A Tribute to my departed husband ORVILLE DUGADUGA BACARRO
December 12, 1957-July 7, 2018
And to those who STOOD BY and WITH US
Birth and Death are of EQUAL Importance (TNH)
BIRTH is a Miracle itself
Orville’s day of birth on December 12, 1957 must have been filled with overwhelming joy as parents Ben and Prescilla and grandparents, then- Rev. Alejandro H. Dugaduga and Rev. Regina L. Dugaduga welcomed the FIRSTBORN son and apo in the family. On his eighth day after birth, he was happily and gratefully OFFERED to God by his grandfather at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines- Panabo, Davao del Sur.
As a son
As the eldest in a brood of five, he was trained to be responsible in taking care of his four younger siblings. He experienced selling ice cream on push carts and took pride in shining shoes as his training in making money, which eventually helped him specially as a CAT and ROTC officer respectively. His strictness matched with love and concern for his siblings was apparent in many ways than one. This was greatly appreciated by his mom in the absence of their father, who used to work abroad for a period of time. His excellent skill in ironing/pressing clothes made me cringe in the past as I wasn’t good at it then. His singing prowess was simply a natural flow from his parents and grandparents.
As a husband
During our marriage in 1984, he admitted that he had so much to learn, so did I. We first met in UCCP when I was still in 1st year college. We were together in the choir. My first Bible was given by him. I attribute to him my “born again”/spiritual transformation experience. He was instrumental in my whole family’s spiritual awakening too. His increasing love for God, his family and others was evident in many ways. His generosity and care would range from taking time with us on a regular basis to being in charge of the nitty-gritty of being a husband.
At home then, he loved to landscape our abode in Jade Valley (washed out by two big floods though). He always took time to do menial work from plumbing, household chores to mechanical-technical work. I have been missing his morning calls, “breakfast is ready.” There were times that I would look for him in the morning only to find out that he’s out in the market for my favorite fruit breakfast. We used to walk or jog together or just enjoy dining together. The almost nightly massage after work is so cherished.
He was with me in my best and worst times. One well-remembered moment was when he, upon picking me up from my whole-day teacher’s board exams in 1998, told me that we would be out for a night swim. I got so surprised that I blurted out, “What! how can I… got no swimwear and am too tired after the day’s exams and the sleepless nights taking care of our son who was hospitalized on the week of my board exams.” With a great smile, he answered, “That’s already taken care of”…as he showed me my swimming paraphernalia.
When I cried in all my fears and worries, he was there…listening to me.
Countless were the times when he would take the load of doing the chores specially when I gave birth to our fourth and the two house helps were literally “fired” due to prevailing issues.
His last Christmas gift for me in year 2017 is a watch of my choice. My 2018 birthday was filled with joy as he gave me a bunch of sunflowers and other gifts. The whole family spent my birthday in a resort where we spent great memories together over the night, not knowing that, it was my last birthday with him around. (Thanks to Mm. Au of Balibali Beach Resort).
Last February 16-17, 2018, he surprised me with an overnight stay at a resort. It was a memorable time together with the gift of nature. Then…another pain attack while driving on our way home at the barge.
It was on February 18, 2018 that he forcibly drove me, amidst his pain, to UMSports Complex for the Opening Ceremonies of the first DAVRAA hosted by Davao City after visiting the house of our son in Catalunan.
As an organization president, I was invited to represent DAPRISA (Davao Private Schools Association) and be seated with the Regional & Davao City Divisions of the Department of Education heads -Atty. Escobarte and Dr. Asuncion, our University of Mindanao President-Dr. Guillermo Torres, Councilor Pilar Braga and other Private and Public School heads. It was after the invocation that my attention was called. My BREATH helped me stay calm as I found him with oxygen at the medical tent of the university. We were rushed to the hospital in an ambulance then but was discharged as everything seemed okay.
Despite his physical condition and with his on and off pain attacks, he would still care to give me gentle massage. From time to time he would just tell me “I Love you and I thank You.”
As a father
Becoming a father softened his heart and motivated him to expand his understanding and considerations specifically amongst his four boys. His natural love for music was handed down to them as at the age of 11-12, where each already knew how to play the guitar, thus, sing individually and as a quartet in their growing up years. His love for his sons was greatly expressed thru swimming, jogging, playing basketball and chess with them. When the kids were much younger, we often would go every year to CdO, Iligan and Lugait or elsewhere where there were promo offers, specifically in hotels.
