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Friday, May 25, 2007

The Passing Away of a Good Man

I mourn.

When a man dies, those who love him weep. But when a good man dies, a multitude of people mourn and grieve for his passing. Such a man is Boy Ruiz. Manager of PLDT General Santos, Boy is known to many as GVR and to us, his former colleagues, as Boyaks. Amiable and hospitable as he is, Boy has made many friends even while working as a QC Inspector, as operations Assistant to the late Manuel Figura, as Manager of Zamboanga Exchange and, prior to his assignment at GenSan, as manager of Davao Exchange. He is well loved by his peers, his colleagues, superiors, subordinates and business contacts. Being fair and compassionate are among his best traits, not to mention being able to reach out to those who need his help but are either afraid or shy to ask.

But what makes a man a good man? It is when people closest to him attest to it. When dealing with people outside of one's own family, it is often a practice to put one's foot forward. But the people who feel one's stress, hate and disgust are the members of the family to which he belongs who in the process are hurt the more. In the case of Boyaks, his wife Lolit and children Jay, Giselle, Gail, Raprap and Henry love and adore him. Of course, he isn't perfect. Only God is. But, when you assign points to attitudes and characteristics, this guy's better side outweighs the other. Boyaks has been a good provider, a good husband and a good father, such that virtues are not to be heard but seen in his deeds. Even his children act in a manner that shows their breeding - with finesse but not aristocratic, kind and gentle but strong enough to face challenges - characteristics that he and his wife Lolit have molded them into. As I always say, you cannot hide the light. And when it is out, everything around it glows. Like Boy, the children emulate what they see and experience in their own family.

I remember how we used to have fun in Cebu. We had our "barkada" who would be busy during the VisMin Sportsfest as we were always part of the organizing committee. Not only during the sportsfest, our team was forever the working committee in every event or activity - sinulog, christmas parties, company launchings, etc. I was coordinator while Boy was the executor. I remember how we had won during a choir competition. He was always the binding force of the group. Even when he was inspector and people shun away from QCI people, feeling threatened by them and all, Boy managed to make people comfortable having him around.

We stayed in their lovely home a few days before he died. I texted him about getting a discount for a hotel somewhere in Davao but he insisted that I and my family stay with them for the whole duration of our vacation. It was a good idea. After all, aside from the fact that it will save us some money, we had not seen Boy nor Lolit for about 16 years or so. He was my officemate in Cebu and Lolit's office was just above ours. It was an opportunity to catch up with each one's life. Boy had texted me about not being able to meet us the day we arrived (May 18) because he'd be flying in from Zamboanga the same day. We were going to stay overnight at the Pearl Farm anyway so I told him we'd just meet them the following day when we would've checked out from the resort and would be staying with them already. So, from May 19 to May 21, we stayed at their home. We had a great time. Our hosts were very hospitable and kind, food was great and there was nothing more you could ask for. However, the part where we were supposed to catch up was not realized because from the day he left his home, Boy felt really sick. I remember how Lolit described the way Boy looked when he got back from Zamboanga. It was touching when he tried to get up to greet us but probably did not have enough energy to stay up that he excused himself right away. We joked about him being old and stuff and that he shouldn't be doing the garden for a long time because it would be hot and his blood pressure would shoot up. He said he felt a little better the day we left and was apologetic that he wasn't able to entertain us because of his condition. Of course we understood. We had spent a few minutes in their bedroom to get to chat with him a bit. I chuckled at how he thought my daughter was me when he called me while looking at her. "Manoy Boy nandito ako. Anak ko yan." and he said "Ay akala ko ikaw talaga." I call him Manoy because while working in the same department for the same manager, we learned that we are actually cousins.

After leaving Davao, I intended to call the family to ask how they were and to thank them again as they were lovely people that you couldn't thank them enough. But I wanted to surprise them with a little blog with some pictures and all. So, while I was writing my blog yesterday, just barely 3 days after we had we got back from davao, I got the tragic news from my husband. At the prime of his life, in his mid 40's, Boy passed away.

Looking back at how he insisted that we meet, the fact that they had gone to Cebu to have their properties fixed, how he had worked and almost tired himself at the garden in their home in Davao the day before he flew to Zamboanga, I guess he was trying to say something to us. The tragedy is a great loss to his family and friends and associates. However, I know that Boyaks will want everyone to move on after we have grieved. Gilberto V. Ruiz died but he left a mark in our hearts that will remain till we meet him again.

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