Sunday, October 22, 2006

In Memoriam

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Reporter. Journalist. Friend.

I didn't cry when I found out Dan Campilan had been killed in a car crash just a few hours after we saw each other. My housemate woke me up to break the news; I was shocked beyond comprehension, yes, but no tears fell from my eyes. I still found it hard to believe that someone I had just been with for dinner and coffee can be...gone, just like that. I called up the other people we were with and they confirmed what I hoped was just a really, really bad joke. I sat on my bed for a full hour going over in my mind the events of the previous night. He couldn't possibly be dead, I thought; we had just kidded him about his less-than-stellar driving skills the night before. There was no way he was involved in that crash.

I didn't cry when, a few hours after the crash, I saw for myself his lifeless body down in the basement of the funeral home, the embalmer fussing over him,
getting him ready to face his final audience. There was a lump in my throat at the sight of him lying there, his face unrecognizable because of the injuries
he sustained in the crash. Even then I still couldn’t believe this was my friend we all good-naturedly kept teasing about his Bisaya accent and corny jokes that
were so often off-the-mark. And yet, even then, the tears didn’t come.

No, I didn’t cry during the four days we mourned at Funeraria Nacional. I heard from his closest friends, co-workers and family during the two necrological services we organized for him, and listened to unending anecdotes about people’s encounters with him. There was a tremendous outpouring of love for him; practically identical testimonials from the people closest to him of his kindness, generosity and dedication to his family. But except for a few sniffles during mass, I still didn’t cry. I thought that was a bit strange. Dan and I weren’t what I would call close, but I would’ve thought I would feel emotional enough about his death to warrant a tear or two. Heck, I cried when the Pope died, and I didn’t even know him.

I flew to Cebu with common friends to attend his funeral. That was the least I could do for him, I thought; to say goodbye one final time to a person I was only starting to get to know. When the time came to transfer the casket from the chapel to the Church for the funeral mass, I found myself becoming an instant pallbearer. It was surreal – the image of myself carrying a friend in a casket to take him to
his grave. I started thinking about the good memories I had with Dan – the endless laughs we shared with our other friends at a coffee shop a just couple of weeks
before the crash, when we all found out a very special secret about one of us; the trips to Tagaytay, where we had dinner and wine and more laughs (often at other
people’s expense); his easygoing and carefree demeanor that masked the difficulties he had to endure (and was still enduring) to help his family in Cebu. And on and on and on. And it was then, right after I helped placed his casket inside the funeral
vehicle, the tears finally came. And boy did they come.

All throughout the mass, while we were marching from the church to the funeral and then right at the gravesite itself, as he was being lowered to his final resting place, it was like the floodgates had been opened and I couldn’t stop myself from crying. I was bawling my eyes out, unashamedly, along with almost everyone else there that day. I had never really lost anyone significant in my life since I was a kid, and if my emotions at Dan’s funeral are any indication, I’m probably going to lose it if and when that happens. I am scared out of my mind. So much for my self-perceived cynicism.

If we are going to judge purely by socio-economic indicators, Dan lived an unfortunate life. I’d like to think though that Dan is a very, very lucky guy. To the very end, he was surrounded by people who cared about him, who knew who he was and loved him for it. The song goes that people get what they give; the people who knew him best gave Dan the love and respect he so richly deserved, but Dan gave so much more of himself to his friends and family. How many of us can say that about ourselves? We should all be so lucky if we get even half of that amount of love when we leave this earth.

Thank you for the memories Dan. We will miss you.

Dan in Wikipedia
Dan's profile on the GMA 7 website

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

No Need to Explain

*cheese alert. Skip this post if you're turned off by mush. I'll be back to my usual skeptical, cynical self on the next post.

The other night you gave me reasons
Why you felt nothing for me.
We struggled with words and wrestled with emotions
As if doing so would illuminate the darkness around
So why waste words and frustrating thoughts?

Why repeat what we already know and bring up what
we don't want to?
I apologize for putting you through all that.
The only thing I want you to know is that there's no
need to explain.

So there's no need to explain
What it is I have
Or don't have
That keeps me out of your heart.

If I don't have what it takes, there's no point in
faking it
Because you should only fall for the real me.
If I find out it's something I have that I haven't
Then you should discover it without having to demand.

There's no need to explain
Why you fall for these handsome, confident and
heavenly men.
Why even those who don't last in your affections
Have had more time there than I ever had.

I don't want to be like them nor compare myself to
They are drawn to you but never fully appreciate what
they experience
I may be less confident, but it's because I'm nervous
screwing up.
My once in a lifetime chance to be with the greatest
woman alive.

But I shall keep up and surpass them, as best I can.
Becoming a better man due to pure inspiration rather
than to
And even if you find someone better than me
If he is the better man it'll be OK because you
deserve the best.

I see no need to explain
Why you should give me a chance
Why you should feel someting for me or why I am worth
What I'm going to do to make you feel the magic you
long for.

I should just
show you that I am worth a chance,
Sweep you off your feet, be trustworthy and never
And if I am unable to do so then I should just accept
that it isn't meant to be.

I will just enjoy
Being able to talk to you for hours till our throats
go dry
Blending in harmony and watching shows
Or simply sitting in the dark gazing at you by the
of the city

I just enjoy whatever time you give to me.
Whatever fun we have I seal in my heart.
I don't care why you spend any time with me
I just care that you do.

And if ever the day comes
That you finally see that no one else wants the job of

making you happy more than I do,
That you finally feel the magic and that yearning
That you feel that being with me is worth all the

Even though I'll be confounded, confused and even
About this sudden change of heart
Just come to me and let me hold you
And there'll be no need to explain.

I can see myself writing this poem (substitute a few words here and there...) Sadly though, I didn't. This was what Will gave Ces after she found out about his feelings for him (If you don't know who Will and Ces are, scroll down two entries before this one). Credit goes to Jamie Bautista of the comic book CAST. It's a bit on the overly-dramatic side (wasn't high school like that?), but more than anything, I think it's very well-written. And hits very close to home. But whatever. I hope people out there enjoy it as much as I do. (Just remember to credit the source if you decide to go a-copying and a-pasting).