Death Woke Us Up

It’s been a few months since my best friend, Johsthony, told me about his father’s battle with lung cancer, and today, Johst was scheduled to go home to talk to his father. Johst had his usual sleepover in my place, and around 5:30 in the morning, we were awaken by sound of a phone call. I got up to prepare for my 7:00AM shift, while Johst talked to his brother and sister and, then, his father. After taking a bath, I found Johst in front of my laptop, browsing his Facebook timeline casually.

“You okay?” I asked him.

He nodded and said yes. Then, he looked and me and said, “Can I ask you a favour before you go?”

“Yes, of course,” I responded, “what is it?”

“Later,” he said, “I’ll tell you before you go. Just dress up and tell me when you’re going.” He replied, casually browsing his Facebook.

I complied and hurriedly dressed up top avoid being late. When I was ready, I asked him, “What is it, then? I am going now.”

He looked at me and said, “Can we pray? Together.”

That took me by surprise. We do not usually pray together. We usually pray individually seeing how we are from different religious backgrounds. “Sure,” I said. “What about?”

“My family, my safe trip home, anything,” he answered.

“Come,” I reached out his hands and asked him to sit on the bed with me so we can pray. I thought he was just nervous about his going home and seeing his father in the hospital.

I prayed. I asked God to keep Johst safe on his way to Calatrava and to help them get through it all, these tough times. A part of my prayer, I said, “I know asking for Tito John’s recovery is beyond asking, so please give Johst and his family the courage and the fortitude to go on fighting,” to which Johst started crying. After I finished praying, Johst said he’ll pray as well. While mine was more of requests, Johst’s was full of thank-yous for all that God has given us and our families. He actually began his prayer by thanking God for the new morning we had. Half-way his prayer, he began crying even more.

After his prayer, right after we said “amen,” he told me that Tito John has passed away. I was shocked. Before I went to the bathroom, I heard him talking on the phone; he was talking to Tito John, saying he’s going home to meet him. It turns out, Tito John gave up after their conversation–after they talked on the phone. It broke my heart. I did not know how to comfort him.

He cried, and I hugged him. I was willing to take the half day off, but he told me to go to work as he needs to go to Calatrava as well. I complied, respecting his need to be alone. As of this writing, he is on his way to Calatrava.

Johsthony and I have known each other since 2005, and we have been friends since. In fact, we are like brothers already, and seeing him cry like that was really heartbreaking. As far as I know, this is the first death in their immediately family, so it is very, very unbearable—like all deaths are.  It was just sad that they were not able to talk in person before Tito John passed away. Johst was supposed to go home and be with Tito John, but time was not in favour. They’ve been having tough times, and today is, perhaps, their toughest one. Death came to visit.

I do not believe in the heavenly afterlife, so I cannot say may he rest in peace of that he is in a better place now. But I do, however, believe that God shows his mercy to his faithful servants, and that God will remember him when the time will come that he will reward those who were faithful to him. For “if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:8).

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