Here’s the message I gave on behalf of the Fabcasters during the memorial service for AJ yesterday. He was buried this afternoon.
On Wednesday, September 7, I visited AJ at the intensive management unit of Medical Center Manila. His mother, Tita Anne, has requested family and close friends to spend some time with him. By that time, AJâ€™s kidneys have stopped working, and his lungs and heart seemed to be going that direction as well. He was being given medicines to make the process as comfortable as possible. Everyone who visited him at the ICU found him sleeping, mostly because of the medicines.
When it was my turn to visit him at the ICU, accompanied by Tita Anne, I was jolted to see AJ suddenly wake up. He looked at me with wide eyes open, and because there were tubes in his mouth preventing him from speaking, he used hand motions to ask his mom for pen and paper. I tried my best to be calm even when the machines inside his room started making noises. Tita Anne asked me to get the nurses but AJ grabbed her, and insisted on getting him a pen. â€œRelax ka lang ha, Aying, relax,â€ Tita Anne repeated over and over as she got AJ his paper and pen. The machines were still beeping when AJ started to write. Despite being in an ICU room, the machines beeping, and all the tubes coming out of his mouth, I suddenly saw him as the usual feisty AJ. He was doing what he wanted to do, despite all odds. I saw him as he was writing his note on a one-fourth sheet of intermediate pad paper, even underlining certain words, dotting his iâ€™s and, towards the end of his note, using all caps and an exclamation mark for fabulous emphasis.
Tita Anne says AJ never had any other communication after that — he was asleep again most of the time, until the fateful cardiac arrest at 11:30 pm on Mama Maryâ€™s birthday. It is the last piece of written note that he left us. I have that piece of paper with me right now.
I am sure you are asking, what does the note say?
Through out the time he spent with us, our little group we call the Fabcasters, he left us notes too, in fact he gave us more than just notes – he left us recorded thoughts, in his own voice, soundbites, we call them. They reveal the wonderful, unique person that AJ Matela is. Iâ€™d like to share with you some of those soundbites now.
Let me now go back to that last written note that AJ left us. What does it say? Right after AJ wrote that note, as soon as Tita Anne handed the note to me, I saw AJ fall back again to sleep. I was left with the one-fourth sheet of paper, and had no chance to ask clarificatory questions. Some of the words are clear, some are not. I wish I could read it all out to you, but I cannot. One thing is clear though, he wanted to tell us something. He had a message for us. His life and his death are timely powerful messages for all.