To an Exceptional Man

I know everyone had been in love; this is no doubt the bestselling topic in all texts existing. But to give love asking for literally nothing in return? That’s bullshit. Every single one has to be rewarded: a kiss, a hug, and sometimes more than that.

This might be far-fetched, but I know someone who loved selflessly. And I’m glad I met him.

He’s named Romer. I lived with him for as long as I could remember. He stayed with me patiently wherever our family settles. That is, no matter how long, no matter how far. I remember one time when I was eating voraciously and the fish bone from my dish stuck to my throat. I was crying. He was very worried. In seconds, I saw him jump to his ride and buy a whole bundle of bananas for me to swallow.

A true lifesaver. My hero.

I was and I still am, hard-headed. In times when I was scolded by my parents, he became my shield, my strong barrier. Together we find escape to the little troubles I made.

I remember when he left to live in America. I missed him terribly, of course I was used to having him around 24/7. He calls me often, we talk about school, home, and he always asks me what I want. And when I tell him, he never said no, even though he can’t afford it, he looked for means.

He’s thoughtful; never missed my birthday even though we were miles apart. He called during one of my parties, but I cut him short. I was too busy entertaining my friends so I asked him to call some other time. I was selfish, I never knew that hearing my voice and reading my letters makes him unimaginably happy. That spending time with him on the telephone kills his loneliness especially when he has to spend Christmas, or his birthday, alone.

I was not thoughtful; I was too busy I forgot to greet him on one of his birthdays. It’s pathetic that we are one day ahead of America but I still failed to remember. That was in October.

Four months later, he fell sick. He is one person who’s afraid of doctors: never in his life did he experience consulting one. But this time, it was really bad. He was really afraid then, of all the procedures he has to undergo. Finally, as the results came, he was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Lymphomas are neoplasms of cells from the lymphatic system: a type of cancer.

I never knew how serious it was then, I was still able to talk to him at first. But then his condition deteriorated so fast. I feel useless, I was helpless. I would have traded anything just to be next to him at that moment, but I just couldn’t.

I wrote him letters, they were read to him. I emailed our family photo and he asked for it to be placed across his bed for him to look at it always. It rained get-well cards for him. Surely he has touched a lot of people’s lives, and a lot wanted him to win against cancer.

He stayed 29 days in the hospital, and on March 11, 2007, he breathed his last.

Nothing compares to the hurt I felt upon hearing the news. A day before it happened, I sent him a video presentation of our photos together with me singing at the background. Unfortunately, it reached him late. He never had the chance to watch it.

His lost made tell myself that yes, I LOVE HIM VERY MUCH. I wish I was beside him to tell him this before he left, but I guess a man as selfless as he is needs no explanations.

I am now 20 years old, Romer is my uncle. My Tito Romer, my Omem. He was never married, never had his own children, but he treated me as if I was his daughter. And this is my humble attempt to share his story; to somehow tell him that wherever he might be, he is never and will never be forgotten. I promise.