In life there is nothing more final than death. Death brings pain that transcends the physical; it brings anguish that crushes the spirit through our suffering hearts that grieves for the departed.
Death brought by violence – brought by the lurid, demented, maliciously hateful mind spawned by evil – causes not only suffering of the heart but also a hunger for justice to be served, even to the point of committing ruthless retribution. It is painful to have someone that we hold so dear die so badly.
Such is the pain and the hunger kindled by the death of Gino Zambrano for those who knew and loved him. Such is our loss. Such is our pain. Such is our thirst to avenge his death.
He was still in the prime of his youth, only 26; so young and taken from us so early, gunned down so senselessly. A rising politician. A lawyer to be. So much promise, but alas, that promise could no longer be realized. He was taken from us, but our memories of him will always remain and will nourish us in our times of loneliness, in our times of despair.
Gino was a gentle soul.
A kind soul.
A loving soul.
He was a peaceful man, always wanting to end a conflict harmoniously, amicably. We had served together in an election campaign once, he kept his cool when everyone else, including me, were already spouting expletives and clinching our fists ready to introduce it to someone else’s face.
Gino was a great guy to be with, always smiling, always kind. He always had this huge toothy grin and an infectious excitement for the joys of life. That is the picture that always comes to my mind – a happy Gino.
He was not a perfect man, to be sure, he had his own set of faults that all humanity is bound with from our first breath, but he came very close to be one.
I do not presume to know what Gino would have liked us to feel, or to be, or to do; only the Lord and Gino really knows that now. But knowing Gino, he would not have liked it for us to feel bad for him; he would not have liked it for us to do bad for him. He was a good guy. A great guy! It would not be an apt way to honor his memory by doing something he did not stood for.
He stood for justice.
He stood for goodness.
He stood for love.
Let us honor him by seeking justice out of our love for him; not vengeance out of our anger for his untimely death.
Let us honor him by doing good, by being good; not by repaying an evil deed by an evil deed.
Let us honor him by loving and continuing to love.
Let us honor Gino by being the man that he was and by striving to be the man he could have been.
Let us honor Gino by living a life of value for others and for ourselves, just like he had lived a life that gave value to ours.
To those that grieved his passing:
Do not pity the dead. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love and who had failed to live a life worth living.
Gino certainly lived with love and we loved him back in turn. Gino certainly lived a life worth living and we can only aspire to live as he had lived.
A writer wrote a long time ago that “All the love that history knows, is said to be in every rose. Yet all that could be found in two, is less than what I feel for you.” I have read that poem years ago, and yet I did not appreciate it, until you came along.
How shall I say this, ahmm, I’m not used to loving someone as deeply, as madly, as eternally as I love you. And I’m not used to not having control in the relationship I’m in, “I’m the boss!” as I always say, but well, sometimes fate does make fun of us sometimes in such cruel ways.
I just found myself loving you to the point beyond control, beyond what sanity dictates; I’m no longer the boss, that is for sure.
At first, I tried to fight it, I tried to resist. I told myself so many times to just go away, to just leave, that the pain is not worth it. I guess my heart overruled my brain in some way, for the steps I took to be away from you just led me nearer, closer; and my love hotter, fiercer, stronger. Funny how love works, I’m not used to losing control. But here I am, a slave to my love for you.
But, if this be slavery, then let me be a slave forever. If being a freeman means that I would lose you, then let me be bound in ball and chains just as long as we could be together.
You are not the kindest of mistresses, I tell you. You always find a way to get past my defenses, and BAAMMMM, you always end up hurting me. I never cried over a girl for such a long time, and it’s a strange feeling to experience it again. It’s like walking in on a rain with your best clothes on, annoyance creeps in, then anger, then sadness, and suddenly and inexplicably, feeling refreshed and happy afterwards. That’s how I feel. So, come rain or rough weather in our relationship, I always find myself walking the way that will lead me to you.
I am happy, truly happy, for once in a long while. And for that I am thankful to you, my love, my little sunshine.
I love you, much more than what love two roses can hold in an eternity.
My father shared this little story to me, allow me to share it to you in the hopes that you will find something good out of it.
There was once an old holy man living alone in the edge of a desert. There were once many hermits like him who lived there in self abnegation and in deep spiritual contemplation. However, one by one, all the others left, unable to take the cruel heat and the constant lack of food and water.
One day a young man went to the holy man for some wisdom and guidance. As he was about to leave, he asked the holy man “Honored sir, may I ask how come that you still stayed here even though others had already left?”
The holy man replied, “My dog saw a rabbit one day and chased it. The other dogs saw my dog running and so they ran after my dog. One by one the other dogs stopped until only my dog remained.”
The young man thought this over for awhile and yet could not find in it the answer to his question. “Honored sir, how would that story answer my question?”
“You see, young man, only my dog saw the rabbit,” replied the Holy man with a smile.
After telling this story my father asked me, “Do you see the rabbit? Or are you just running because you see others doing it? Find the reason first why you are doing what you are doing before you start running, or you will end up like the other dogs.”
The purity of an individual’s intentions in making a decision is one of the keys in making the right choice. I believe that in every decision we must give weight to the urgings of our conscience, thus, the constant struggle to do what is right is a personal war against our selves. Our actions, which are the manifestations of our decisions, should be directed for the nourishment of the soul and of others.
Some seek to be a man of success, but success at what price? Our aim should be to be of value and not merely to be successful; our life should give more value to the lives of others and to our being. Our existence should give something good to the lives of others, for in so doing we also give value to our lives.
There are things in life that we must accept. Death is one of those.
The moment we start to live, we also start to die. Death goes hand in hand with living. Death is ever constant and ever present. Unchangeable. Unbendable. Immutable. It will happen to us in due course, whether it be now or tomorrow or the next. Even the stars, in their vastness and brilliance and majesty, will ultimately die. We must accept death because it is a fact of life, just like we must accept that a rock is a rock and not a tree; because it is what it is, no matter how we believe or wish for it to be otherwise.
However, there are times when the death of someone makes it so much harder to accept than most. That someone whose radiant presence in our lives gives so much more vividness to our existence and their sudden absence from it casts us into utter darkness. That someone whose presence in our lives raised us to the very heights of being and their sudden absence left us desperately falling into complete sorrowful oblivion.
Jimnah Torrepalma was that kind of someone for so many whose lives he had touched and who he had shared his life with. He was a joyful soul with such a zest for life that his sudden death left us reeling in disbelief. He was so full of life and vibrance that the news of his death is still unbelievable to my ears. I remember him most as that boy who was constantly smiling mischievously and always had a ready grin for his friends.
I still remember chatting with him on Facebook when he just graduated from the Philippine Military Academy, I was so proud of him then and more so now. I am proud of him because he died doing what he loved; only a few could claim that and I can only aspire to go the way he did, God willing. Though, we grieve his early death – he could have been so much more, and he could have been with us a lot longer – I guess, it would be selfish for us to think that way. Maybe this is God’s way of honoring such a good man, after all, those who die young sins less; and as I know Jimnah, he sinned least of all.
In the end, we must accept. We must be at peace with his death, no matter how hard or painful it may be. We must strive to rise from our sorrow and banish the darkness of our despair.
To those that grieved his passing “Do not pity the dead. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.” The very truth that we are grieving his death is the greatest thing anyone could ever say, for it means that he has truly lived a life worth living for he has loved and we loved him back in turn.
This is for airing the things that we often forget and yet never truly forgotten, the things that we seldom give importance and yet fills our lives with more meaning and vibrance. This is for those thoughts that are rarely spoken aloud and yet in its hushed whisper it shouts out to our minds and resonates in our hearts.