The greatest soldier I've known
I sat beside him and there he was again, recounting ancient experiences and bringing back to life stories from his military days.
My grandfather liked to talk about helicopters and guns. He would even engage me in real-life battle scenes that sometimes I find it hard to breathe because of the sheer intensity of it all. Sometimes, he even told me about his out-of-this-world courtship for the love of his life.
I always sat beside him. It's our nighttime ritual.
I sat beside him while he watched basketball games, screaming at and threatening the referee as if he could hear him.
I sat beside him while he answered cross word puzzles and confusing me with deep Filipino words.
I sat beside him while we discussed and debated current news and events, including lottery winners and the love lives of teenage celebrities.
I always sat beside him while he talked about anything and everything that caught his interest.
I always listened to him intently and even asked questions although he never really answered them. He would pretend not to hear and continue to talk about his particular obsession. I'd wait for him to get sleepy and then kiss him good night.
I always looked forward to these moments.
One day our ritual ended. He suffered his second heart attack.
I couldn't sit beside him when he was rushed to the hospital. I was too anxious to sit so I stood beside him instead.
I stood beside him as he painfully panted and demanded to be brought home immediately. I stood beside him while he glared at me and blamed me for insisting to bring him there.
I stood beside him when he was already depending on a mechanical ventilator for his breathing.
I stood beside him when I whispered to his ear that he should never give up. He's a soldier, for crying out loud! He had been through worse! Why was this happening to him?
I stood beside when his hands got cold and his body turned paler and paler.
I told myself I would stand beside him until the very end.
But when the monitor beeped to zero, my heart jumped a beat. I couldn't stand beside him any longer.
The medical providers needed to revive him and we were ushered out of the intensive care unit. We prayed and prayed and waited for the doctor to tell us he was fine.
No such news came.
We were told that he had passed away and that no one could do anything to save him.
I rushed to him and saw his lifeless body there.
With a heart that threatened to stop and a body that threatened to fall, I approached him and gave him the tightest hug I could ever give.
Do you know what my first thought was? I’m never going to be able to sit or stand beside my grandfather anymore.
And with that, I let the tears fall until they could fall no more. - Rappler.com