Loss and gain

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


Michelle: My dad passed away unexpectedly. It was a shock to us and to many who knew him. The pain of losing my dad was unbearable and the sorrow too great. There were many who sent their condolences and one particularly struck me—“I’m sorry for your loss. It is God’s gain.” I agree. In fact, each passing day I have accepted the fact that my dad’s death is not the end but the beginning of a better life for him in his true home with the Lord.

My faith and hope in the resurrection gives me great assurance that my dad is truly alive and enjoying his eternal reward with our loving and merciful Heavenly Father. Jacinto Mariano Natividad Villarosa Mendez, a.k.a. Jack, was a kind of man who made a lasting impression on everyone who got to know him. He provided well for us by sending us to the best schools and when we were old enough to understand, he would narrate his life experiences—stories of how his family struggled to make ends meet, how he became a security guard and the businesses that he started, including Centurion Security Agency. Sunday meals were more stories about how he overcame life’s challenges. What impressed and inspired me was that hardships did not make him bitter but better.

DJ: Tito Jack definitely lived an inspiring life. When we reach our very end, we all want to be able to feel as though the life that we lived was a good, meaningful and happy one. This is the goal that we strive for every single day that we are alive. This means doing something worthwhile that has value not only to us but to other people. This means engaging in activities that has equal balance between personal meaning and that has meaning to others. Your dad lived all these and more. No doubt about it.

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M: In our nightly novena prayers, there is a line that reminds me that we should never take anyone or anything for granted. It says: “Life is short and uncertain.” We are all pilgrims in this earthly life and we never know when we will be called home. I have thanked my dad when he was still alive but I wished I could have done more than saying thank you.

Now that he is gone, I want him to know that my heart is filled to overflowing for all the sacrifices that he did for us and for all the effort he put in to make sure that we have a good and comfortable life. But more than that, I thank him for teaching us what really matters. Daddy, thank you for teaching us the values of integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion. I have learned so much from you and I appreciate all the things that you did for us, your children, whom you called your treasures.

My dad’s passing has left a void in our hearts. But because he was a man of great faith who instilled in us faith in the Lord and hope that all things work for those who trust in Him, we entrust him to God and pray that daddy will be looking down, see us with a happy and strong heart knowing that we will continue his legacy and not let his hard work go to waste. Daddy was loved by many, and his friends, rich and poor alike, came to show their love to him. As he would always say, “You can never throw away kindness.” That’s why the day after he passed away, our head guards group—they were so shocked and moved by his sudden passing—despite their limited resources, gave us a substantial amount of their hard-earned salary. I was moved to tears by their kind gesture.

As my brother-in-law John wrote in his sports column: “We will lay to rest a man who loved to the fullest, laughed every problem away, rose from rags to riches with humility; a man who could make the most serious of frowns smile, who commandeered a squadron of Centurions.” I miss you, dad, but I know you are in a better place where there is no more pain and suffering. To my dad, my hero, my ardent supporter, my friend, I love you. Till we meet again.

DJ: Tito Jack certainly taught us to live life with all our strength and passion. It truly makes sense that while the ember is still lit, we should all fan it to flame even if all we have is to love boldly and laugh boldly. Because we only pass this way once. We only have one chance to write our life story. While we cannot decide its ending, we are in charge of the plot. So let’s live life to the fullest. And like tito Jack, let’s live it now.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 10, 2014.

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