Whenever the boys were sick, Orville was always fully awake for them while I would close my eyes and say a little prayer “Wake me up Lord if I have to.”
Orville had instilled discipline and responsibility amongst our boys. Whenever relatives and friends ask as to how did we ever raise our four gents, I would always attribute it to him. During the younger years of our sons, he would more often than not combine love and discipline when dealing with typical growing up boys’ mischief. He learned the value of “training up a child in their formative young years so they won’t depart from it when they grow up.” After times of literal spanking on the hind, with a warm and tight embrace, he would assure our sons of his love and support.
He loved to prepare sumptuous and healthy dishes for us. His first dish was sort of accidental, as he volunteered instead, to do my usual lechon paksiw. He added pineapple chunks and tomato sauce to my ordinary paksiw. When our first two boys tasted dad’s recipe, they exclaimed, “Wow, sarap! Sana si daddy na lang sige luto” it was to his delight and my little shame and challenge as I was never a good cook when we started as married couple.
In terms of communication, he was a man of few words, that exactly describes him. But when he speaks, specially to his sons, he speaks with authority and mindfully, not intending to hurt any.
As a grandfather
Another Bacarro! He exclaimed when he first learned of our first grandchild. It was to our great delight and happiness to have visited in Cebu our firstborn and wife with their firstborn and our first apo.
In year 2013, Orville had the chance to take care of our Jared in his kindergarten year here in Davao while his parents were at work. Quietly and adorably, I appreciated him for such show of love; from waking up, to cooking, to bathing, to feeding our young boy. He would spend time tutoring and playing with the youngest then in the family. With much gusto, he showed how a grandfather loves and takes care of his first grandson. He would even carry our apo in going up and down the 3rd level of our apartment.
Next in line was the ecstatic feeling when we learned that our second apo is finally a girl — the first princess after a series of four boys followed by another boy.
As I was invited to take care of her in UAE (supposed to be) for three months, daddy gave me his blessing and sent me with glee despite our dilemma. He even told me, “I shall be healed while you’re away.”
My stay in UAE was shortened though due to his worsening condition.
With much excitement of the great happy news of the coming home of our princess, Dadsie (as what Jared calls him) counted the days of seeing the first princess in the family. In his suffering, oftentimes I would ask him, “Would you like to LIVE and see our princess or LEAVE and rest with Him?” His ready answer then was always… the first — to live and see our princess.
One funny time was when he tried to tell me in his slurring voice, “I will wait for Keona.” I thought I heard him say “I will wait for kuya.” I explained to him again and again and again that kuya (our eldest) can’t make it with us that day as he was so busy. Then he exclaimed and insisted several times, “I will wait for Keona…” I so laughed aloud, shed tears as well after realizing that he was excited to see our princess.
On a Saturday, July 7 he had his late lunch past 2 pm. He chewed his food very slowly and I should say, gracefully. I even told him, “Daddy, you eat like your apo, naga-ugom.” I was feeding him while his cousin Steph was giving him spoonfuls of camote tops juice. Then he said I want to poop. he never did, he just farted.
We never knew he had a stroke and was in coma, more or less an hour before he was brought to the hospital, after his last meal. I was a bit worried when our 3rd son who carried him to the car had so much difficulty. Daddy never moved, he seemed to have doubled his weight despite his skin and bone state.
In the emergency room, I asked our 2nd son to put our princess on the phone. At least, he heard Keona’s voice over the phone while he was fighting for his breath.
He may not have seen our princess in person, only in photos and videos, but for sure, he must have been very happy to have HEARD HER VOICE — hours before he breathed his last.
A skilled driver
In year 2015, during our Mission Clan Reunion in the mountains of Kapatagan, Davao del Sur, Orville was asked to drive an 8-month-old Ecosport. He readily agreed, fully unaware of the rocky-crooked terrain ahead with huge boulders and wide-deep ditches. Several times did we stop as he wisely figured out how to go about the highly-risky terrain. As we reached the farm after a rigorous and dangerous journey, we applauded him with much awe and wonder for having driven us safely to our destination, for such show of skill in driving thru with five ladies, our 3-year-old grandson and another 3-month-old grandson of my cousin. That unforgettable ride in our lives was both terrible and terrific.
