Grateful Dad #33: Friends Forever

July 28, 2022

I dedicate this post to a good friend who joined our Creator last year.

It’s been a year since a close friend of mine lost her battle with leukemia. Even so, I still couldn’t believe she was gone because she was still so young. I know she tried her best to be optimistic throughout her battle but her condition turned for the worse during the last two months of her life. I guess nothing really prepares one for the death of someone important to their life. I still could remember the shock and disbelief when I heard the news of her passing.

Grateful for my closest friends

Grateful Dad #33: Friends Forever

We were good friends since high school. We grew up together and witnessed each other’s ups and downs as we went on through life. We often talked, often tackling mundane and nonsensical stuff and sometimes even serious topics. 

We both appreciated a good laugh though so we made sure that we don’t always dwell on heart-wrenching topics. I went to college in Quezon City while she attended a local state university in our province but we made sure that we saw each other as well as our other close friends on holidays.

By around 2007 though, she went to Manila. I thought that we would see each other more often because of that. However, distance and the heavy traffic in Metro Manila proved it difficult for us to see each other regularly. It was even easier for us to organize meet-ups in the province.

We regularly kept in touch though, often making plans to have coffee in a nearby mall since I already moved to Novaliches when I got married in 2014. Anyway, our plans never really pushed through because her house was still far away from where I lived.

In 2018, her sister broke the bad news that she was sick. They initially thought that it was anemia but after thorough laboratory work, it was revealed that she had leukemia. In a way, looking at the brighter side of things, that illness paved the way for a quick meet-up when I donated blood to her. She was frail, bald, and obviously sick. I didn’t stay long because she caught infections quickly.

Two years after that, she gave us some good news. After her chemotherapy sessions, it seemed like her body responded well to the treatment. The indicators from her blood showed normal levels. 

Young tamarind leaves (usbong ng sampalok), tamarind fruit, and burong isda sent by a close friend
Young tamarind leaves (usbong ng sampalok), tamarind fruit, and burong isda

She was even kind enough to send me some treats from our province – young tamarind leaves for sinampalukan, tamarind fruits for sinigang, and two packs of burong isda (fermented rice and fish) for dipping steamed vegetables. She knew that I missed all of these items because we haven’t been home to San Antonio since the pandemic began.

A year later though, her symptoms were back. Her check-ups confirmed her worst fear; her leukemia was back. She was more afraid that time because leukemia has a tendency to be more aggressive during the second round. Still, she didn’t lose hope. She still kept in touch with us, even creating a group chat with our closest friends. We often talked and encouraged her to be strong.

She was in high spirits. I could remember her commenting on one of my blog posts: friends forever. I think that’s one of the most beautiful comments that I’ve received from my readers. Unfortunately, her condition continued to spiral downward. A few days before her birthday, we received the sad news that she was gone.

We were in shock and disbelief. We still couldn’t fathom the fact that a friend, with whom we played games when we were young, whom we laughed with in school, whom we grew up with is not with us anymore. 

Sometimes, even a year later, I would still imagine us talking, laughing, and having coffee. It still feels like she was just in a faraway place and busy with her job, too busy to keep in touch. Time will come and she’ll just go home and we’d meet up as we’ve never been apart for so long. I guess it’s the happy memories that keep a person alive.

We never really move on when we lose the important people in our lives. We just learn to live with their absence but we never really forget. There are far too many things that remind us of the important people in our lives. As for my good friend, it was her birthday yesterday. She would have been 39 years old.

We didn’t have our proper goodbye but that’s fine. I’d rather not say goodbye. After all, we’re friends forever. That thought alone gives me comfort.

Do you have similar stories about losing a dear friend? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

For the last three editions of Grateful Dad, you may read the following posts:

For all the past entries, please click here.
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1 comment

  1. That's very sad and it's so hard to lose a cherished friend, no matter what or how, it still hurts.