I was at the Emergency Room of the Asian Hospital very early in the morning to bring my son who wasn't feeling well. Though it turned out to be a manageable ailment that had us out of there 4 hours later, I found myself witness to a very tragic development. Four teenaged kids, three of whom were our village "neighbors" at Ayala Alabang were brought to the ER after figuring in a violent car crash.
Unfortunately, all four kids did not survive. I could see, hear and feel the shock and anguish of the family members who had rushed to the ER for their loved ones. A deep sense of disbelief and loss pervaded even among the hospital Emergency Care crew. I'm certain that the hospital staff have seen many patients pass away in the ER but this time, it was different. These four young boys were in the prime of their lives. So full of potential and exuberance but now laying lifeless on the ER beds. The doctor attending to my son was one of the doctors who tried to revive the boys. I could see the sadness in his face and sense the breaking of his voice as he spoke of the tragedy.
I was deeply affected and saddened. Being a parent of kids in their teens, I empathized with the parents who were somehow wishing it was all a nightmare everyone in the ER would wake up from. Soon, however, I recognized one of the parents. The mother of one of the boys was Cheri, a close family friend from my high school days. Her son, Bruce was one of the four boys who died. My heart broke even more. It made the tragedy somehow personal.
I came to learn that these boys were the coolest skaters and who lived life to the fullest.
I also learned that the boys were the best friends of the son of Francis Macatulad, one of our friends from the running community. Francis' son was with the boys last night but decided to leave the group early to attend another party. That party saved his life.
Francis posted some pictures in honor of the boys which I have taken the liberty of sharing here to celebrate their lives.
Francis also posted a picture of the boys doing a group hug taken just three days before their tragic end. Thank you, Francis for sharing stories on how inspiring these boys' lives were.
This quotation was in the FB page of one of these boys. It captures how they lived their lives. It was perhaps their code of excellence:
"We are the lovesick. The fearless ones. The never giving up. The hearts undone. Sick with the desire to love. To live so far beyond the boundaries given to us. We are the fence-hopping fools who never stopped to read the signs. The ones that left the world behind like dreams we've drawn in neon light just moments in the sea of time. We are the lost ones wandering. The soon to be smouldering last to be found. The first to fall and fail to fly then shatter on the ground. We are the rebels running wild through a darkness that can swallow us. But we've set fire to our souls. Burning brilliant blinding gold. The flames that illuminate our lonely road. Our futures holding fates untold. We are the ever-refusing to fold. To fade away or worse to lose. The few that bend and break apart the cages of our rules. Born desperate for the promise of the mystery unknown. We are the lovesick. And just like the sun, we will always rise. Hope still shining in our eyes.."
Rest in Peace Bruce, Josh, Tim and Thomas.
Indeed the best of us die young. Each boy was a Prince. Fallen soldiers leading the Army of the Cool from the Kingdom of Youth.
Cherish and love your children. Show them that you do, always. Guide and point them in the right direction in life.