Another unforgettable time on the show of his driving prowess was when he drove a pick-up with full-packed children and adult relatives at the back. A big bus had swiftly, carelessly and surprisingly overtaken a van and our pick up was side-swept towards the edge of the road that almost threw us to the shoreline of Davao del Sur. Two of us who were seated with him in front experienced and felt the hand of the Divine, protecting us thru Orville’s presence of mind in driving.
As a pastor
Pastoring a flock takes a heart of love and understanding, it’s never an easy calling. From preaching to counseling, he had his heart into the plow. He managed to help mend broken relationships, counseled singles and couples, officiated and stood as ninong during weddings, anniversaries, birthdays. Funerals were days where he would either do the committal, share the word or sing with the choir. He was into all sorts of family matters, at times, appreciated and elated and on one unforgettable time…humiliated, as he represented a group.
During Orville’s wake, TJF members then-both familiar and not familiar showed up and shared how he touched and helped their lives. It was heart-warming that even those who are already residing abroad showed their love in unexpected wonderful ways. It was a sort of a reunion for many.
One great friend and sister in Christ is Dolly. Together with her daughter Stephanie, she shared their love beyond our expectations. Their overflowing love for Orville was remarkable as Dolly, despite her physical condition as well, insisted on buying him a commode. It then turned out to be very useful on his last days. She even brought in another great friend who willingly shared her financial blessing.
His life exuded generosity. Many a times he would graciously go out of his comfort zone just to extend help to relatives and friends in different forms — may it be time, counsel, material stuff or financial matters. His big heart had been compensated during his difficult and physically-challenging times and most especially during his wake and interment.
To friends and families
According to Orville’s DCHS ‘75 batchmates who were consistently there on his great and worst days, “he always exemplified leadership and responsibility together with his good grooming and pleasantly-neat personality.”
If there’s one great friend of Orville in his HS years in DCHS that I want to make mention is his Muslim friend who has stuck with him on his important days; birthdays, New Year celebrations and especially during his ill-fated days, Bong-Guimo Muarip. Countless were the times that he stood by Orville in the most-trying days. On the last wake, he just sat on a seat, together with a batchmate and other relatives and friends over the night. The last time that he visited was when we transferred from the 3rd-level apartment to a house on the ground as per advise of the doctor. Guimo (with his neighbor) had to literally walk (lest he would get lost) to find our new location.
His friends and co-pastors in TJF (then) showed their encompassing love and concern. Tay Jon and Nay Daisy surprisingly honored Orville on his sickbed on the first day of July, 6 days before his transition. Tay Jess and Mm. Cherryl, Leo and Nora and our other AMORE brethren unceasingly showed love and care in countless ways, sustaining our whole family.
My own siblings and nieces honored him in diverse ways from prayers, to food to financial gifts. With much joy to share, my nieces-the de Guzman sisters, bought dad his wheelchair.
To Orville’s cousin Espie and family who traveled all the way from the south just to visit him and shared financial assistance.
To his other cousins who shared their love, prayers and financial assistance, our great thanks.
My parents-in-law’s love and service for their firstborn on his last days is beyond compare, notwithstanding their age, 79 and 80 respectively.
Tay Ernie and Nay Joy’s remarkable support is more than acknowledged and appreciated. Nay Joy even contacted a great friend who also shared her financial blessings. Despite Tay Ern’s busy and hectic schedule in the national and international arena as DFA Under Secretary, he still managed to be with us and remarkably shared inspirational words during the last wake and on Orville’s interment.
The NEB Clan’s love and concern under the command of Anni Bacarro is always treasured as they (58 of them) convoyed to Davao for the last wake and interment of Orville.
Nay Neng, Tina and siblings, Tay Jesse, Tay Eugene, Nay Fely, Dra. Susi and Mildred, Lyza, Leah my niece were there with my siblings, when Orville breathed his last in the hospital.
We shall never forget Orville’s white angel, Ely, who, for two-three times, donated his blood. Thanks to John and Kelly as blood donors too.
To Sir Jesse, Jason and Sherryluz and his “special nurse” Teacher Noeme who stood with us when daddy was rushed in an ambulance to SPMC.
Tay Danny, Nay Marilyn, Tay Edwin & Nay Marly, Tay Bong & Nay Maricel, Tay Froilan, Tay Jimmy, LJ, Jill and Cris with kids were there when we needed help.
