I’ve been thinking of writing something about a dear friend for a long time now but every time I’ll start the piece, my eyes will become blurry. I really find it hard to start. I can’t find the right words to begin with.
Last night I was asked to give a testimony about Amang, my closest friend in the office, I was that close to him that everyone was expecting me to tell a lot of stories about him. But no words came out of my mouth instead tears flowed in my face. I really wanted to share a lot of things about him but I don’t have enough strength to tell it verbally and so I decided to share it through my blog.
Mandy Alpay, yeah that was his real name. I call him “Amang” since he calls me “Ineng”. Sabi kasi nya mukha daw akong nene. That was five years ago. Since then, we became as close as ever. He was like a father and a brother to me. We usually stay in the office to have our “kwentuhan”. We can actually talk anything under the sun. I remember, our first conversation was about heaven and happiness. Sabi nya, you are in heaven if you are happy. He believes that “life is equally perfect”. We shared common thoughts and we also have different views.
Through the years I came to know him better. I saw him in his lowest and I saw him in his happiest. I saw him cried, I saw him laughed. He's serious but most of the times naughty like me. Siguro kaya kami nag-jive.
He was my eating buddy. Araw-araw sinasamahan nya ko mag-almusal, at kung minsan pati magdinner. It seems like it was an obligation for him to accompany me everyday. Ganyan sya kabait.
Amang taught me a lot of things. He taught me to eat vegetables especially ampalaya. I really don’t like vegetables kasi, nagbabara lalamunan ko sa gulay. When he was confined in Medical City, I told him, “sabi ko sayo walang magagawang mabuti sayo ang gulay.” He just smiled. He’s like that, he will just smile in anything – whether he is in pain, stressed, or in bad mood. He will still smile.
He also taught me to save money, he knew that I’m also a breadwinner in the family. He gave me insights and advices on how to handle my finances properly. He was the one I will talk to if I have a problem, and he’s always willing to listen and to help.
Early this May, he complained about his bloating tummy. We, his friends, thought it was just gas pain or dyspepsia and can be relived by antacid. Days passed, the bloatedness and discomfort were still there. He then went to St. Luke’s for check-up, surprisingly, the doctor didn’t find any irregularities in his internal organs but the pain is still there. His tummy is continuously bloating. He can’t sleep. He can’t go to work. We advised him to have a second opinion since his condition is not normal anymore. And to make the long story short, he had another check up in Medical City on May 28, 2010. He underwent CT Scan and endoscopy. What we thought an ordinary stomachache or dyspepsia, was a shocking CANCER! The doctor advised the wife to have an explore-lab immediately.
I really don’t know what to do when I received a text from his wife, that Amang has an advanced gastric carcinoma! Of all the people I knew, he was the last person I could think of to have cancer. He was a health-conscious person who loves veggies and fish. He regularly go to doctor for check-ups, he runs. He’s healthy!
It was a sad day. I had a hard time telling this to other friends who are waiting for his medical results. I told them to join me in prayer for Amang’s healing. Sometimes, God will allow things to happen to make us better individuals.
The result of the explore-lab revealed a much more painful and shocking result. Amang only has 3-6 months to live! His whole intestines were already affected, the killer cancer cells already metastasis to other internal organs. So sad!
July 13, 2010. The saddest news came. Amang, 38 y/o passed away at 8:23pm. He is survived by his wife, who is 4-month pregnant and a 6-month old daughter.
What happened to Amang, for me, was God’s reminder for all of us, that we don’t own our lives. That God can change everything in just a snap of a finger. That we should surrender everything to Him, for His thoughts are not our thoughts, His plans are greater than ours. What really matter in this world is our eternal peace and eternal life that only Jesus can give. I remember what Amang said in his last days - "faith is the most important thing in the world."
I praise and thank God for using Amang's condition to draw me and even other officemates closer to Him. It was during this time where I saw our friends praying and joining us in our prayer meetings to commune with God.
Although I’m missing Amang, I’m now happy knowing that he is now with our Almighty Father in heaven. No bloatedness. No pain. No dextrose and jejenustomy tube. He is now experiencing the real heaven of happiness!
Amang, I know you're happy now, wait there and I will see you again!