I could never mourn for Steve Jobs’ death, co-creator of Apple, as I never had any of his creations, like most of you do. I am, after all, nothing but a simple white collar worker who can’t speak of iOS updates or any application making the world squabble into mad frenzy in present state. In fact, I never knew the man before the massive reports on his death. But I do lament the fact that he passed away, not only because of his contributions to modern technology, but because a world died with him.
So I’ll mourn instead for simple people like me whose lives quietly lived though never had the chance to be heard the way Steve Jobs’ was, those who crave nothing but chance to live though denied, those who passed away that are not remembered and those who don’t get 10, 000 tweets per second, mourning about their death. This is for them.
Who would’ve thought that a Boy Scout’s uniform would mean so much for a kid like Ramsel? He was a 6th grader in Cebu, and in school, he was probably the subject of the other boys’ teasing for a mere crime of not wearing the honorable scout uniform. But Ramsel couldn’t do anything about it. His parents are away and he used to live with his grandmother and two other siblings. His teacher recalls him saying in Cebuano, “Ma’am, I want to be with my Mama and Papa.” The next morning, Ramsel was found hanging lifeless from a mango tree inside the school compound, a nylon rope tied around his neck.
Then there were stories of those who didn’t survive while simply trying to survive. Like the one that happened in Calumpit, Bulacan. As the flood surge into countless homes and fishponds and rice fields, Fred Tolentino, clutching a plastic-full of food for his trapped relatives, was overpowered by the raging water. He drowned.
The same fate met the three siblings from Iloilo. Eagerness to attend school despite the staggering distance from their home, brought demise, sending what seem to be an entire family’s dreams into crumbling dusts.
The teachers sent the kids home early to avoid the dangers the coming storm might bring. Michael, Mark and Marielle’s parents were late for fetching, so they opted to walk the muddy dirt road and braved cross the river. Sadly, they never made it. The waters of Nagpana River claimed the young lives of the three, as well as the other four. One body still isn’t found by the rescue team up ‘till now.
While others died nameless, others die without knowing their name. Just recently, a vagrant or what we locals love to call “taong grasa,” while trying to cross the wild traffic of EDSA, probably still lost from swirling thoughts that was never known, was crashed into death by a blazing Mitsubishi Pajero. But some stories cast a faint ray of hope in a clouded gray sky of misery. Like the one that continuously try defy death. Take Pao-pao’s story.
Pao-pao is a mischievous kid. He smiles like an ordinary kid would do. He jumps and run around like any other kid would do. At first glance, he looks like an ordinary 4 year-old kid, the one that smiles a lot and the one that loves playing with fellow kids. But Pao-pao was born with a congenital heart disease. His heart got two holes in them.
“We did everything,” Pao-pao’s mother, Mia, said. They couldn’t understand at first why Pao-pao, their first and only child after eight years of trying, had to endure such kind of suffering. At one point, Pao-pao was pronounced dead by the doctors after a serious attack. Only seconds later, his fingers miraculously moved, and he was revived.
Any time soon, Pao-pao is about to undergo his total correction open heart surgery; hopefully his last. “He seems to be fighting bravely,” Mia said. So she and her husband Joseph are also fighting bravely.
Mia got many dreams for Pao-pao. “When he grows up, I just want him to be helpful of the others and always God fearing,” she said.
I do not wish to belittle Steve Jobs’ death. But I find it more lamentable that every day, many people die of poverty, of injustice and of selfishness and no one seems to care. Their names might not be as huge as Steve Jobs’ but their lives are as significant and as great. We may not have iPhones, iPads and Macbooks but our stories are just as inspiring, though sadly, no one cares to listen.
Steve Jobs’ said, “no one wants to die.” “Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to do to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.” Reading this, I had a curious thought that maybe, Steve Jobs’ understood all lives are just as equal and just as sad as it fall into reality of death. I just wish more of his followers and sympathizers are the same.
With reports from dzMM and Philippine Daily Inquirer. Pao-pao's story is taken from ANC's Storyline. Watch Storyline on ABS-CBN every Wednesday after Bandila and every Thursday 9.30 PM with replays on Saturday 8.00 PM and Sunday 3.30 PM on ANC
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