I write mostly about happy things, but sometimes it gets tough as you probably know. One of the toughest things is when you lose somebody you love. My uncle, Tito Boy, passed away last week. And as hard as it is to write this, I can’t pretend that everything is alright. He’s the man in the middle in the photo above. My Mom and Dad and brother Roby, are on the left. Also in the photo is my beautiful late grandmother (we called her Mita), my cousin Lani, my Aunt Nona and my late godfather, Dexter.
Tito Boy was a fixture of my magical, small-town childhood. He loved me, my siblings and my cousins like he did his own kids, and was beloved by all of us in return. He was a sugar planter and a businessman, and was one of the gentlest, most patient people you could ever know. His favorite uniform consisted of faded jeans, sneakers, and a baseball cap, that shaded his tanned and freckled skin. A giveaway of his love of a simple life near the sea that he loved so much.
Nearly four years ago, he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease. His health waned steadily. And although he had bravely survived Typhoon Haiyan, the storm took such a massive toll on his spirit and on his already fragile health. We kept hoping that he would somehow recover, but he never did.