Friday, September 25, 2009


My elder brother recently retired from public service like I did. He left an honorable position as a state university vice president at 65 in February, 2009. I bowed out from teaching as an elementary grades master teacher II at 62 in November, 2009.

As retirees, Kuya and I have only few things in common and a whole lot of difference. We are both educators. I do quite better in campus journalism, he excels in statistics and research work. Armed with these God-given talents, we both face the bleak horizon confronting us as retirees. Because we want to make our retirement days worth living for, not bereft of excitement and challenges , we listed our planned projects that differed tremendously. I wanted to repair my house, he wanted to build a printing press building. I wanted to spruce up my ornamental and vegetable gardens and my small orchard, he planned to put up a swimming pool in his front yard. While we were in this process of our separate planning, we didn't realize that our own families were exchanging notes against our plans in our backs. Ha ha ha!

Obviously, their idea about retirement is rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, ours is work, work and more challenging work. In fairness, their reactions are not left unreciprocated by Kuya and I. We honestly thank them for always being there at our sides, reminding us that we both are not hail and strong like we used to be. He is hooked 3x a week on a dialysis machine and is taking daily lots of oral medicine and insulin shots. I have a milder case and also on a daily oral med with insulin injections. We are both diabetics. And we earned from our families this unimpressive term- "matigas ang ulo" (stubborn), for going on with our plans. Yakkk!

Since I live away from my daughters I was able to accomplish the projects I planned to do, with less hassles from them. I had the roof of my house and our vacant family house repaired and repainted, including other repair works. I spent a lot of my time in my ornamental and vegetable gardens and my little orchard. I wanted to do more, but unluckily, I was down with diabetic neuropathy aggravated by shingles infection on my right thigh. I was also diagnosed with an onset of osteoarthritis. I'm now confined at home dutifully following orders from my doctors and obeying my daughters' strict surveillance of my activities and medication through a house help (I didn't need one then). I chose to compensate myself out of my temporary loss of freedom to move around by trying my hands on blogging! My daughters bought for me a cute netbook. Isn't this a blissful life? I found blogging as a sort of pain relief and stress release, too!

How about my beloved Kuya? Well, his indomitable spirit (translated- stubbornness) merited him and his family very good projects. When my siblings and I visited him at their house (Sis Rose flew to Abu Dhabi to baby sit her newborn apo MJ., Congrats Dianne and Manny! Hi, MJ!), we were greatly surprised with the transformation in their house and around the yard. Instead of a printing press building there now stands in their front yard a sort of a mini-resort type of lawn garden, very inspiring and beautiful. When we applauded him for this, he said he is on the process of researching on how to maintain a swimming pool, because he felt that the printing press house will never materialize. Of course he was met with apprehension from all of us. Sis Rose and Dianne strongly disapproved of this. Who will maintain it and how? I guess his pronouncement of this hidden plan will again receive a strong thumbs down from them and the squabble will never end.

My Kuya never seems to run out of ideas in search for anything of his fancy. Few weeks after having underwent an angioplasty, he went over at my place without my sister-in-law's knowledge. I was full of apprehension because of his health condition. But he was able to contact a relative to make a fishing boat for him, motorized if possible because he knew he couldn't put his arms to good use anymore. The poor fishing boat which was ready in few days' time, minus the motor, now lies between my house and our parental house, its bottoms up, and never ever touched the river. In his younger days Kuya was a good fisherman. He frequented the nearby river either for fun swimming or trying his new fishing gadgets to catch fish. When I texted Sis Rose to report that incident, he received admonitions from the wifey. As usual I was the victim of her misgivings. I'll never be able to get out from this impression of her about me- consentidor! Hayyyy! Ay, sorry!

The last time my siblings and I visited our Kuya, which was only last week at this writing, he entertained us with his first harvest of broiled catfish (hito) from his backyard aquaculture project. Sooooo delicious and such a health food that the fishpond won a downright thumbs up from us. I remember that when we first learned about it from my sis-in-law who reported that he built that fishpond, we were also angry. I even said that my brother will not die of diabetes but he will, of dengue. Well, that was when we learned that his first fingerlings of catfish and mudfish (dalag) all died. But he didn't give up and today he proved he was right. His fresh water fish are thriving on commercial feeds and potable water from their deep well, the same water source for their household use. He proudly demonstrated to us how to catch the fish with big long handled wire-netted scoop and with his stateside fishing rods with earthworm baits. The large cemented aquarium-like container about my chest level (four feet high) that neatly stands in their backyard is proof of my Kuya's genius in research work. Congrats!

His old pig house was turned down and a large poultry house now stands in that place. He showed us his few pairs of very large chicken for a start. A new pair of turkeys arrived, courtesy from his balae from a neighboring town. As he toured us around the backyard, we could only say ahhhs and ohhhs with his fruit-bearing cocoa trees, his newly planted calamansi seedlings, seedless orange tree, avocado trees, and you- name- it- and- you- have- it animal and plant life all proofs of his lust for experiments and research.

When I bragged to him about my new-found preoccupation of blogging, not an effort to outrun his projects because I will never compare of course, he announced that he was planning to create his own blog (watch out for this coming blog here) about research and statistics, his real love, so that he will continue to share others his novel projects and discoveries. You see? That's how stubborn my Kuya is ! Never-seeming to run out of energy. I now raise my white flag in surrender. I can only hope and pray that our retirement days will continue to give us inspiration to tell all and sundry that life is not empty for a retiree. That is with God's unending blessings and our families' on and off approvals. Hehe!


  1. Hi, how are you now? I hope you are doing well and healthy. You and Kuya are examples of hardworking people from whom we could learn a lot. Keep blogging and sharing ya!

  2. Passionate Blogger,
    I'm so happy to find this comment in this blog that was lonely the whole year. You see, it was more than a year ago today when I posted this for posterity of my Kuya's resolve to move around despite his diabetes. He kept copies of my blogs about our family gatherings and he was really happy and proud. This was my inspiration to write- all for his entertainment while confined at home.

    My Kuya was really hardworking and he did what he wanted to do as soon as he separated from service. Unfortunately, he succumbed to heart attack last February 10, 2010 and didn't reach the day he was scheduled for kidney transplant in April,2010. Sounded like, to him, he knew he was only bidding for his time and he made every second, minute, hour a quality time for all of us.

    Before he went into coma due to an intervening pneumonia before he was subjected to heart bypass, the whole family, my siblings, and relatives had subdued but quality time conversing with him at the hospital. We listened to his jokes even. We never knew it was a slow goodbye. Thank you, dear friend.



Related Posts with Thumbnails