To my dear friend and DepEd SSD_Dr. Ines Asuncion, ICC & RMC batchmates, Southpoint School, CLS, UMCASE & AMACC families, DAPRISA board and school members, UCCP pastors and members, Dugaduga sisters Leah Ruth & Stephanie, Gatchalian family, ACIM family- Dr. Mary Thomas and her daughter Dr. Elizabeth Thomas, our Prayer Warriors headed by Rosabelle, our relatives and friends, our heartfelt and sincerest gratitude to all of you for having sustained us as we walked thru the dark valley of losing Orville. Your love thru your presence, prayers, flowers, financial help and other means comforted us.
The office of Councilor Edgar Ibuyan Jr. and his staff offered much help in the procurement of blood.
My heartfelt thanks to Dra. Aileen & Sir Alvin, Susi family, Dumbrigue family from Canada, Rescy, for your love and concern expressed thru sharing financial help.
I may not have mentioned all who stood with us, rest assured though that the Divine has marked your great love for Orville and my family. Such love with felt concern is greatly treasured.
Seven (7) months have passed after that day, July 7, 2018. It has marked an inexplicably painful vacuum. Excruciating…beyond words.
Prayer after prayer, affirmation after affirmation, medication after medication, blood transfusion after blood transfusion. We exhausted all means: from medication to vegan to supplements to vitamins and other forms of help.
Are all our prayers and efforts in vain?
The whole time was a great Journey of Love, of unconditional love. Times of waking up for him until the wee hours in the morning; doing the “dirty” toilet chores, bathing, feeding him and all sorts of showing love and care, cooking what he wanted or bringing him to restaurants of his preference.
When Tay Erns called up one day, asking me how I was coping with the whole thing, my ready answer was that “I am expanding every day, in love, in faith, in endurance and resilience.”
Family, relatives, friends never stopped sending their love and concern through prayers, food items, fruits, food supplements, flowers, material needs and monetary gifts flooded the days, weeks and months of our agony.
On a day-to-day basis, the Divine’s comforting words and provisions came in diverse ways. Many a times that I would pray for affirmation, individuals and groups would come and share comforting words and songs… special mention to the Gintong Himig of United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) of which Orville and I were part of. They visited him twice or thrice in the hospital and once in the house and sang songs. Orville joyfully and zestfully sang with them too.
In his sickbed he would pray for his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, expressing his gratitude to me and his sons for taking turns in taking care of him, including his tireless parents and siblings and our AMORE Community.
Towards his transition, he requested to be brought to the sea. So for two consecutive days, before he departed, we brought him to Times Beach for lunch by the sea and on a Friday, at Azuela Cove for sea breeze. Had a serious talk then with our third son, Josiah-our driver that day, to have his presence felt by daddy as “any time he would go.,” It was too soon as the following day, Orville breathed his last.
His last seawater dip was on March 30 in Mati, when he responded to join me…allowing the strong waves to engulf us as I thought that it would give him relief. He had a little pain attack there and he simply asked me to be brought to the shoreline and allowed the pain to leave, without having to tell anyone.
At the hospital emergency room, when I was told that his shirt was cut into two, the first thing that came to my mind was- “sayang’ ang Father’s Day (June 17) white shirt given by Joseph (with “PURPOSE” printed in front). But there and then, I also realized that hubby’s PURPOSE must have been SERVED ALREADY. This made him so ready to depart.
“Oh death, where is thy sting?”
Pain and death are part of LIFE. To reject them is to reject life itself (Havelock Ellis)
Whenever we talk about “leaving,” we naturally talk about it as part and parcel of life. We even considered cremation for both of us. We know in our hearts as Thich Naht Hanh says it- “there is no birth without death and no death without birth.”
Upon coming home from a shortened (three months to one month) UAE visit to take care of our first Princess in the family, he made mention of what he would wear during his departure and that, he had found my memorial lot certificate. I brushed off his words, trying to avoid such topic.
His life, our relationship and his relationships with others may be far from perfect. He had his own mistakes, weaknesses, setbacks and flaws.
But all the good and great things he had left far outweighs everything that may not have worked right in his lifetime.
To my beloved Orville, with much appreciation for your life, I give you my SALUTE as a man, son, husband, father, leader and friend.
Sixty years, seven months and seven days… and he breathed his last.
This post originally appeared on Judith Bacarro’s Blog.