Uncle as he is a brother of my father.
Manoy because he is the oldest among the siblings.
We grew up calling him Uncle Manoy. Having him around would mean a haircut for the four boys--my 2 kuyas and my 2 other kuya cousins. Then, ice cream for everyone. Weekends would mean coins-- he would give me a whole bunch of coins he had accumulated from the weekdays of "pasada" with his tricycle. Dinners would mean inihaw bangus is the "ulam of the day" #uotd.
We know the sound of the engine throttle of his tricycle. Even from a bit far, we would all say "Andyan na si Uncle Manoy!" Then peek through the gate and see his vehicle approaching.
He was a bachelor. Never got married and in my entire life, I've never known him to be involved to any lady or woman. I asked my tita and all she said was, Uncle Manoy used to love a teacher when he was younger.
All his life, the only possession he has was his tricycle which he had to sell a few years ago before he moved to Masbate. It was hard to convince him to move in the province. But we know we had to. His Alzheimer's had started to worsenm and there will be days he would lose a shirt, the other pair of his footwear, or even where to go. We can't leave him wandering the metro and be lost for days. In the province, it felt safer. Everybody knows everyone and the streets too are less of a danger to roam around.
I knew him as a very generous and loving uncle. He never accumulated personal properties and estates because when he was alive, if he had spare funds, he would share it with whoever needs it. I remember him visiting my family more often back then when Papa met misfortune abroad and can't send us money. It was one of those hardest periods of our lives. We were very young and all going to school and Mama was alone to take care of us. Uncle Manoy would arrive in the afternoons bringing with him two, big pieces of bangus for dinner.
He would always encourage us to study hard and aim for honors. Honors would be rewarded with either an ice cream or cash. Then later on, our discussion evolved to finding the right relationship. Him, giving us advice to open up ourselves, get into a relationship and be with that someone to grow old with. That we should not follow his example anymore.
I could write more. But that means unstoppable shedding of tears. And I can't seem to organize my thoughts. It just keeps flowing. Besides, he doesn't like to see crying kids.
Even on his final days, he tried not to be a burden. He tried to act normal and waited for my other uncle to arrive.
Uncle Jose arrived early last Friday and saw him sleeping on his bed. They plan to bring him to the nearest clinic once he woke up. Later that day, when we was awake, Uncle Jose tried talking to him about it but he just open his eyes, he can't open his mouth anymore. He held Uncle Manoy's hand. He said he felt Uncle Manoy squeeze his hand and then felt him hold his last breath.
Today, as they send him to his final resting place, I can't stop myself from crying. Even if I try to act normally and continue with my activities as Uncle Manoy would want me to do, I can't stop myself from crying.
This year, I lost another good man in my life.
He was an incredible and selfless uncle. He would have been a wonderful father and husband.
Back in the days, we never really get to say goodbye to you because you leave very early in the morning. Even today, I never get to personally bid you goodbye. You might be somebody who rarely show attachment and affection, but I know you love us. All of us.
Goodbye Uncle Manoy. I've been missing you eversince.