Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dear Tito Luis

You're not reading this. At least I don't think you are but these words need to be said.[1]

You were a very loving man, very generous man. The people who came to your wake all say the same thing. If there were notable weaknesses in your personality, these were weaknesses that were unknowingly fostered out of love for you, love that you often inspired.

Yes, I wish we'd spent more time together, even if it was just for talk. I'm sure your wonderful daughters are one with me in that wish. Were I at death's door I could hope for no more devotion than what they showed in your final days. There are few people in this world in whose company I would feel safe enough to die.

I wish you'd stayed longer-- no, not as an old man hooked up to a dialysis machine, nothing so undignified. An old man, perhaps, with his faculties intact, enjoying in the company of  his friends, his daughters and grandchildren.  

I didn't dare cross that distance between us that last time I saw you hooked up to the iron lung and the dialysis device. You were hopped up on all sorts of medication and there were doctors and such around you. I guess there were times recognition of me and my dad and Lola Bibing Taba would be evident in your eyes and in how you may have tried to speak then. But the words I wanted to have with you were not for doctors' ears, not for anyone. I still clung to some hope that I would hold your hand or touch your arm, and reassure you that everyone would miss you, in case the life support failed, but that we'd be alright.    

Your life had meaning! at least it did, to us. Unlike this hippie who can't seem to earn enough for his needs and the needs of his then-live-in partner, you and Tita Emma raised worthy children, competent professionals  who anyone would be proud to claim as "daughter," "sister," or "wife." To my knowledge you committed no crimes, and any of your peccadilloes and venal sins, you were likely sorry for. You inspired a lasting love in your wife  (and likely many funny romantic vignettes involving who would carry whom into the bedchamber, the shared toothbrush, and how you liked your fish).

I say all this now to celebrate who you were, to make up for that missed opportunity, and to wish that you could see or read this. Thank you, Tito. Thank you for your generosity, thank you for you. We love you. We will always miss you.           

[1] and thus do we come to the heart of why I, an agnostic atheist and a secularist, can't completely discount the human act of prayer

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