Monthly Archives: June 2014

JONATHAN VITUG, 21 DECEMBER 2014 TO 06 JUNE 2014: A MOTHER’S REFLECTION (CONCLUSION)

Mom and Jonathan, circa 2013

This last essay my mother wrote was intended as her speech as she addresses the attendees at the memorial, but she decided not to go forward and had me speak on the family’s behalf instead.

Our family is so honored and humbled by the outpouring of love you (friends, relatives and associates) showed our beloved Jonathan.  You cared for him and yet he must have been so depressed he didn’t see.  My son Joseph chided me for always saying I should have done this or it could have been like this.  Jon made the decision in the confusion of his mind because he felt his worth as a person depended on the position he had in the company he worked for.  He complained that his latest superiors considered him passive.  How can he be passive when he was giving his all?  Was being kind and understanding towards his subordinates a sign of passivity?  He wrote in his journal about his previous boss in Expedia, Tommy who really inspired him to work harder.  When Tommy left, he couldn’t understand his new boss Mikael’s demands and he felt so insecure that he started making mistakes.  He loved his work at Expedia and his subordinates cooperated with him but he was let go.  His last job at TravelBook was problematic for him from the very start.  When he lost that, he fell into depression from which he never recovered.  Dr. Abello, our new friend, explained that he suffered from a chemical imbalance and he no longer knew what he was doing.  Let us pray to our Mother Mary to embrace him and bring him to her Son, Jesus, so that He will take pity and have mercy on his soul.  Father, into Your hands we commend Jonathan’s spirit.

 

JONATHAN VITUG, 21 DECEMBER 1970 TO 06 JUNE 2014: A MOTHER’S REFLECTION (PART 2)

My mother and Jonathan, circa 1987

14 JUNE 2014

i still can’t process in my brain that Jonathan, my second son, is gone.  I don’t understand why he decided to leap from the 31st floor of a condotel in Makati.  He has been trying to find work after TravelBook let him go.  The quota the owners set for his group couldn’t be met.  He was on the way to New Zealand whe he got the offer from Travel Book and so instead of boarding his connecting flight to New Zealand from Singapore, he decided to return home.  “Mama, I’ll give my best shot,” he told me and we were all happy he was back.

A few weeks there, I noticed how upset he was.  He tried to convince his bosses that the policies laid down by the accounting department are hindrances to their sales efforts.  He worked for over seven years at the top travel websites in the Philippines and they did things differently.  He told me his efforts proved futile to change accounting policies and so the sales target was not met and he was fired lasts April 16.  That was the very first time he was fired.  I tried to encourage him because I knew he was so resilient and he always managed to bounce back.

He sent business application formsand went to interviews but the interviewers always asked how come he only stayed in Expedia over a year and five-to-six months at TravelBook.  He was qualified and yet he had to endure what he perceived was the judgement of the interviewers.

He was no longer able to sleep.  He feared that at 43 years of age, he was too old to be hired.  His Papa and I tried to encourage him and he kept trying.  His journal, which wwe found after his death, revealed that he gave himself a month to find work.  On May 31, he looked at a new establishment in Malate that was 50 storeys high.  He backed out and tried again.  On that first week of June, he went to interviews and seemed happier and like his old self.  June 6 came and he even had dinner with Jim and me.  He looked so relaxed and so neat with his new haircut.  I went up earlier than Jim and he did because I wanted to pray for him.  I asked God to guide him and show me what to say to him through my bible cutting.  The verses I read indicated he will be called to a new job in June and he will not have to go to New Zealand.  I was satisfied with my bible cutting but I decided to let him rest as I will talk to him the next day.

When the phone rang at 11:30 PM, Jim answered the phone and I heard him ask if our son was okay. He sobbed as he asked what happened and we couldn’t control our sobbing that were heard by all our neighbors.  Our daughter Jackie heard the commotion and accompanied us.  She was so strong and composed as she looked at the pictures of her kuya.  He fell face down so his handsome face was no longer recognizable.  The bones holding up his beautiful aquiline nose were smashed and he was no longer Jonathan.  She prevented me from looking and I was not brave enough to insist.

