Your death was my wakeup call

#JusticeforJustineRaphaelWee – Photo courtesy of The Hungry Giant

The moment I learned that you were shot by a gunned man while you were just buying your dinner one Saturday night—what could have been just a trivial event in your everyday routine—I was stunned. When many of our close friends have viewed it as an act of injustice, you being another victim of the senseless killings in our city, me, on the other hand, have viewed this situation in an entirely different context.

For the past few months, I have been wasting my time. First because I was having a bad financial behaviour, still don’t know how to manage my pay. Thus, spending my weekend solo every other week, trapped in my bedroom of white walls and orange curtains. Then, there’s this sin called sloth. Even if I allowed myself to be stuck in this white, lonely room, I still could’ve done thousands of other things. Like write my novel. Like clean the room. Or, even if I only have one five peso coin quiescently tuck inside my purse, I could’ve still went outside for a walk and appreciate the towering buildings along Ayala Avenue. I could’ve lost a lot of calories without spending a peso. Instead, I lie down in my small bed, swarmed by dozens of things that could have made each minute worth it, and stare at the empty ceiling. That was what I was exactly doing before gathering the strength to check my phone, only to read series of messages, announcing your tragic departure.

I was stunned. At first, I felt rage, fury. Nobody has the right to steal a life. Everybody will soon die, I know, but not this way. It’s unacceptable. It’s ridiculous. That gunned man made a tremendous mistake of choosing you as his victim. One tremendous mistake. We will not let this go unnoticed. Then I broke down.

Suddenly, there was clarity. Your death has sent me an underlying meaning. Your death, your sudden death, was my wakeup call. It’s a grave sin to waste precious time God bestowed as a gift. I was supposed to value my time, value my self, value the people who care, value my life. God has been telling me this for the longest time, even maybe since the first time I felt I was having a miserable life. Nobody knows when my time is up, but I’m alive and I am to live life in his image and likeness. I’m not merely existing. I’m alive. I have a life to live.

So thanks Jad. Back in grade school and high school, even in college, you were always the one who’s been so supportive of my crazy dreams. You even call me Direk Jo B and I saw how proud you were when I bagged the Best Director award of our department’s Film Fest back then. They say we can only make our dreams come true, if we wake up and stir things. Your death was my wakeup call and I will make sure I will never spend my days sleeping around, lying in my bed, staring blankly at the empty ceiling. I don’t want you to haunt me you know. Laughs. Rest well, Jad. Until we see each other again.


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