Monday, January 12, 2009

THE SWEET LIFE OF AWIT (July 21, 2008)

Heaven cried last July 10 when we celebrated the sixth birthday of our son Awit who died of pneumonia almost two years ago at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).
Heavy rains brought back mixed memories of December 2006 when we, like Joseph and Mary, had to look for whatever shelter there was in Bethlehem called Lungsod ng Kabataan to survive the night, since what's assigned for watchers like us was a narrow bare space under the stairs fronting a door poster with Jesus, I Trust In You!
While he was at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), we had to move from its open chapel to its emergency room lobby to its out-patient benches to its multipurpose activity center to escape from the guards roving round the clock – and it appeared that we're easier to catch than the pests, natural and not, who got away with cash and cellphones unnoticed!
So we wrote a letter to the PCMC Director, Dr. Julius Lecciones, who responded by adding lockers, among others, to that spot on this planet that's too cold and callous to consider the welfare of companions of angels fighting for their lives.
We knew the feeling because towards the end of our 10-day ordeal in the hospital, we contracted chicken pox, which we shared with Awit's sisters Ate Psalma and Sulat, and brother Kuya Wika -- after we had his remains cremated and before we played as funeral song Kay Laya we wrote with Teta Tulay, which was recorded by Cynthia Alexander!
Nothing we have against the PCMC, what we have are stories to tell that might of help them bring more glory before the celebration of its 30th anniversary on 29 April next year!
For our part, we wanted to keep Awit's loss more meaningful we thought of putting up Foundation AWIT or Advancing Wellness, Instruction, and Talents -- headed by his mom, Ellay (with Atty. Felipe Pacquing II and Atty. Myrtle Pacquing as secretaries as well as his “lola” in Ms. Abad Santos, his teachers Ms. Aya Bilgera and Dean Gisela Luna of the Trinity College of Nursing including his doctors Dr. Charlotte Chiong and Dr. Jose Robles; and real-life lola Zenaida Mendiola and lolo Judge Felipe Pacquing) – which is meant, initially, to learn more about kids with Global Developmental Delay (GDD) and seizure disorder like Awit!
However, when our house in Iyam, Lucena City got ransacked, nearly two months after his demise, we planned to do few things for those who left us with nothing but an old piano!
Why? Because it seems that the government badly needs the spirit of volunteerism to fully implement the Republic Act #9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 that protects this Dirty Dozen of 9-12 year-old boys who robbed us, physically and more. We're able to arrange their psychological evaluation at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and medical assessment by Dr. Norieta Calma-Balderrama and Dr. Gerard Salazar respectively. We also administered initial intelligence tests.
Ideally, a social worker would conduct a case study but we're unfortunate to find such an ideal social worker, who would give us more results than reasons why he or she could not comply with the said Sen. Francis Pangilinan Law!
Yes, we're planning to do more research on kids with special needs and those in need of special protection but, more often than not, there's a necessity to do more now that we're given an official and legal identity
Foundation AWIT donated to the U.P. Child Development Center through its chair Dr. Estrella Agustin (former president of the Kapisanan ng May K sa Pilipinas which just had its annual Banyuhay for the loved ones left behind by those who succumbed to cancer since 1997) – a playground set given by artist/inventor Ching Abad Santos and 60 potted ornamental plants for what we wish would be a “Hardin ni Awit” within his former school. More so, medical equipment and supplies from Dr. Beth Quasha were turned over to the PGH Ear Unit through Dr. Charlotte Chiong, Awit's doctor for his hearing impairment.
Earlier, we guested for the July 2 episode on “Comforting the Bereaved” in a QTV show The Sweet Life hosted by Lucy Torres and Wilma Doesnt and they asked us to talk about superstitious beliefs regarding death. We took the opportunity to talking about Awit and his story seemed to catch Lucy’s fancy. Clearly we could see in her face on the verge of acting out a tale she told about a boy who cried when he saw a man crying just because he wanted to share the sadness of someone unknown to him. Right there and then, when she showed her non-showbiz concern, we couldn't help but envy Richard Gomez!
It was really a tribute to the late action star Rudy Fernandez who lost in his fight against cancer and celebrity friends Jamie Rivera, Butch Francisco, and Lyn Ynchausti or Mrs.Tirso Cruz III! until they corrected it!) were there to share their experiences with the widowed Lorna Tolentino and her kids. Mrs. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, who gave helpful tips about recovery, was surprised to learn about Awit’s demise because three years ago when she first met us – upon the invitation of Dr. Mario Miclat and his wife Alma -- we tackled poetry as therapy for the bereaved – in the Philippine chapter of The Compassionate Friends’ session.
Little did we know that eventually we would qualify as legitimate members of the said group!
Keep our communication lines open, feel free to email us at


MAN 1: My wife and I had a fight. She became historical. MAN 2: Pare, I think, what you mean is hysterical. MAN 1: No, pare, historical because she began nagging about my mistakes in the past.
Closest to us is not friends and family but death.
Farthest is not the moon and the stars but passed time.
Biggest is not mountain nor the sun but our lust or desire.
Heaviest is not elephant nor iron but responsibility.
Sharpest is not knife nor sword but our tongue.

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