NIDA PAQUEO

BY LIZA PAQUEO

It wasn’t so much the loss of Mom that made my heart clench in sorrow. It was the endless, circular imaginings of mom’s last minutes of life. I can’t seem to erase the recollection of the phone call to her room to check on her. The resident doctor, who had answered, told me that they were in the middle of trying to revive her again, for a second time. I could hear his team, shouting in the background. Machines were pinging. Footsteps shuffling. Muffled orders executed. The calm doctor on the phone was reassuring me that they were doing everything they could to keep her alive. Deep in my heart, past the fortress of denial, I knew that her surrender from pain was a foregone conclusion.

I was in my office at the hour of her second resuscitation; I stared out my picture window at the view of the two churches of Thomas Circle. I begged for her life. She, who gave me mine, was losing hers.  Let me just talk to her one more time. Please. Please. All I wanted—all I ever wanted at that moment—was to be with my parents: to hold their hands as they had mine when I was learning to walk.  All I wanted at that moment was to urge them to fight, to cheer them on… as they had every step of my life. All I wanted at that moment was for my mom and my dad to be around for my birthday, as they had been every year since 1974.

While weeping during the video chat with my Dad the other night, he shared so much with me about his love and deep friendship with Mom.

“The very best of your mom lives within you and your brothers,” Dad reminded me. “So now you have to live your life in the very best way to honor her.”

To read the full entry, go to Liza’s blog.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Liza Paqueo.

DR. ALAN T. ORTIZ

BY MONICA ORTIZ | DAUGHTER

Salamat po sa lahat ng mga nakikidalamhati, nakikiramay, at namamahagi ng kwento tungkol sa tatay namin.

It’s hard to come up with the words to say how horrible it is to lose a father, much more to lose him in a manner so cruel and abrupt. We didn’t get to say goodbye and we didn’t get to squeeze his hand, or make him laugh a little before passing over into the great beyond. But we are at least comforted by the fact that he died free of pain and that he was well cared for by his doctors. He was in an induced coma for two weeks and I think that he really tried to stick around.

Andami pa niyang plano sa buhay. But, leave it to my papa to go out on a high: in Paris, invited as an expert in security, with the lovely prospect of seeing his grandson the next weekend. I don’t think he would have any regrets in the way he lived life, whether he left us at 96 or at 66. He carpe’d the shit out of the diem. His motto in life, which he often repeated to me, was “work hard, play hard.”

And boy did he work hard: his CV is a decorated one. He was a big man in any room: opinionated, wise, confident. A leader. He could command a room and rouse an audience. Papa seemed to know everything about everything, be it energy or water or ethnic conflict. Nung umuwi ako 8 years ago from studying abroad at magkasama kami sa grocery, sa mall, o kung saan pa man imposible na walang babati sa kanya o wala siyang babatiin ng “o pare”. I feel like he knew everybody and everybody knew him. For this reason I love reading all his accolades and the tributes to him from so many who loved him.

But how did *I* know him? How did his family know him? There are only four of us who could speak about him as a father. Our Papa was a tough one, I would say. Not that he would be very strict or put on a curfew. But he was tough because he had such high expectations out of all of us. He pushed us and he challenged us to do better and to excel. Sometimes also, he wasn’t there. From him living his own busy life, going on all his adventures (scuba diving, biking, etc.), to us living far away from each other for many reasons. We didn’t see each other for many months sometimes. But that didn’t dampen the overwhelming influence of our papa on our character, on who we are now, and who we will become.

Looking back, I realise that he worked so hard to give us the freedom and ability to dream big for ourselves. When he passed away, I anticipated many words to be written about him, his leadership and his accomplishments. But I wanted to write about the Papa we knew and loved: the one who talked to me about history on the drive to Pisay everyday, the one who taught Mikey and I how to bike near Bellarmine, the one who taught us all how to swim. Our papa who always made corny dad jokes (“Hi hungry, I’m Alan”), who hummed and sang throughout car rides to songs we would laugh at, who snored so loud minsan yumayanig yung kwarto… o yung sinehan.

