Wednesday, May 19, 2004


On my way back from a client meeting in Ermita, I got a message from Zach Yonzon about Chuck Basilio. To my shock, Chuck passed away last night after suffering 3 successive heart attacks. He suffered one, got revived, suffered the next, got revived, and finally succumbed to the last one.

What I remember: his deep voice (he was a TV commentator and DJ), his joie d'vivre and his drive for fiction (during the time when the Palanca Awards had no restrictions on the number of entries, he deluged them with a boatload in a single year - and won). We got to know each other when he was a Magic player and I was the DCI Head Judge, and he always made me smile with his happy play style.

He died younger than me.

I feel terrible about this because part of me will always be the paternal Magic Coordinator, responsible for all the people who played in my tourneys. In addition, the utter senselessness of death when it comes so early makes me take another look at my life, what I have, what I've done, what I've given, and it makes me realize that I want more time, more days, more years to do things, to create, to live, to love, to grow.

It also made me consider the nature of my memory, how I seem to lose so many details, leaving only the most general of things in my head. I think that when a person dies, the part of me that remembers slowly dies too, as if my memory requires the living person to keep the memories alive - or perhaps I forget to reduce the pain, I don't know.

When you think about all the people you personally know, you'll be surprised at how small that number is (no, you do not count your Friendster acquaintances). As I grow older, I am aware that I make less and less quality friendships, relying instead on the circles of friends that I already have.

As the numbers dwindle, I diminish too.

My grandmother has this habit of scanning the daily obits to see which of her friends have died. When she spots one, she cuts it out of the paper and then makes herself a hot drink. Then she sits quietly in a corner and looks into the distance, seeing what only she knows.

For me, I write. Perhaps to remember, but most likely to show that I am still alive.


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