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Goodbye Uncle Caye

I grew up without a Father. And yes, I’m still bitter about it. It’s not just because I grew up without him where a big gaping hole was left unfilled. But more because of what he was to us when he was alive, and how he made us feel like the lowest of low. Scums of the earth. He didn’t maltreat us physically, but what he did cut & hurt more than the physical pain. A wound that never healed. And for that, I will never forgive him until my dying breath.

I remember we had to leave for the states when I was young, just to get away from it all. It was then that I felt what a Father’s love was when my uncle, who was living in New York, saved us & took us in.

That was my uncle Caye, my mom’s 2nd to the eldest brother. A brilliant Doctor, a wonderful father to his 2 daughters Deb & Liz, a loving & devoted husband to his American wife, Linda. I was lucky to be the recipient of that kind of love & attention, even when he already had 2 girls of his own. And his affection wasn’t extended to just to either. He was the favorite uncle of all. The kindest, most loving, most thoughtful. Everyone’s secret Santa. He had 2 other brothers. 1 older, and another younger, both having passed. But all my cousins treat him like their own dad more than the real one. That was the kind of person that he was. Loved & respected by everyone.

Note: Some of the photos below belong to my cousin B. Tenefrancia

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This is how I will always remember him. The last time I saw him was around this age, or a little younger. He was always in a white barong. That was his standard uniform, in & out of the office. Except on the golf course. That would be the only time I would see him in colors. :) Whenever he would visit, our first destination would always to buy him his year’s supply of barong. :)

 

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Uncle Caye had a zest for life. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sad. Well once, when his mom passed. He came home as soon as he could get a ride. He also stayed with us then. It was so memorable because we were all just waiting for him to arrive. And when he finally did come on my Lola’s last day at the funeral parlor, he accidentally mixed up his meds & took a sleeping pill by mistake just as we were about to leave. So he slept right through my grandma’s cremation after he travelled all that distance to see her one last time. Do you remember that Uncle Caye? We were talking animatedly and then all of a sudden your head just fell on the plate and we were left speechless? You gave us quite a scare! Jeff carried you & we rushed you to the hospital while Amah was being cremated! That was an oh-my-gulay moment Uncle Caye! And I can only laugh about it now.

 

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My uncle loved my aunt Linda so much. They have been together for the longest time & never have they been apart. He saw her through her breast cancer scare & double mastectomy, and nursed her back to health. He dotes on her like crazy and encourages her in her passion with thoroughbreds. Whenever they would come for a visit, Jeff would take him golfing while I would drive my aunt to the stable in Alabang so she can ride for hours on end. They showed me what a couple in love should be like, regardless of their differences. <3

On my wedding, I didn’t have anyone to walk me down the aisle. He volunteered, and I knew then that everything would be alright. He came all the way from New York to give me away, and more importantly, to be my father again that day. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

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Uncle Caye is a busy man. He had his own medical practice & went to the office 5 days a week during his prime. But he never let anyone feel that his job was more important than the person he cared for. He would drop everything if he knew you needed him.

 

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A week. Can you imagine? He bought plane tickets just to see me get married. Then left at the end of the week so he can get back to his life & job back home. Those were 7 precious days. What he gave up for me, financially and otherwise.

 

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I felt whole on my wedding day, simply because the Dad that I knew & considered my own was right there beside me. <3

 

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I never had a complete family photo. One parent was always lacking. In this photo though, my family was complete.

 

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Thank you Uncle Caye. I do love you. I just didn’t get to tell you. :'(

Time passed. And to my shame, now that my life is considerably better & I have a family who loves & adores me, I have totally forgotten about him. I didn’t call, I didn’t send him greeting cards during christmas, birthdays, and other special occasions. I didn’t send emails to ask how he was. Not for a very long time. It’s like he fell from the face of the earth and I just forgot about him. And now he’s really gone, and I missed my chance. He left the people he loved last January 15, 2015.

I’d see him periodically when he would come to visit my lola when she was still living. We’d reconnect. He would always stay with me in our home. Out of my many cousins in Manila, he would always come live with me. In his heart, I was his daughter. And I have failed to show him how much he means to me. Now he’s gone. And I didn’t get to tell him, simply because my need for him diminished in time. I am ashamed. And along with that, I am guilty.

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Dear Uncle Caye,

I know it’s too late to tell you all the things I am thankful to you for. You were there when my dad wasn’t. You filled every hole that needed filling. You took care of us and loved us unconditionally. All of us cousins, you took in as your own -with or without a dad.

I never got to thank you properly Uncle Caye, or to say that I love you, and how much I appreciate you, for being in my life at the time I needed a dad the most.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being such a bad person, a bad niece. And now you’re gone. I want you to know that because of you, the quality of my life turned for the better. You showed me what a happy home was supposed to be. What a loving & caring Father was supposed to be.

Thank you for letting us live with you for a year while Mom got her bearings straight. Thank you for helping her move on & for supporting her as she grew braver each day that we were with you. For buying me Beauty, my first dog. For being my partner in the square dance at school. For always buying me DQ ice cream & pizza. My first ever swatch watch that I really wanted badly. No one would buy it for me except you. Thank you for helping us move to California, seeing to our education & other needs even though you were a busy man. Making sure we had a roof over our heads. And ultimately, helping us move back home, never forgetting to check on us from time to time. I don’t know why I ever forgot those things. You were the best dad to me, and how I wish I could hug you one last time & whisper in your ears how thankful I am for the gift of you.

I love you Uncle Caye. I hope you forgive me. But I already know in my heart that you do, because that’s the kind of selfless person you are. Always giving, never asking to receive.

And please, watch over us up in heaven as you have watched over us here on earth. Please send comfort & peace to mom in this difficult time, you know the situation she is in right now and how worried & fearful she is. Please whisper our lament in God’s ear so that He may hear, and that He may answer us finally. I know that our prayer request is stronger, now that you are there to assist us. Suddenly, even I have a sense of peace about me. You have always made thing better for us uncle Caye. I just know in my heart that you will come through for us again this time. :)

Be at peace with God, Uncle Caye. You have lived a good life, you have made so many people happy. You have blessed & enriched so many lives. Thank you. And one thing I promise you, the moment we see each other again, I will give you that big hug & kiss that I owe you. And I will tell you how so very loved you are by all.

Rest in peace my dear Uncle. Until we meet again. <3

 

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Dr. Cayetano C. Co is a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Doctor located in Middletown, New York. Dr. Cayetano C. Co primarily specializes in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation but also specializes in and Pain Medicine. He has been practicing medicine for over 60 years.

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CLINICAL SPECIALTIES & INTERESTS

Physical Medicine/Rehab | General Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

EDUCATION & MEDICAL TRAINING

St. Clares Hospital Health Center (Residency, General Surgery, 1956–1961)

Jamaica Hospital Internship, (Transitional Year, 1955–1956+

University of Santo Tomas (Class of 1954)

CERTIFICATIONS & LICENSURE

NY State Medical License Active through 2014 | American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation | Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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Dr. Cayetano Co. 87 years old. August 7, 1928 – January 16, 2015. Doctor, Husband, Beloved Father to all. Rest in Peace. +

 

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Uncle Caye’s wife, daughters, and grandchildren.

 

1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Where O Death is Your Victory?
…54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55″O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

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