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

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