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Jun 28th
Home Sections Obituary-Memorial Park “Yes, But Syndrome:” A Tribute to a Departed Uncle
“Yes, But Syndrome:” A Tribute to a Departed Uncle PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Thursday, 16 July 2009 19:41


By Joseph G. Lariosa


C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – On many occasions, people are always guilty of taking other people, especially friends and relatives, for granted.


They never realize that sometimes when they try to catch up with them, the opportunity is no long there.


Some call this malaise as “Yes, But Syndrome,” when a person will have an uncontrollable feeling of excitement and responding in a quick “Yes,” then immediately following by the overwhelming fear of risk, by his or her reflexology, he will be saying the word “But.” As a result, the person never takes any action.


Four years ago, when I was in the Philippines, my uncle, Bienvenido G. Garra, whom my siblings and cousins call, “Papa Dido,” wanted to see me before I leave for Chicago, Illinois. I said, “Yes,” of course.


But unfortunately, whenever I am in the Philippines, the pace of my activities picks up so fast, I lose track of my priorities, like visiting relatives and friends. That’s why I did not live up to my promise to see my Papa Dido.


And so, two weeks ago, I got this e-mail message from our Papa Dido’s daughter, Elena, saying, “Hello! Hope this reaches you Manay Dona (Hernandez, my elder sister), as well as the rest of our relatives.


Ellen, my cousin, went on, on “Dec. 2, 2007, Dad turned 80 and we gave (him) a truly memorable party joined in by lots of friends and relatives. We even had video presentation of his siblings in Matnog (the southeastern-most town of Luzon in Sorsogon Province and the jumping-off point by ferry to Samar).  


“(In) October, last year, however, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. It was devastating because as you know Mommy (Erlinda) has suffered breast cancer and is by God's grace under remission for four years now.


“Still we are hopeful in the goodness and wonders of God thru Christ, Dad has already outlived the challenging six month-period (of his remaining life on earth) foretold by the doctors.




“H e's been hospitalized quite a few times, and extra due care was given him by my sister, Yoly, as his personal nurse, plus  medications, faith and prayers are unfaltered.


“However, for his sake, and for the peace of mind of Mama Dina (Papa Dido’s only surviving sibling) and of course our Mom, we're informing you, kahit ayaw talaga ipaalam ng Daddy na may sakit siya, very typical of him di ba (even if my Daddy does not want anybody to know that he was sick, a very typically restrained disposition of him, isn’t it? 


“Please try to drop a line or anything (by calling our phone in the house in Manila) baka si Mama Dina pa makasagot) (Mama Dina might be able to answer), we'll appreciate it very much, at least,  while the three (Papa Dido, Mama Linda and Oya Dina) of them are still around.  Please pray for him and the rest of the family. 


“Thanks  a lot!   Take care. God bless you and your loved ones. 


“Your cousin, Elena Garra.”


Because the e-mail message did not seem urgent to me, I waited three more days before I finally placed that call.


True enough, I happened to talk to my aunt, Oya Dina, who was very pleased to hear my voice. I was also very happy to talk to her. Since, she knew that I needed to talk to her elder brother, Papa Dido, she asked me to talk to her grandnephew, Gerald, who gave me the phone number of the hospital, where Papa Dido was confined.


When I called up the hospital, I happened to talk to Papa Dido’s daughter, Yoly, a Registered Nurse, who had to take a leave absence from her United Doctors Medical Center's job to look after her Dad.


But Yoly told me Papa Dido was asleep. After a few minutes of exchanges, I told her I was calling back.




W hen I called up again, Papa Dido was asleep again. A lot of times when one calls from the other side of this planet, a caller suddenly becomes disoriented that he doesn’t know the best time of day or night to call.


I had planned to call again but last Saturday (July 12) I was jolted by an email message from a relative that Papa Dido was gone.


I felt sick to my stomach, knowing fully well that I let another opportunity slipped away. A costly lesson to me that no matter what I do, I can no longer take back the irreversible hands of time, except to pray that he has finally rested in peace. And I just hope and pray that procrastinating should never take precedence over a matter of life and death. I will just cut down on saying “but” while at the same taking some actions.


My Papa Dido was some kind of a trailblazer from among his eight other surviving siblings. After his early education in his rural and sleepy town of Matnog, he went to the big city of Manila, in search of his place in the sun. There, he faced the challenge other people his age to fit in. He proved that having education is the minimum requirement to find success anywhere you go.


I mean, even overseas, like here in the United States.


Of course, thru hard work and an everlasting faith in God.


After completing his commerce education, he took up a government-managed licensure board examination for customs brokers in the Philippines in the sixties and even topped the board. He was able to raise four beautiful children, who were able to complete college education, and are now gainfully employed with their own families.


G ood bye, Papa Dido. You will be missed. (



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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2009 19:51
Comments (1)
1 Thursday, 16 July 2009 20:13
We send to you, Joseph, your family and the Garra Clan of Matnog, Sorsogon, our deepest condolences, sympathy and prayers.

Bobby M. Reyes, Allan M. Albert, Staff, Writers and Columnists

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