Yesterday, I lost a friend to cancer. I was devastated. She has been fighting and in pain for a year and now the battle is over and she is pain-free. It took a whole day for me to succumb to the fact that she’s gone. I want to honor her and remember her not as the lady who was in pain but as the energetic person I have come to respect and love. What can I do? How much can I say? I’ve known her for more than a year but I only had a close relationship with her as my superior for two months before she underwent a surgery. Then I had to take a leave due to sensitive pregnancy and when I returned she had to undergo another surgery. I have been reading through the posts that my colleagues who’ve had longer, deeper relationship with her share their love and grief for her. How much can I say?
Dada’s a strong personality. Straightforward, energetic, loud, no-nonsense type. That was my first impression of her and probably a lot of people. She was more than that.
Dada had a gift. She saw people for what they are and knew how to reach out to them exactly how they want or need to be. She knew the right words to say and she says it in a different manner for each person so they would understand. She was genuine and true to the point of being brutally honest that you will end up forgetting being emotional and instead telling yourself “sh*t, she’s right”. She tells you the words you needed to hear. As her direct report, I felt she had knack on reprimanding me but instead of feeling bad about her, leaves me a feeling of motivation that I should do better. As my colleague put it, she taught us to be the better us and she taught us well.
Dada was someone who knew how to have fun. I see her a lot of times playing candy crush in the middle of a meeting but when asked for her opinion or report, she’s ready. Pretty cool, huh? She was awesome.
Dada was genuinely caring. Brutally honest as she was, she only means the best for you. She was straightforward and never misses a chance to correct things as she sees or learns about them. As a boss she gave tough love but the kind that your will embrace. She always had our backs. She was generous…with everything: her food, her stories, her life, her wisdom, her time. She thinks of the people around her and maybe even finds time to reach out to them. Dada was one of the most kind-hearted persons I know. She was thoughtful, remembers special occasions that are important to other people. She’s like the older sister who’s strict and badass but will always care for you. This is how I have fully given my trust to her. Would I have entrusted my life to her? You know what, I would have.
She was a badass. Even in pain, she was such a badass. I regret not seeing her when she was still able and we can still talk. I would text her and ask her how she is and she wouldn’t reply. I knew she wasn’t doing well but maybe she didn’t want me to worry because I was pregnant, giving birth, just gave birth or taking care of the kids. That’s her. She’s a badass but she will always think of other people first before her. She will not say she’s in pain even if she was. She was a brave, brave badass until the very end.
I know other people closer to her would have so much to share about her. I do envy them for having created more memories with Dada but I am grateful to have her to call my mentor and my friend. She picked me up when I was at my lowest and I had almost no self-efficacy left about my career. She made me feel and realize I am better and I can be better. She supported my decision of becoming a full-time mom and was genuinely happy for me. She was always excited to listen to my stories about my family because she knew it’s what’s important to me. She never failed to me make me and the people around her smile whether it’s her funny, sarcastic comments, words or wisdom, or her tough love. This is how I want to remember her. I want to remember how much impact and inspiration she made in my life even for such a short period of time.
I don’t think there’s internet in heaven yet, but this is to honor the awesome person that she is. This post is for other people who knew her to remember her this way too. This is for those who didn’t knew her well or doesn’t know her at all to share how wonderful she was. This is to let you know how a kind heart, strong faith, honesty, and genuine care for others can have a great impact to others. It creates respect, love and trust to other people. Dada did not leave anything material to me but she left me with these memories and the inspiration to follow her steps and pay it forward. She taught me to be kind, and be brave, have strong faith, be genuine and to have fun.
When I visited her last Saturday, Portia said she’s such a superstar because of all the friends coming to visit her. She was. Now the star has gone home to the heavena and I bet on the night when all the stars are bright, she will be shining the brightest.
She was Geraldine Antoinette Dela Cruz. Dada to most, a daughter to her parents, love of her partner’s life, a friend to a lot of people, a sister to those closest to her. She will be missed. She will always be loved.