Goodbye, version A


My friendship with Maj Guanzon started with a cancer diagnosis. I guess when two seemingly opposites meet, it requires a spark to weld a real bond. In our case, it was not so much a spark as it is clap thunder. I remember my first attempt to offer her a text of support, drawing strength from my own share of cancer stories, fearing she will reject it because she did not know me, because I did not have any right to tell her: ‘Don’t worry group mate from Quanti whom I had never spoken to before. It’s all going to be okay.’ Such lame and stereotypical words of comfort. But reject me, she did not, and I guess that is the starting point.

And so we battled through the tense days of her treatments and our toxic final paper, to the day of her graduation from hospital confinement, to the return of the workaholic. From April onwards I had a high definition view of her passion and her kindness, her uprightness and loyalty, her quirks and her stubbornness. We got very close, very fast, and I would often wonder and ask her if she’d grow tired of me soon. She’d say, ”Of course not, you are awesome!” I’d roll my eyes and say, “You are biased.”

Thinking back, was my unease then a premonition of this early end?

There is no point in answering that question now, same as there is no point in denying the truth that she is, in fact, now a WAS. And in my first step towards acceptance, I go back to that first attempt. So that when people ask me how I’m coping with Maj’s death—and I enjoin all of you who love her in this—we’ll say, “It’s all going to be ok,” because “Ok” is such a general term, and that will do for the present. Tomorrow, we’ll still love you very much Maj, but we will be a little bit better.

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