The sound of my vibrating mobile phone woke me up this morning. A sad text message from my colleague brought me to tears.
“Rena, expired na si Charles,” and that was it. I felt a strong sense of guilt and shame to my little stupid self. Remembering him yesterday, a day before and the six months he was in and out of the hospital, I will never forget him. We were both experiencing transition during his stay. I was a trainee, then a nurse volunteer and finally a staff nurse. And he, from his handsome little face, thick hair and fine body turned into a sunken frame with puffy eyes, bald head and diffusing smile.
One day, despite his condition, he verbalized he still wants to go to school. Shame on me, during the same day, I did not even want to go to the hospital to work. Despite all the contraptions in his body, all the chemotherapy and radiation sessions, all the medicines and transfusions he undergoes, I never saw him cried and even say “Ayoko na, Mama”.
I never saw him gave up on anything. Shame on me again, with all the stresses and frustrations at work plus feeling of lonesome and sadness with this futile life, I even said “Ayoko na” to myself a hundred times a day. Seeing him yesterday before he was transferred to the PICU made my heart sunk into something I really cannot explain. I saw him in his wheelchair, head bowed down, with labored breathing and pale skin color with all the contraptions in his body– it was like a slow motion scene in a movie.
I went home thinking of him anxiously.
At around 5 am, he passed away. When I received the sad news, I cried to my mom piteously. He was a very strong boy. Unlike me.
Charles, be an angel to your mom and dad. I have seen how they loved you so much.
Be an angel to your little brother with the same illness you had. He needs you more than ever.
And someday, I’ll be thanking you for all the things you taught me unconsciously.
Take care, little Charles, This is a happily sad goodbye from Ate Rena.
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