… All these mixed feelings I’m having while writing this piece; they’re all imponderable.”
I firmly believe that death is not the opposite of life but a part of it.
It has been a year since Sir Joel, or Boss Owe, became one of God’s angels. I’m sure that he is guiding us from above and continually making sure that his presence is always felt by us.
The first time I saw Boss Owe, I felt this sudden rush of fear through my veins. I was so scared because he looked so strict. When he was in the office, I could not even type a word. (I could be exaggerating; but that’s what I really felt back then.) But after witnessing Boss Owe’s great kindness towards other people and his employees, everything changed. He suddenly became my idol. He was very kind-hearted and was always concerned of his employees’ welfare. Even though the time I spent with Boss Owe was short, I’m certain that his beliefs and principles are already written in the deepest parts of my heart. He is one of those few people I really adore because of his accomplishments as a successful businessman and his personal mark as a survivor of life’s greatest challenges.
Please bear with me as I recount two different events which occurred on September 16, 2015. First, LGO employees went that day to the Divine Mercy Memorial Park to give something special for Boss Owe. Second, Ma’am Rose, her son, Ate Roselle and Ate Charlotte decided to go to the San Marcelino Hospital to give special gifts to some newborn-babies on behalf of the IROG Foundation.
Jar of love letters (LGO employees at Divine Mercy)
It was during that morning of September 16 that each one of us wrote a special love-letter to Boss Owe. The papers we used were of different colors and we all put them in a “jar of love-letters”. What we had was such a colorful jar which made us really proud and happy.
We left the office around 1:30 P.M. for the Divine Mercy where Boss Owe had been laid to rest. Everyone did not mind the scorching heat of the day because our minds were filled with the thought of visiting Boss Owe once again. Also, we were so eager to give Boss Owe our special gifts.
Once we got there, most of us hesitated from reading our letters in front of Boss Owe (we believed he was there with us) and everyone else. But after a while, Kuya Ryan started to give his heartfelt message to Boss Owe and we felt a rush of sadness in every word he said. And before he became too emotional, he ended his message with a smile and told a simple joke to lighten up the mood. After Kuya Ryan, it was Ms. Faye, Mayeth, and Kuya Dong who read their own heartfelt special messages for Boss Owe.
Then, after filling our “jar of love letters”, we sang Superman by Five for Fighting for Boss Owe (I’d heard from my office-mates that it was a very special song, being one of Boss Owe’s favorite songs). We didn’t have any musical instruments with us but simply hoped that our “golden” voices will make our “special number” worth doing. Haha! And again, all of us felt hesitant to start our presentation. I don’t remember how many “Okay guys, this is it; be ready in 3, 2, 1…*awkward silence*….” moments we went through. After each awkward-silence moment, we would all burst into laughter! I could imagine Boss Owe laughing at us and doing a face-palm, because we have always been that way during unified singing. But as we stood and sang by Boss Owe’s graveside, I knew that each one of us left a simple promise. A promise that he will never be forgotten and his beliefs and deeds in life will always be remembered.
Delivering hope to new beginnings
Boss Owe was a person who was truly devoted to his principles in life. That is why it is not surprising that we admire his strength of character. I just joined the company last year and I witnessed how Boss Owe’s positive attitude influenced each and every one of us. Yes, there were challenges that came; but we knew that Boss Owe was always around to guide us; and if we can hear him now, he might be telling us to never give up and to ever stay positive.
Boss Owe also greatly valued the life of every person; that is why on the same day of September 16, Ma’am Rose (Boss Owe’s loving wife), as well as their son, Ate Roselle and Ate Lot, paid a visit to the San Marcelino Hospital to give newborn-babies some of their basic needs, such as baby bottles, blankets, diapers, milk and stuffed toys. Almost 20 infants received those special gifts prepared by the IROG Foundation. And for every bag handed out to the parents of the babies, we got back the refreshing sense of fulfillment and great satisfaction for all the efforts we put into the preparations. It felt really good to see all their smiles and to hear all their “thank you’s”. It was truly a delightful opportunity to be part of the gift-giving.
Seeing those innocent babies gave me that wonderfully rare feeling, as if those tiny angels were telling me that life is such a precious gift we must cherish at every moment. Babies are the cutest creatures on Earth! And just looking at them made us giggle like kids again.
The day we lost Boss Owe, we felt our own life had ended, too, because of so much grief. But Boss Owe had taught us many things, including the lesson that “no matter what life brings you, keep on moving forward and stay positive”. So now, we face each day with hope and happy memories to help us on our way. Even though he is no longer here with us, his influence continues to guide us and his presence remains as real and as strong as the memories he gave us.
The life of a person might end, but his memories do not; because when someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a great treasure you would always want to hold in your heart. The laughter, the smiles and all the fun we shared with Boss Owe are incomparable. They are memories of forever. They will never die because they live within our hearts, bringing strength and comfort.