Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Final Note

Monday last week AJ was rushed back into ICU. Tuesday evening we got that fateful message: Come to the hospital to see him one last time. We agreed to go at 5pm the following day.

Wednesday afternoon found Migs, Gibbs, Tony and I at the Intensive Management Unit of Medical Center Manila. As per hospital policy, we could visit AJ one at a time. His mom accompanied us one by one. We were told that AJ couldn’t talk because of the respirator, and because he was heavily sedated, he would just drift in and out of sleep.

The first to go in was Gibbs. While they were inside, he and Mommy had a fright when the machine hooked up to AJ suddenly sounded an alarm. The nurse immediately assured them that it was a regular alarm that was set to go off at intervals.

Tony was the next to visit. His was very uneventful; AJ was asleep the whole time.

It was Migs’ turn. We noted that he took a longer time inside than usual. When he stepped out, I immediately went inside.

AJ was in the furthest room. His breathing was labored. I could see the struggle he was putting up. His will power is absolutely amazing; I have never seen anyone cling on to life as tenaciously as he did. I’ve seen him drag himself away from the jaws of death twice, but perhaps, after almost a year of being in and out of the hospital, it was time for him to finally rest and be at peace.

Then his eyes opened. He lifted his left hand, while his right hand moved as if gesturing that he wanted to write something.

Gusto mong magsulat?” Mommy asked him.

But apparently he just wanted to take the monitor clip on his left hand finger off. We told him to stop struggling. “Just rest and sleep, AJ,” I whispered to him. His eyes closed once more. And that was the last time I saw him alive.

When I stepped out of the room, the others were crowded around Migs. He was holding a one-fourth sheet of paper. Apparently when he was inside, AJ woke up and gestured for paper and pencil.

He had written a note to Migs. But perhaps because of the sedatives plus his weakened state, we could not understand what AJ, with whatever was left of his waning strength, had hastily written down.

AJ suffered a cardiac arrest Thursday evening; earlier, the Fabcasters had held a benefit dinner to help raise funds to defray the mounting hospital expenses. We finished the dinner at 11pm, relieved that we didn’t hear word from the family. It was around 11:30pm that AJ had the cardiac arrest. AJ managed to make it past midnight. He died a day away from his 29th birthday.

Friends and relatives have taken a look at the note, trying to decipher AJ’s last message. Five days after he died, he was buried this afternoon at a cemetery in Pasig.

Until now we still have no idea what his note meant.

We Fabcasters already have a running joke. In our next Fabcast, we will conduct a seance to contact AJ. So don’t be surprised if in our next recording, you would hear the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery chant: “Charoterang isprikitik, umappear ka vahkler. Magpa-feel, magpasense, ditey sa mga Fabcaster. Witiz intindey ng udangchi ditey ang notrabelles mo, marz, na super kalerkey!

Be even more surprised if you hear AJ’s voice say, “Hellooow!” after that chant, and the rest of us screaming and running away.



Will said...

I don't personally know AJ, but judging from the amount of people who tweeted and offered condolences to his family, he must have been a very nice person. And I love how you inject humor at the end. :)

Nathan Arciaga said...

This is beautiful McVie. I don't know any of you personally but I was a follower of AJ's blog and I kinda feel that he may have cringed at all these maudlin tributes had he been here to read them. I think he'd be the first person to crack a joke about everything that has happened.

Here's to a great guy and the short, but sweet life he lived.