OH, MAI, MY MAIMAI
By ODON S. BANDIOLAWhen I am emotionally down with the passing away of someone, that would mean he or she is my close relative. He/She maybe someone so close to me as a friend, a colleague in the profession, or someone working with or working for me in an organization.
To heal and fill my emptiness and the sorrow it brought me with his/her passing, I resort to scribbling notes of my fond memories of her/his person.
Why do I scribble notes for Mai-mai in the immediate aftermath of her passing? It only means she is special to me as she is very special to anyone else in the entire SP family.
Why, Mai? Why do you have to leave us this early, at a very crucial and critical months when the SP family is too loaded enough as the year winds up with marathon legislative actions bannered by our review of Aklan’s 2016 annual budgets?
In your sickbed at the hospital suite, on September 13, 2015, in the morning, you sent me a text message which runs this way:
“Hi guys, gud am, leave lang anay ko dis whole week, sked of chemo ko is on Friday, Wel go der on Thursday, 2 kinds of chemo were presented to us, we’v chosen the one dat wud be just for 3 hours, the oder 1 wud require confinement 4-3 days, d dr. sed, mas mapag on tag ginpili namon though ms mahae, 6 sessions ro require but my case nga 3 sessions paeang man kuno my improvement na every month chemo ko,. 42Kk each.Tnx so much guys for all your help. God Bless us all!
Ok mai, you have all our prayers. Get well soon Mai! We love you”
“thanks so much sir (with 3 hearts symbol-meaning love, love, love)
“Ingatmai! For sure, I will be missing my kindest, most respectful and pliant staff”
“ ahaysi sir, ur making me cry…I’ll be back sir, alive and kicking… na mi miss ko na ang work sa opis sir and all of u.
Finally, she replied:
“Ok sir, see u d soonest”
Her chemo sessions did not materialize. She lingers in her hospital bed in the DRSTMH. And, “the soonest to see me” never materialized until her death because I refrained from seeing her in the hospital for fear of instead comforting her, fear maybe sown on her with my anticipated “ Good Friday” face facing her.
I do not know if Maimai had excused me for not visiting her in her hospital suite. Three days before her scheduled operation on Thursday, October 8. I had dreamt of her, the bizarre way, at dawn of Monday, Oct. 5. In that dream, I was pondering over her work station cubicle on what work I wanted her to work on! She was not there, but suddenly I saw her towards the office door about to exit. Before I can talk to her, she told me, “Sir, indi eot a kita magkilita pa”.
By then, she is being prepared for her second operation. By then, I was already entertaining to the reality of what she said in my dream, a dream like real, entering my third sense while asleep and wake up to it after she said, “Sir, indi eot.a kita magkilita, I had the gut feel that removing a 2-kilo tumor from her body can take a heavy toll on her fragile body, And that was it!
On a Sunday, noontime, about the time Maimai breathes her last, I was doing a laundry of my own clothes in between the dining table and the lavatory. I thirst and about to pour drinking water on a glass I put early in the morning on top of the table safely away from the table edges. Before I can even pour water, without even touching it, the glass suddenly swirled and down the table it drops, broken, Maimai entered my thoughts . And true, it was her omen. Fifteen minutes or so, Amy and Ophel almost simultaneously sent me a message .Maimai was gone. What a way Maimai bids me goodbye.
I, the SP family, lost a staff so kind, civil, respectful and productive. No hurting words can be heard from her in close to 10 years I was working with her. When she’s hurt with harsh words from peers and bosses, she does not retaliate, she meekly cries.
I used to dictate to a staff text of messages, communications, legislative measures, speeches and the like for print out.
Maimai is one of the few who can accurately capture my language that when it is printed, it often results to very few corrections.
Many times, when I have work related tantrums inside the office, Maimai would just gaze or stare at me without saying a word but obviously pleading to me to be cool and calm.
Thank you very much, Mai.
You will never be forgotten. We will be missing you. /MP