when I dialed Raj's phone number, and my whole body was shaking in fear when he picked up my call in tears. As I couldn't understand anything, I dragged Ate May and we fled to the church where all of them were waiting.
There was only one statement. Everyone was crying, but I still wouldn't believe... until Kuya JR and Badjie confirmed it.
Milton is dead.
We rushed to his home in Bayugo and what we saw there literally struck me in horror. His body was lying on the floor. His lips were all white and swollen. His eyes were permanently closed. He was what I dreaded the most - lifeless.
And from the moment I laid eyes on his corpse, I knew I lost a friend.
My mind were literally all over the place. I just went out immediately as I couldn't stand seeing him in such state. He had a heart attack and was found in the restroom of their house around 5PM. We believe depression and too much stress overwhelmed him that his heart was no longer able to handle it. He broke down and succumbed to his illness - much to our despair.
He has left.
Milton is not just a friend. He's even a brother to me, to us. Eleven years I've spent on this youth ministry, he was with me. He was part of the group when we were first formed. He was one of the kids we've trained and mentored. He was one of the members of my spiritual family who have played such a very immense role in my life.
More than that, Milton is a childhood friend. I grew up playing with him and the rest of the kids here. I can still clearly remember when we were both learning how to ride the bicycle and his head was always tilted to the sides.
God... Now that he's gone, I just realized how indispensable he is.
With BCY Banga and the rest of the PCY members, I can never forget how he'll always play pranks on us. Disgusting as it may be, he'll always find ways to get away with it. He can be very annoying with his noise and his interests, but then God knows how much effort he had to exert just to always show us that he's happy.
Personally, how can I forget the person who will constantly tease me with my speech defect? How can I forget the person who always call me by my mother's name just because my hips have resembled my mom's? How can I forget the person who will always shout at me jokingly when I come home late, asking if that's the proper attitudes of a married woman? How can I forget the monster eater who will always lead the whole group into delving into the foods I have prepared for them?
And how can I forget someone who will constantly defend me from all people in this place? How can I forget someone who I have shared plans of buying house and lots with? How can I forget someone who had been there, despite my ridiculous mood swings?
How can I possibly forget him?
You know what hurts more? I wasn't able to be a very good friend and sister to Milton. I knew that because I have taken him for granted, along with the other members of BCY Banga. I wasn't able to be there when he was most troubled. I wasn't able to pay attention.
It was very frustrating that I realized how stagnant our relationship had been, and it's too late now to change that.
But then as I think about it, his death has some positive sides stuck to it too. What basically comforts me the most is that he's safe now. You see, Milton never lived an easy life. There were always hurdles, challenges, pain and sufferings - which he would always conceal with his hyperactivity and jokes. And now, he no longer needs to pretend. I can tell, because he's smiling as he lies on his coffin.
He's in peace now. And honestly, I envy him.
As he journeys back home to the Father, I pray that Milton finds the better life that he deserves. I hope that whatever he had suffered for here on Earth while he's still alive will be ready as he enters the Gates of Heaven. I know he's happy wherever he is right now.
And I pray that as we continue our lives without him, he'll constantly watch upon us and guide us as how he always did. I wish that he'll take to heaven with him all our pains and sufferings as well.
The adjustment stage will never be easy; but I know that through the help of all his memories, we're all going to be okay.
Milton, bawal pala-inom at bastos dyan sa langit. Wag mong guguluhin si San Pedro, baka pababain ka niyan. Yaan mo, babawi ako sa iba; at magiging okay kami kahit wala ka na. Walang makakalimot sa mga kalokohan mo. Walang makakalimot sa `yo. Mahal na mahal ka namin, kapatid. Alam ko hindi mo rin kakalimutan yon.
Nakauwi ka na, tol. Salamat sa lahat-lahat. Hintay hintay lang. Salubungin mo kami pag kami na yung umakyat.