IT’S BEEN three days since my ex-husband and father of my two sons, Barangay Captain Juanito T. Naig, Jr., passed from complications of prostate cancer, and still I can’t believe that he is really gone! A cancer survivor, I can’t stop thinking and imagining how it was with him when his condition started to deteriorate because of a massive internal bleeding. I don’t think he realized the severity of his condition because after all he was newly admitted to the hospital. Not even 24 hours had passed. His death was so sudden that my youngest son Jojo told me via FB Messenger that he wished it was just a dream!
Less than an hour before Kids (his nickname) went for the worse, Jojo was consulting with me whether he will agree or not for his father to be kept on respirator. He can’t decide, he said. I advised him that if it will help lessen his father’s suffering, then he should agree with the doctor’s suggestion. Soon enough Kids’ heartbeat became faint and he suddenly stopped breathing. CPR was done but it was too late!
Like any other cancer patient who is metastasizing too fast, Kids had a tumor overload. The tumors were everywhere and some started to burst, the reason why he had a massive internal bleeding. Prior to his hospitalization, he was already vomiting blood and he was also urinating blood. His tummy was also full of hematoma (bruise) patches. And yet, as per Jojo’s recollection, his father still wouldn’t go to the hospital and was actually on his way to the Municipality of Hamtic in order to attend a Sanguniang Bayan’s session that day, August 19, 2001. He was the elected President of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) and that gave him the privilege to be among the Municipality’s decision makers. Mapatag, where he was born, is one of the 47 Barangays of Hamtic.
Jojo related that as they were nearing the town of Hamtic, his father said that he was not feeling that well and asked instead to be taken to the hospital. Upon admission he was declared 50/50 and immediately was taken to the ICU. The doctor afterwards told Jojo that his father’s condition is dire and it is too late to do something to stop the bleeding in order to save his life. He said that they can only opt on making him comfortable while waiting for his end, the so-called palliative care.
Kids was born a leader. His peers gravitated to him like a magnet. He was very popular among the young and the old alike in Mapatag. He was carefree and easy going, and known to be a spoiled brat, he always got what he wanted. He married very young. At 19 years of age, his mother had to sign in agreement for him to be legally bound in marriage. And this happened on May 2, 1981 at the Office of the Mayor in Tobias Fornier, Antique. It happened too fast and it was like we were on a whirlwind!
I got connected to him initially when I chose him to be that “lost sheep” who I would “bring back to the fold.” My father, who was the Minister of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Mapatag concocted an idea of starting a project which would increase the membership of the church. He called it “Bringing the Lost Sheep Back to the Fold.” I felt accomplished when Kids soon afterwards started going to church and he even joined the choir. Our friendship gradually developed and as we continued to regularly connect with each other we soon got attracted to each other and I was swept unaware into a romantic entanglement with him. I had a boyfriend then who expressed his intention to ask my parents for him to marry me. He was a professional working overseas but we communicated very often. In fact we exchanged letters two to three times a week then.
It was meant to be and despite my parents’ opposition to our union I went ahead thinking that I will be able to change Kids for the better. I was wrong and it was too late when I finally discovered his immaturity and his irresponsible ways. Because of his strong attachment to his peers, he acted as if he was not a husband and father. He would always leave me and the children in the house alone at night and for days. He preferred being with his friends more than being with us, his young family. In fact, he missed the birth of our two children and he also missed visiting our eldest son Jopet in the hospital.
Long story short, I ended separating from him in 1989. I have related this part in a narrative I originally wrote and published on Live Journal. You can read it here: My Not So Ordinary a Life – A Blessed Life (fredacontreras.com). I also briefly mentioned my failed marriage in the following blog story: A Long and Lasting Love – A Blessed Life (fredacontreras.com).
Every life, for me, is precious, and it is especially so in the case of my ex-husband because he is the father of my only two children. He finally found his purpose in life after he ran and got elected as Barangay Captain of Mapatag. His life, despite staying single, suddenly became meaningful. But alas, he left his earthly body too soon! His leadership skills were really put into use and everybody is in awe of his outstanding performance. He will surely be missed and I, for one, is very sad, because he left our children fatherless! I pray for the eternal repose of his soul.
Rest in peace Kids!