February 5, 2024, Monday

I feel so drained from crying. I lost a brother. Parang ang bilis. I wasn’t ready, we were not ready.

I knew Kuya Romy’s condition was serious but we all remained positive that he would still be spared and be given a few more years on earth, to enjoy more time with his family, more treats for himself. Di ba nga balak namin isama sya sa cruise this summer. My sisterly attention has actually focused on him. My plan was to bring him along this year wherever, to let him experience other things, see more places, etc.

But things turned for the worse. After his brain surgery, he didn’t recover. He is now dead as in D E A D.

Ganito pala dito sa America. Insurance companies, doctors, nurses, hospitals can decide on a person’s fate.
To live or not to live. How much longer will we keep this person breathing? For doctors and nurses, we can’t expect that they would hang on until the end of time after all hindi naman nila kakilala yung may sakit. They could be sympathetic and compassionate but their job is limited. For most of them, trabaho lang talaga ito. For hospitals, it’s business. It all depends on how far the insurance company would go to shoulder the medical expenses. Pero para sa pamilya ng may sakit, hindi ito trabaho, hindi ito hanap buhay , ito ay buhay. Buhay ng pinaka mamahal sa buhay.

Mabuti pa sa atin, sa Pilipinas, ang alam ko, ilalaban natin para gumaling. Hindi agad tayo susuko na wala na yang pag-asa. Kasi siguro we are religious and we believe so much in faith in God. We hope, we pray, we beg God to heal our sick loved one. We don’t just say, that’s it. hanggang dyan na lang. We hang on to our faith. Kapit lang tayo ng mahigpit, hindi tayo bumibitaw hanggang sa huli.

The feeding tube had been removed last week. Then they removed the dextrose. Eh paano pa mabubuhay ang kuya ko kasi wala na ngang pag-kain, tapos aalisin pa yung fluid. Tapos, wala na rin daw ibibigay na gamot kasi wala nang magagawa. Eh talagang wala na syang chance na gumaling. No food, no water, no medicine. What else is left? Oxygen na gustung-gusto na ring ipatanggal ng doctor. Ilang araw nang iniintay na pumayag ang pamilya. Sige daw out of respect to the family pero that’s it and nothing more. THAT’S IT???? Ganun na lang?

After endless heavy thinking, numerous consulting, deep breathing, praying, and crying, Kuya Romy’s sons gave the nod to remove the last life line, the oxygen.
We were all present, and a priest prayed over him. We all said goodbye, but not really goodbye. How do you say goodbye knowing you’ll never see him again? We are used to saying bye, but it’s actually bye for now. See you again. But in this situation, saying goodbye didn’t seem right. I felt like we were abandoning him by saying goodbye.

The Filipino nurse who showed sympathy and empathy injected Kuya with Ativan and another medicine. I asked him what those were for? Not lethal injections but to make my brother feel comfortable to put it kindly. Para hindi nya maramdaman na hindi na sya makahinga.

Kuya Romy, nurse 2/5/24

Slowly his breathing became erratic. Slowly his heart bit faster than slower, faster then slower, slower, slower, till it stopped.
I was the only one asking the nurse. Is he dead? He replied nicely, “his heart has stopped”.

We were all crying but still with a tiny sliver of hope that this wasn’t really happening and that he would still wake up. But when the machine beeped and flashed zero, all our emotions intensified. It was no longer crying but we were wailing. A scene that I wished was only in the movie I was watching. Not the reality that I was in.

One dearest relative lost consciousness thankfully only briefly. Thank God. I didn’t know whether to look at Kuya Romy’s lifeless body, continue crying, or to assist. My sister in law was quick to catch him. The nurse rushed to help but he thought my sister in law was the one who fainted. He was trying to carry her. I heard her telling him, “hindi ako ang hinimatay, kasi ako ang binubuhat mo”. A brief funny moment in the midst of indescribable pain and grief.

Kuya Romy

Kuya, we will forever miss you. I will just imagine that you are in Hayward.


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