BY VINCENT THOMAS EVANGELISTA | NEPHEW
Now, I lost one of the most significant father figures in my life. It was not easy growing up being a boy with no man to look up to. I was lucky that Daddy Den was there to be a good model for me. I would always stay in “Casa La Tudtud”, what we have come to call their house, every weekend so I can spend time with Debbie and Dj. Daddy Den always treated me like his son and I always regarded him as a father. It was through him that I learned “rough time”, what is known as rough and tumble play, this was how he played with us when we were still kids. I think this is why, Dj and I play like this with kids too.
He was very, very generous. I remember that when I was with them, what his kids would have, he would give me, too. He would make sure that if I was visiting, I would never feel like I was missing out, this is a very significant for a kid growing up with my circumstances. Through the years I have tried living with them and eventually visiting them when I had my own family. Daddy Den and Mommy Helen always treated me like one of their children. I saw how proud Daddy Den was of his children, Debbie and Dj. He would always try to bond with them even with his busy schedule. His was quality over quantity. He would often cook for his family, this was his way of showing his love and care, his way of showing you, you were important. He would always think of what to bring home for them when he was out, or traveling. He would often ask what food people wanted so he could bring home some when he came home. This is especially true when Debbie and Dj had friends over or we Lusus folk would be visiting.
He was known as a very accommodating and hospitable host, everyone who has visited the Tudtud residence, as a guest to a party, event, meeting or a sleepover can attest to this. He was such a good example of generosity, and forgiveness. I have learned so much from Daddy Den on how to live life and how to achieve success. He has never been selfish when it comes to his counsel and his wisdom. I had several opportunities to talk to him about life, work, marriage and career. I am truly thankful for all the insight he has provided me. He was a great example of passion. He had passion for everything that was part of his life, his wife, children, family, career, community, talents. He had passion for life! He was a great husband, father, brother, uncle, doctor, friend, he was a GREAT man. He has touched so many lives, and the world is definitely none the better for losing such a great human being.
He truly loves Mommy Helen, they are truly inseparable even in death. Heaven has gained two wonderful angels and may they be our guardian angels. I am in pain, as are my cousins Debbie and Dj, who lost his parents so close to his birthday. I take solace in the outpouring of gratitude and testimonials about their lives. They both truly are treasured by the people, whose lives they have impacted and touched. I am very grateful for having you both in my life, I will not be the man I am now, had it not been, in part, to both of you. Thank you both for also being parents to me… my life will forever be changed by your loss… I love you both so much and I will truly miss you both… It is very hard to accept, but such is life. The challenge we face now is acceptance… I personally will move forward by trying to be half the great people you were and in that way I can continue your legacy in the world… Till we meet again, for now, maybe we can talk in my dreams.
Photo taken from the Facebook page of Deborah Tudtud.