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TRIBUTE. To A Baby Brother:  “The Lord gives; the Lord takes. Praised be the Lord”

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 18 October) — Benin was born on a Holy Thursday, April 8, 1971. He was a bundle of joy with his thick crop of hair and ever-present smile. His nickname evolved because he sort of loved to show his tummy. Nagpabudadot sa tiyan as we say when we tickle the new addition to the brood. Thus the name Dodot, Dodods.

He was Nanay’s boy. He was only 8 years old when Nanay went ahead. Who would ever think that some forty years later, he followed her in a manner nobody ever imagined.

His usual expression when we admire him for his skills – “Aw, wa gud ta’y inahan; ningkamot gyud ta.” With his hearty infectious laughter, one can then hold back tears.

18beninHis character was marked as “wa’y kurat.” Cool as a cucumber. Or maybe in these times, cool as a papaya – as he seemed to have mastered the production of the crop that came into our farming lives only in recent years.

He was the quintessential farm boy. He always wore a joyful heart despite all the mud on his ragged shorts or denim jeans; slippers or cowboy boots. Not an angry bone in his being, so to speak. Ever gentle even if he was the giant among us siblings. He could troubleshoot and respond to life situations the way he could fix rusty motorcycles, cars, trucks, even tractors – or practically anything that has nuts and bolts. What more with bicycles.

He saw biking as a way out of smoking; but smoking overtook him. He was on his morning biking routine when he took his last breath. He went farther each time. He must have pushed himself too far as he was alone. We can only surmise as to where he wanted to go that fateful morning. We take comfort that he was doing something he was passionate about on those last moments. He died happy.

Bike on, Dot. See the places you’ve always wanted to explore, farther than the basakan, farther than the kapayasan; easily this time without gasping for breath. Keep watch upon your papayas, rice, woodworking projects, and the people who have helped you along the way and whom you have inspired to do the same.

Hover upon Venus and Baby Alex wherever they go. Hold their hands. Make them feel your presence. On our part we will do the best we can to take care of them while we are still in our earthly bodies. We owe it to you to be strong.

God blessed us immensely for giving you to us; with grateful hearts we give you back to the Giver of Life.

Babay, Budadot.


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