I hardly knew him. In fact, I don't even know his real name. I've always just called him 'Yoyo'. No it's not in reference to the toy but the fact that as a child, my sister and I both probably couldn't pronounce the letter L so instead of saying Lolo (grandfather in Tagalog), it became Yoyo....
He was our grand uncle, our maternal grandmother's younger brother. He lived with my grandmother in her home in the province for decades now. He never married. As a child, I heard he got his heartbroken and never bothered with anyone again. They said he worked somewhere in the northern provinces, Isabela I think. What exactly he did, I don't know.
I do know he loved to read. He loved books, the Reader's Digest and National Geographic. I know he loved music...Jerry Vale, Tony Bennett, The Platters and some other great classics. He was also into carpentry a bit, and this he probably learned from their father (my great grandfather) who was a skilled carpenter. He was also someone I enjoyed talking to even if only for a short while. He had an authority in his voice, an intelligence and sense of knowledge that commanded respect from me. As a child and teenager, he was patient with me whenever I asked him questions.
I will miss that.
This morning I was told that he passed away. A pain in his left arm, they said, and then he collapsed. I am guessing it was a heart attack. He did smoke a lot and was also a drinker. That was one of the things he enjoyed...sitting on the rocking chair at night, looking out the window, into the pitch black sky, with a glass of liquor in his hand. I've always wondered what he thought of, what questions, dreams or regrets consumed his consciousness, as he stared out into the night. Was he happy? Did he think of his lost love? Was he hopeful? Or just tired?
I did not really know him. I will always regret that. But I am happy that I will always remember him with a child's eyes. I probably did not see much, know much, understand much. But isn't it that when someone passes, it is always a gift to remember only the beauty in them and the gift their existence has brought to our own lives? If it takes being a child to savor all that, then I choose to be one.
Farewell, Yoyo and I do pray for your peace. I will miss you and always remember you fondly.