Everyone who has sent me a kind word has told me that he was incredibly proud of his kids. Thank you for passing that on… but we knew. While he was tough, while he pushed us, he celebrated us too. He was a loving father and he tried hard to be there for us even from far away. There is not enough time in the world to share stories about all that our Papa was, and all that he gave to us.

But with all the time that we have left, we’ll continue to tell stories about him to each other, and to Sam. And I think he would like that very much. Thank you Papa. We love and miss you very much.

Photo submitted by Monica Ortiz.

ARCH. RAUL DELLA ESLAO, RN

BY REBS REBILLON | FRIEND

Raul was one of my best buds. From UPIS elementary to high school, through CAT Officer training as “Dumbguards”, to being responsible CAT officers in charge of people. He made high school life fun.

We did our own thing in College in U.P. Diliman, “discovering ourselves”. When we would get together, it was always a catch up session that was never enough. A lot of people are shocked to know he was quite a Renaissance Man. Not only was Raul an architect, he was also a bonafide Registered Nurse. He also taught in both fields as professor/instructor. He once related he was the oldest RN student in class and when he walked in the classroom, the students thought he was the instructor. In between these two fields,he also once had a construction company.

He was many things to many people. A big brother, a mentor, a dabbling musician, a jokester, a basketball aficionado of the NBA, a great cook. His version of papaitan as pulutan was one of my favorite creations that went well with beer.

He was a devoted father and a loving husband. He was built like a bulldog with a short stocky build you know you can count on if ever things get physical. He was the kind of friend who’s got your back but will never mince words to call you out if you’re in the wrong. But the way he says it was never threatening – always a “what if” explanation with a stupid grin in the end, making you feel stupid you took that hard decision or stand. but taking in stride looking at it in a funny goofy manner. His humour knew no bounds.

He was always the “glass is half full” kind of person – always positive. I remember when we both got hit in Marikina during that Ondoy flood when his house was half underwater, he said “carry lang, buhay pa naman tayo. We can rebuild.” I even offered to help clean up, but he respectfully declined. “Carry lang, kaya ko ‘to”. So on that fateful Sunday, March 29, he PM’ed me asking for prayers.

I knew he was a frontliner in this Covid-19 crisis and I asked if he tested positive, and he said yes. He was suffering. I went into action – posted in our batch FB page as well as (sending) PMs (to) people we commonly know to ask for prayer brigades. Of all the people in the world who knew Raul, we were sure he could beat this thing. We were confident. We sent our prayers and support, and we knew his “Carry lang, kaya ko ‘to” can-do attitude will bring him through. But the Lord had other plans for Raul.

On March 30th, he succumbed to the virus that was giving him so much pain. We lost a good man, we lost a hero, we lost a great friend. Goodbye, Raul. We will miss you. It’s our turn to bring the “Carry ko ‘to” attitude into our lives. Until we meet again, bro! God bless you!

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Ralene Enverga Eslao.

DR. GRACE LIM

BY ASIAN HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER

Sorrow befalls upon our hospital as we have lost one of our own in the fight against this pandemic, Dr. Mary Grace Lim.

We honor her as a great patient safety advocate who was an instrument in sealing the deal of our third Joint Commission International Reaccreditation.

She has affected and helped countless lives in her wonderful journey in Asian Hospital and Medical Center.

Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family of our fallen hero. We have lost a remarkable doctor, a good friend, and mentor to our budding health care workers. Asian Hospital, especially the Department of Emergency Medicine and Quality Management Department may have lost a great frontliner to COVID-19, but as one family, we promise her and our countrymen, now more than ever, that we will remain unfazed and will keep on fighting to finally put an end to this pandemic.

Today, heaven welcomes another angel who willingly risked her life to help save others. As one community, let us all offer a moment of silence for the eternal repose of her soul.

We love you, Dr. Grace!

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Asian Hospital and Medical Center.

DEBBIE ACCAD

BY MARK ACCAD | SON

My mother was a passionate Veterans Nurse at the Detroit location who’s served our Vets for over 20 years. She loved what she did.

I remember as a child playing at the Allen Park location before they moved with veterans who served in the World War. She was infected by sick co-workers while she was on duty tending to our vets.

She fought with everything she had for 11 days on a vent. But it was her passion that took her. She was supposed to retire this month. But didn’t get a chance.

