Friday, August 10, 2012
'Tay Jack: A kick to my life
That was what I felt when I read the first FB post referring to his sudden death. It was like a kick that would make me look at the culprit with surprise, shock, and questioning stare. And then minutes later, posts of the same news streamed. At that time, the kick carried some forceful weight that tagged me down. Down to the chest and exploded there. My body could hardly contain its intensity and violence inside me. I was aching for a release, to relinquish from the confined emotions weighing me down. My knees and legs gave up to the weight of the sudden loss, like a kick that was forceful and real.
Memories of him flashed.
A day before his departure from the Netherlands to the Philippines, I went with him and Ate Renna to Eindhoven to visit and have dinner with Beca and Richard. Tay Jack drove for more than an hour while Ate Renna and I were sharing stories. After a while, Ate Renna dozed off. I struggled to stay awake to keep Tay Jack a company, but I knew I lost my consciousness to dreamland for some brief moments. It was Tay Jack who did not waver in the task - to bring us to the destination safely.
Tay Jack was a steady presence in the activities of the Filipino community in the Nijmegen-Molenhoek area. I remember in the days leading to the Sinulog Festival in Molenhoek, Tay Jack was always there, supporting and helping his wife. He was very functional in the tasks before him. He simply did and delivered whatever he could do to facilitate the conduct of the event.
My first experience of snow was with him in 2010. He drove me from Molenhoek to Nijmegen for nearly an hour. We were stuck in a traffic jam because of tremendous snowfall. One of our topics was about marriage. At that time, I had just proposed with my then girlfriend, and now my wife. I asked Tay Jack, "how would you know whether or not a woman is right for you?" Tay Jack straightforwardly responded in this context, "when you met that woman with all the feelings, and you made a decision to have her in your life, the question whether she is right or not disappears. Your responsibility now is to make that decision work and to make that decision right. Do not depend on others to help you make it work and make it right. You have yourself and that woman."
Tay Jack was not able to meet "that" woman of my life. Surely now, he won't be able to in this world. But he left me a mark that was real, powerful and personal; like a kick to my life. I needed that.
Thank you, Tay Jack. Dank je wel. Dios mabalos po!