In Memoriam: Lolo Johnnie

Photo by Mr. Boy Yñiguez.

It’s occurred to me that I don’t know how to say goodbye with much finality. Death being what it is already robs us of the words and the chance to utter them–but let’s see. This morning, I awoke to the perfect peace of sun-lit trees. I pulled the sheets over my shoulders, yawned and shivered. These are the mornings of childhood–memories of the Baguio sun coyly coaxing the cold away, telling it to be gone for the day.

This morning, at daybreak, Lolo Johnnie closed his eyes for good. How many worlds has he known and how many has he taken away with him? Earlier this week a man made the news after he had passed at 92 taking an entire language with him. I wonder how this is news when everyday people die taking with them entire worlds of which we are a part.

The last I saw of Lolo Johnnie, we both shared a laugh after he had devoured a plate of lechon. In a swift motion of the fork, the meat had gone from plate to mouth much to the dismay of Mrs. D–Sorry, Lola. I couldn’t bear taking it away. He was too cute, too happy complete with a knowing grin. Afterwards, there were pictures and hugs and see you later’s–always see you later’s, noh?

I don’t know how to properly say goodbye. I do know that there will be mornings and in that space between darkness and dawn, I’ll think of how, in death, Lolo had banished the gloom and pulled in the sun–much as he did in life. Thank you for everything, Lolo Johnnie. See you later.

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