I grew up in a family that was middle class in terms of
finances. My mother decided to stay home instead of pursue her career once
they started to raise a family. Dad worked hard to support his family and
mom tried to save a little bit of money while making sure we had enough
food to eat and clothes to wear. One of their greatest desires is to raise
decent, loving children who had an opportunity to finish college. To them,
enabling us to go to college would be their greatest bequest.
Of their four children, my brother, Gener, seemed to be the
most sociable. He experienced life by doing simple things that none of us,
introverts, ventured to do. His friends came from all walks of life. Mom
often thought he might be getting into some bad company. However, when we
needed any help around the house, we could always depend on Gener to find
just the right friends to come over and help us.
Gener never hesitated to learn new things. He tried his hands
at a number of things. He had an artistic hand so he went to fine arts
for awhile. He did a lot of screen printing for friends, often not being
paid for it. He also designed a new sports shoe that he never even thought
to ask for royalty. He simply took pride in showing his work to his family.
I often look at his creations and see the artistic hand, heart, and mind
behind it. Then, he thought he could do well raising chickens so he went
and lived with my grandmother doing that. Later on he decided to learn
computers. He became very good at it that the school hired him to teach
there after he completed his studies. By this time, my sister and I lived
far away from the family. Dad still travels due to his work. Gener was
teaching computers, while Eric, the youngest in the family was pursuing
computers, following Gener's footsteps.
I still remember the conversation my sister and I had one day with
my mother and brothers. Mom was very excited when he decided to join bible
study. You see, my parents are very keen about their religion and raised us
doing the same. You can feel how ecstatic my mom felt that her two boys
were going to bible study. Mom felt the boys were finally getting stable in
Gener did not have a history of any health problems from his
very young age to adulthood. In fact he was the picture of good health. We
often teased him that he looked like his idol Tom Selleck.
One day he came home from teaching, ate his dinner and informed
mom and dad that he was retiring to bed. That evening, my "healthy" brother
died suddenly of cardiac arrest. My father tried to resuscitate him, but
was eventually pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. My parents were
devastated. My mother took it very hard and so did my younger brother who
was often said to be his twin. If you were looking for one, just find the
other and you'll likely see them both. They were very good friends.
At the viewing in the funeral house, amidst the sadness, my parents
and brother felt so much pride. There were so many people that came, they
had to open two more rooms to accommodate them. Strangers to my parents,
each were relating a story of how they were touched by Gener.
A janitor came to say that practically everyday Gener brought
him a sandwich. Finally mom found out why Gener took so many sandwiches to
school! She often said that he would use up a whole loaf making sandwiches
and couldn't believe he could eat so much. Gener never told her what he did
with the sandwiches.
Then there was a man who came in bringing money saying that
Gener lent him some when he was down and out. Gener never asked him back
for the money.
From the school president to the janitor ... people came. And
because of his goodness of heart and deeds, my younger brother was awarded
full scholarship in the school as a tribute to my dead brother.
In the end, my parents realized that even at a young age of 26,
my brother lived a full life and was very instrumental in helping others
live theirs a little better.