“Death is not extinguishing the light. It is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”—Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Former Dumanjug mayor Nelson Gamaliel and incumbent Barili Mayor Marlon Garcia were my friends even before they ventured into politics. Before he became mayor, Nelson and I, along with our friends, used to hang out every night at a wine shop along Gorordo Ave. On weekends, I joined their group called “Golden Boys” (all senior citizens) at the old White Gold Department store coffeeshop at the North Reclamation Area. One of the members of the group is Nelson’s 90-year-old uncle, former Dumanjug mayor Tomas “Tom” Garcia. Nelson was a witty and humorous person. He cracked a lot of jokes that made his “audience” laugh.
I used to bumped into Marlon at several affairs hosted by the Capitol. We usually sat on the same table. He used to teased me, “Super Bobby, ang tinud-anay nga number one,” referring to the radio and TV rating competition. If he learned that I was in Barili upon the invitation of some friends, he would find time to meet me. Their brothers Byron, former Capitol consultant; Third District Rep. Pablo John; former Government Service Insurance System chairman of the board and president Winston; and their sister Gov. Gwen Garcia are also my friends.
Both Nelson and Marlon served their respective constituents well. Nelson was elected once as president of the Municipal Mayor’s League Cebu chapter. Marlon was into his second term. But now, both of them are gone. They died one after the other. Nelson died midnight last Sept. 1 at the Chong Hua Hospital. While the Garcia family was in bereavement over his death, Marlon passed away yesterday morning at the same hospital after several weeks of confinement and “fighting for his life.” It was Governor Gwen who announced that Marlon had Covid-19 last month. His last public appearance was during the opening of tourism activities in his town with the governor.
Nelson, Marlon’s older brother, was also infected with the disease, but he was already recovering and was transferred to an ordinary intensive care unit (ICU) from the Covid-19 patients ICU when he passed away. In his death certificate, his doctors certified that he died of pneumonia. In fact, the family held a wake for him at a local funeral parlor before he was buried.
In our telephone conversation with Gwen, when I inquired about the death of Nelson on the day the family announced his demise, she told me that Marlon was in the process of recovering. I don’t know why the worst happened. We are not really privy to their respective medical bulletins before they died. The only thing we can say is that Covid-19 is a treacherous disease. We should not be complacent and just take it for granted once infected with the disease. Experts says there is no current evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected or immune from a second infection.
‘To lose one brother is painful enough, but to lose another brother in the same week, my heart just cannot take any further. The true fighter that he was, my brother Marlon has been fighting for his life for the last few weeks. This morning, he joins my brother Nelson and my mother in heaven. My brother was a loving husband, son, father, grandfather, brother, cousin, uncle and a friend who served his people proudly as Mayor of Barili. I love you very much and I will miss you dearly, Marlon,” Winston posted on his Facebook account yesterday.
I know how painful and devastating it is to lose your dear siblings in just a matter of days. I can only sympathize with the family. But we have to accept it, as it is God’s will.
In Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Adios, my friends Nelson and Marlon. My deepest sympathy, condolences and prayers to the Garcia family.