I’m so proud of you mom and I’m so proud to be your son. May you enjoy paradise. You are a hero, mom.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Mark B Accad.

ARVIN PASCUAL

BY CASTER PALAGANAS | COLLEAGUE

Nurse Arvin Pascual, our first Nightingale, first nurse modern day hero, who succumbed to COVID 19 – finally laid to rest today at 9 AM. Now with her mother… The saddest way to bid a loved one goodbye, but this is the way it goes during this times.

A fitting tribute to follow Arvin. For now, you are with your mom and all angels in heaven. Your death will teach us all well, praying that you will be the first and last to fall in this war.

We continue to fight. Thank you for the years that you have carried the Florence Nightingale lamp, that has provided warmth and hope to many patients, especially when hope was flickering and dim.

We continue to hold the nurse’s lamp, today more than ever. Thank you for the wonderful 44 years.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Arvin Pascual.

DR. LEANDRO RESURRECCION III

BY LEANDRO CASTILLO RESURRECCION IV | SON

At around 6:25am on the 31st of March 2020, my father Dr. Leandro L. Resurreccion III, Pediatric Transplant Surgeon, passed away due to Acute Respiratory Failure brought about by Covid-19.

There were no hugs, there were no kisses, and there were no goodbyes. As a matter of fact, the last time I saw him, he was still able to smile. It gives you a kind of heartbreak that I cannot even explain.

When I was 13 years old, he was certified as a Pediatric Transplant Surgeon in the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney, Australia. He was offered to stay there but he chose to come home because at that time there were no Pediatric Transplant Surgeons in the country. And we needed one. He did not do it for money nor for prestige, but because he was needed. He always embodied a kind of fiery passion for his profession but he always spoke of what the country needed together with such passion.

And I choose to remember him like this. Not only as a statistic in the current war we are fighting. Not only as a surgeon who pioneered for the nation. Not only as a father for his family. But as a Citizen of The World who cared for it and fought for it. He will always be our hero.

I thank God for the 57 years you gave him. I thank the country for giving him a home for those 57 years. I thank my family for being there for us during this battle. I thank my dad’s girlfriend, Tita Cheryl Singzon, for without you, we would feel forever alone. I thank my Brods in the Aquila Legis for all the support in this battle we hurdle. I thank my family’s friends for everything. I thank my dad’s friends, his batch mates, his kabarkadas, his colleagues, the Pediatric Surgery community, his PGH Family, his PCMC family, his PCS and PSPS family for all the support and, most importantly, the words that helped us go through this uphill battle. Though we may lose, we’ll never bend.

Last, and most definitely not the least, I thank Dr. Es Saguil, Dr. Alvin Caballes, Dr. Benedicto, Dr. Villalobos, Dr. Albay, Dr. Roni Paclibar, and all the doctors, nurses, staff who attended my dad. I kid you not, you guys feel like family to us and without you, we would not have had a fighting chance. I also thank all the front liners. May God bless you all.

I hope I am not looked down for this, but I appeal to the National Government. Your efforts this lockdown have been commendable because I have seen firsthand how the battle against Covid 19 has been fought on with full force but I appeal that we may have a more coherent plan in order to test everyone and isolate. Let us break the chain.

Lastly, I appeal to each and every person to please, please, please stay at home, unless it is absolutely necessary. Let us not only protect our loved ones, but also our frontliners in this fight against this ravaging enemy. If we lose those who protect us, who else will?

Rest In Peace, Dad. I love you forever. You will always be my hero.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Leandro Castillo Resurreccion IV.

DRA. HELEN TUDTUD

BY MARICRIS BATHAN-LASCO | NIECE

Auntie Helen, we will miss you.

It breaks me that you were always there for all of our milestones but most of us could not even be there for you until your last breath. We prayed hard that you would win this fight but God had other plans.

I will miss your bubbly disposition. I will miss your laughter.

When any one of us in the family would be hospitalized, you were almost always the first to visit. You always flooded the hospital room with food. You visited everyday until any of us will be discharged. When I gave birth to Maggie, you made sure I had Hala-an soup. You personally delivered to our house. Countless times, you offered to babysit Maggie. You were not only our Auntie, you were also a Mommy to all of us your nieces and nephews. You were a sweet and loving Grandma to all our children. You were the loveable sister of my Mommy.