My son left instructions for immediate cremation.  After the autopsies, we asked Fr. Aether Festin to say mass and bless his remains at Veronica funeral home.  His faithful friends from elementary to high school as well as my ASMIC friends and relatives were there supporting usand doing the best to comfort us despite their own grief.  After the cremation, we took his ashes home and offered novena prayers.  On the ninth day, we laid his ashes in the vault at Christ the King Columbary.  The priest who presided at Mass was so understanding and comforting.  we were somehow given hope that our merciful Father, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, had pity on his soul and brought him to purgatory for cleansing and he will enter paradise after a while.

The officemates, friends, and associateds whose lives Jon touched spoke of what a hard-working employee he was.  His subordinates at Expedia and Shangri-La and St. Giles gave souch wonderful eulogies which reveal to all the kindness, the retentive memory for events, his consdierateness and his concern for people.  His closest friends Gerardo and Teofilo spoke of his fun-loving nature.  My son was a good man who had so many dreams that didn’t come true.  In the end, he felt he couldn’t face the world anymore.

Forgive me, Jon.  I wasn’t persistent enough to convince you to stay with us.  I would have offered my life for you.  I love you so.  Until we meet again, I will keep on loving you.

Jonathan in his college days in La Salle

JONATHAN VITUG, 21 DECEMBER 1970 – 06 JUNE 2014: A MOTHER’S REFLECTION (PART 1)

My mother and Jonathan circa 1975

For the next three posts, I will leave the floor to my mother to share her views about my brother’s death.  She wrote these essays before I hunkered down to finally post about our tragedy, and after reading my post she is inspired to share her essays on my blog.

10 JUNE 2014

My beautiful boy is gone.  He jumped from the 31st floor of a condotel in Makati.  I still cannot believe that my son who held such promise could do such a desperate act of self-annihilation.  He was the one I considered the most mature of my children.  I had thought that when my husband Jim and I are gone he would be the one to take care of and look after his siblings.    He was the resilient type, I thought, who would bounce back from any setback that happened in his life.  He had so many friends who expressed their condolences and sorrow.  Why didn’t he realize that?  Were they not there when he needed them?  Our family has always been there for him.  Jackie, my daughter, constantly tried to draw him out of his shell he just crawled into.  

The job offers he was anticipating didn’t come.  There are a few but he told us they were in four months yet and he just couldn’t afford not to work that long.  Why was he so hard-pressed?  Was it because he has debt to pay?  Why, if he did, was he in debt?  He lived so simply.  He didn’t need designer clothes and he refused to wear clothes with big logos, saying that he didn’t want to advertise their makers for free.  He really sent out so many applications hoping he would get work soon, but there were no calls and being the impatient man he always was, he became morose and depressed.  He started wishing morning would not come.  He felt so miserable and we, his family, tired to coax him out of it.  The more we tried to reach him, the further he retreated.  We were concerned but had our own battles that we just prayed about him and faced our own struggles.

Then on his last week, he started going out.  He seemed to have recovered.  We were glad he started having dinner with us, talking about politics, showbiz and former acquaintances.  On that fateful Friday, June 6, he looked so happy and vibrant, animatedly talking and laughing.  He was so handsome.  We finished our early dinnerand went up to our respective rooms.  We thought he had stayed there to rest till the next day but he didn’t.  he left home at 8:40 PM and said goodbye to Josie, telling her he will be stepping out for a while.

11:30 PM, our phone rang.  Jim answered the phone and it was the Makati police informing us that our Jonathan is gone.  We were frantic and confused.  the investigators showed Jim and Jackie pictures of his lifeless body.  His handsome face was unrecognizable.  His beautiful aquiline nose was not there anymore, and his face looked like a flattened mask.  Father and daughter didn’t want me to see the picutres and I was a coward.  I did not insist.

After trying to claim his body at the funeral parlor, we decided to go home to look at his things at home.  There we saw an envelope addressed to Joseph and he told us not to blame anybody.  He just gave up. He no longer wanted to be miserable. Why?  LORD, please help us to understand.  he was a loving brother and son.  His friends trusted him and loved him.  People he worked with sent expressions of disbelief and shock. Why?  When will we find the answers to our questions? Why did he feel that the love we had for him wasn’t enough to make his life bearable?  I would have given my life for him.  Did I fail to him know that?

O LORD, in my anguish, I cry to You.  Help me understand.

My son wanted immediate cremation.  We are grateful for Fr. Arthur who blessed his remains and celebrated mass over his simple closed coffin before he was brought to the crematorium.  Now I look at his urn, still in shock.  He will be inunrned at Christ the King and in that tiny vault, his ashes will remain until we will all be together once again.

Jonathan at 6