An Open Letter To An Angel On What Could Have Been His 21st Birthday

My Dear Keith,

Happy 21st birthday in heaven, anak ko. I have no doubt you are celebrating this milestone in the kingdom of heaven with lighters all around you, and in the presence of all other angels. Perhaps, you have crossed path with Daddy Henry where you are, too.

Time has gone by really fast. You could have been 21 today. I always wonder how life would have been if you were still around. I wonder of the man you could have become being the boy who believed he could do anything because he could! Most of your friends are now in college. I know of one who is pursuing his Medical degree, one her Psychology degree and another her Culinary degree (or maybe Hotel and Restaurant Management- not entirely sure). Your best-friend, the last time I chatted with him, was pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry. Would you have pursued your passion in art or music, or would you have been a firefighter as you said when once asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Whatever you would have chosen to pursue, we would have supported you, and I'm sure you would have been great at it. Sometimes when I imagine you as a young adult, I can't help but feel the pain. After all these years, I thought that there will no longer be bitterness inside me, but somehow it creeps in especially in times when I am missing you the most. And I miss you the most when I am going through some difficulties in life- only because I continue to draw strength from you. Because you taught me how to believe that I can do and get through anything. Because until now, I still have so many "Whys". I thought that I have found the reason why God took you too soon, however the more I struggle with some things in life, the more that I am beginning to let go of what I initially believed in. Perhaps one day, God will finally shine the light and things will be completely fine. So, I will keep hoping and praying for that time to come. For now, I will continue to honour you and celebrate you in any way I can.

As I've done in almost 10 years, I lit a candle for you as soon as I woke up this morning. It has been my tradition to also listen to your favourite song "Lighters"- today, I played it three times. There is no doubt I wore your favourite colour blue as well.

I am glad that today, Meow and I were able to donate blood for the 10th time as we were not able to do this in January due to the pandemic. The lady who attended to me asked why I brought my toy with me. She wondered if it was because I needed comfort. Partly true, but also because Meow is a part of you. Somehow I felt like I needed to tell her about you and the reason why I was giving blood. She said she was sorry but honestly, it was (and will always be) fine because I am doing this for you. I am giving back because of you, and I am proud to be doing something in your memory. 

After we donated blood, I met up with Tito Gil and Belle. Tito Gil has fond memories of you, especially when you were a toddler. He loved taking you (with him) because you were easy to look after. You would go for a drive and visit some ladies, and you would just sit until you were ready to go home. You see, you were really never a trouble to anyone. Belle played with Meow for a while and she just kept saying "Meowmeow". I wish you were able to met her, too.

I spoke briefly to Inang and she told me that she prayed the rosary for you this morning. I chatted intermittently with Papa, Mama and your Adings throughout the day. 

Ah, I also tried the face app as I have been wondering what you would've looked like now if only you were alive, and it didn't surprise me as you have always been good looking. 

It's almost ten years now since you left us. I thought I would not cry anymore and I say this every time, however I found myself crying in the bathroom again today. No matter how hard I try not to cry, tears will somehow build up and naturally fall down. I guess I will just have to live with this.

As your earthly birthday comes to a close, I would like you to know that you are  and will forever be loved and remembered. Please continue to watch over your Adings. Please pray to God to keep them safe and healthy always, and Papa and Mama too. Please can you also help me pray to God to give Inang and Tatang more strength and the will to hold on a little bit longer until I see them again? You see, with what is going on in the world, it has been very difficult for me to go home and see them. This, amongst other things, is giving me so much pain and anxiety at the moment. There are so many things to say anak, but today is your day. I know it gives me comfort to write you letters, and writing was one of the things that helped me cope with your passing, however I should really be letting you rest in peace.

Thank you, anak. I love and miss you always.



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