By: Malu E.Gacuma

2:30 a.m.

December 24,2012 (Monday)


Amidst the frenzy atmosphere  typical of a Christmas season, one would feel the  undeniable excitement of what to give. Alongside of this is the nagging suspense of what to receive. This is the season when we experience a see-saw of moods,either bringing us to euphoric high or pulling us to a cumbersome low. Such is the palette of a Yuletide experience.

In  1992, my late youngest brother Jonathan or John-john, confided to me that his only wish was to have ” a bit of more time” to remain alive until he could, at least, reach his 23rd  birthday. He was stricken with an incurable , degenerative illness called Duchenne-type Muscular Dystrophy just like our late older brother, Oscar Jr. or  Oggie.

Oscar (Oggie) Escamos Gacuma Jr.

Oggie as a youngster.

Muscular Dystrophy robbed them both of their  youthful freedom.It clipped their wings long before they realized they have these. But with undaunted spirit, they never stopped believing they could fly in due time.Or to make it more realistic: they believed they could still walk!

John john at about 13 yrs old

John-john E.Gacuma,aged 13 here during Oggie`s wake in 1983.Although born healthy and normal,he was also  stricken by Muscular Dystrophy since 7 yrs.old.

John-john  reached his birthday on Nov.29.Again, he told me he “made a bargain with the Lord“, to be “ given another bit of time  to reach the Lord’s own nativity day, December 25“. Then his fate may be sealed.He welcomed every morning with renewed hope for that miracle of stepping out of his bed and making his very first step.When nothing happened, he would stare out of the window,watching the sunset in a very quiet resolve. As he would usually tell me,”Tomorrow will be a another day. There is always a ‘next time’!” And he would flash that smile on his handsome face.The smile not only showed on his lips.It was in his eyes!

johnjohn and me

With my late youngest brother ,Jonathan ‘John-john’ Escamos Gacuma,during his more than 8-month-hospitalization at San Juan de Dios Hospital,Roxas Boulevard, Manila


We struggled to make his last Christmas the best we can give,as the private hospital room we called ” home” for 8 months cramped with both  our presence and presents.He was so happy! He died the next day, December 26.His destiny was indeed sealed. Time ran out of him.

At half- past three a.m. today,in solitude,  memories left as swiftly as it came.As the Ray Conniff rendition of “Oh, Holy Night” waxed nostalgia , I was finally convinced that only one  gift can be the  most invaluable either to give or to have: the Gift of Time.


(photo credits to owner)

It is one priceless gift, devoid of labels and tags, yet it lies deeply buried in each of our hearts.It is the embodiment of  love and care, appreciation, gratitude,thoughtfulness and almost everything that becomes a cornerstone of our perspective.

Everyone wants to choose a happy color,indeed! It wouldn’t be a surprise if the happiest color will be chosen, by heart,usually by the loneliest soul in this moment  of carpe diem.


(photo credits to owner.)

With Christ’s nativity as its essence, Christmas is  an occasion that celebrates Life, a hopeful one.

Whatever symbolic color we choose to paint the season is what we impress on  the canvas of  our memories  and of those whose lifestories have crossed ours.Be as it may, let these be moments worth remembering.

However,amidst all the usual frenzy,do we have the time ?


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