Thank you for loving us, Auntie Helen. Thank you for always being there for us. We wanted more time with you. We had all planned another reunion this May. Why did it have to be you? You were such a good person. You brought life to every party and to every reunion… now that life is gone.

This virus has made us fall on our knees. This virus took you away from your children. It took you away from all of us. Why it chose you we will never understand. It tears us that we can’t even be physically there to lay you to rest when you are just a few kilometers away. Most of us are on quarantine and we can’t do anything about it. I don’t know why it had to be this hard for the family to even say goodbye to you but we trust that God has reasons for doing so. This deadly virus was just on the news but now it has hit home.

We will forever miss you, Auntie Helen. Please visit us in our dreams. Goodbye, Auntie Helen.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Maricris Bathan-Lasco.

DR. DENNIS TUDTUD

BY DYANNE MARIE TUDTUD | DAUGHTER

Everytime Daddy held my son and my daughters in his arms, I can always see the spark in his eyes, as he did the same with me when I was groing up with DJ and DB. Even if I was sick, even if I was in the worst situation which I myself did, he would always rescue me as if he was superman, my hero, my idol and my strength.

When my grandmother passed away, daddy and mommy were the people who comforted me all throughout (and with) the pain in marriage that I have went through. Never did I forget on the day of mommy’s sister’s golden wedding anniversary, (Dad) looked at me, smiled and touched my cheeks, embraced me and said everything will be okay. I did not know that that will be the last time I will see you look at me as if I was 12 years old, dad. I will miss you, so, so, so much. Even if I chose the wrong path, you are always there to straighten it for me. You have always been the caring and loving father I did not have growing up. (You were) supportive, and just like lola, you never gave up on me when everybody did.

Dad, the kids especially Adrian will miss you and mommy terribly. You and Mommy are the Avengers in our life. I will keep in mind the only thing you always tell me is to be by my kids’ side and make room to bond with them just like you and mommy do every weekend.

Making wise choices was never really a thing that I have (done). Making decisions at the peak of my emotions is always my character defect but you always tell me to sit back and check and assess before making a decision.

I may not be the best daughter to you as you have been the best father for me but I am trying.

Just take care of mommy, lola, lolo and my daughter Ahmee.Thank you for the knowledge and wisdom that even if I am a selective listener, I have never been selective when it comes to you. It is DJ’s birthday today, dad. We normally celebrate it. I know you and mommy will be watching over DJ, DB, me and my kids, Sakit dad, you left us without a chance to say goodbye and I love you, but you will be in my kids’ hearts and mine always. Thank you again and goodbye, dad. You will never feel pain. You will always be a good doctor, a good father, and a loving husband in my eyes and my kids’.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Dennis Ramon Tudtud.

ALVIN AGUSTIN IGNACIO

BY PATRICIA IGNACIO | DAUGHTER

Until we meet again, our Batdad.

It has been a harrowing 22 days, and you fought so hard to come home to me, Mother and Sam. Sadly, God called you to come home to Him instead. It is so painful to wrap our heads around it. Reality is threatening to dawn on us. We cannot fathom why you had to go so early, when we still have our whole lives to love and care for each other. Thank you Dad, for fighting the virus with all your life. We are amazed by your strong fighting spirit. I’m sorry Dad, that I couldn’t be there to fight with you.

I’m sorry that we couldn’t give you the proper funeral and burial that you deserve. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be there to say that I will see you again someday. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you home much I love you. COVID-19 has stripped us of last minute goodbyes.

I am not looking forward to when things go normal, and I have to accept that you would not be there anymore to see me off to work every night. You won’t be there to greet me hello when I come home every morning. I won’t have my shopping partner, my favourite photo bomber, my travel buddy. I will miss your hugs, your teasing banters, your excitement when you see anything Batman and when I buy you simple things. Any sense of normalcy will only remind me that you are not here with us.

Daddy, I love you very much. Losing you means losing a big part of me. Mother, Sam and I will eventually accept this, but the pain will always be there. This is your time to rest now. You fought the good fight, and we are very proud of you.Photo taken from the Facebook page of Alvin Agustin Ignacio.

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