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IN MY EYES: Farewell, Sir Buddy…

I don’t know how to start this column.

My eyes are moist, fellas.

I can’t even see the letters. The keyboard is blurred.  It’s like everything around is blurry, too. I have to wipe my eyes once in a while. The bright bulb that usually lights the keyboard whenever I write for Tawid News Magazine seems dim this evening. Even the laptop LCD is not its usual self. The bright document background is dim, almost crimson. Something is wrong in me.

Ah, it’s parting time.

Farewell, Sir Buddy.

Why did you depart, too soon?

There are still works undone and the fields goldenly bow, all ready to harvest.

I read Ma’am Rose’s text once more. It was dated January 3, 2018, 10:11 AM.

“Good morning, Edward. I’m sorry to send you bad news today. Your Mang Buddy is now gone forever. The doctor declared him dead at 4:11 AM yesterday at the TriCity Medical Center, Pasig. Dina nalabanan diay asthmana, ading.

I pinched my arms if the words were really true.

I read the text again.

It’s still there.

Mang Buddy is Sir Salvador Espejo, my publisher and editor in-chief of Tawid News Magazine. He was one of the stalwarts of Iluko literature, a multi-awarded literary writer. My love story with column and news writing started with him when he started the business more than a decade ago with Saringit Chronicle where I maintained a column for several years. When it closed some years later, I concentrated myself teaching young students to write. From there, we triumphed in the division, regional and national levels in the DepEd’s press conferences.

But I did not stop there, fellas.

I sought for other media outlets.

Three years ago, I saw Sir Buddy once more.

“This is my third time to come here, looking for you. Please write a column for Tawid News Magazine,” he said.

And my love story with Mang Buddy resumed.

Tawid News Magazine had become my home once more. Visiting Tawid office was like a flashback of Saringit’s glory when we were editing under that familiar mango tree in front of the publication office, that when it rained, Sir Buddy would serve us hot coffee or choco.

Farewell, Sir Buddy.

You went too soon, why? Last time, you talked with me and Eden Alviar about the future of Tawid News Magazine, the travails it went through and your plans for us and for Tawid in the days ahead. Will you have a greater task under our overall Editor In-Chief there above?

To Ma’am Rose and your children, our most profound condolences.

Life’s like this and we cannot go against His plan, for we are just part and parcel of His creation. But Sir Buddy’s legacy shall live on in me and in the hearts of the people whose lives he touched and influenced.

British poet William Wordsworth had said it best long time ago for people like Sir Buddy:

 

A power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature’s dark abyss;
But when the great and good depart,
What is it more than this—
That Man who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?—
Such ebb and flow must ever be,
Then wherefore should we mourn?

 

Farewell, Sir Buddy.

My Tawid News Magazine experience with you is your legacy to me.

Perhaps, someday, we will meet again and continue what you have started, for our lives are not in our hands, but in the hands of Him who has power over the destinies of men and nations.

 

And a day less or more
At sea or ashore,
We die—does it matter when? (Alfred Tennyson)

 

Farewell, sir.

‘Til we meet again.

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