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Mang Rudy was one of our neighbors.

He has seen me as a kid playing in the village street – whether biking, a patotot in patintero (a Filipino street game), or even shouting at playmates when I got pissed off.

He has seen me finished school and got a job.

So literally, he has see me grew up – if I ever did, figuratively.

I will never forget him because he always had nice things to say to people.

He would go out of his way to visit our neighbors to have a chat with them.

He was truly proud of his children. Yet, he never ran out of praises for the people around him.

Including me.

He was happy when I graduated in grade school, high school, and college.

He was happy when I got a job in a good private school and in the government.

He was happy when I became a licensed teacher. There was even a time when he called me “Ma’m.”

Recently, he was all praised every time he saw me running around the village every weekend.

Like how he saw me grew up (if I really did, figuratively), he managed to see me developed from walking to running.

“Bilib ako sa ‘yo, talagang tuwing weekend tumatakbo ka. Maganda ‘yan,” (I'm so impressed; you're really committed to your weekend runs. That's good.) he said.

Three weeks ago, he succumbed to lung cancer.

He fought the battle for two years before finally meeting the Creator.

As I stood in front of his coffin, I told him this:

     I’m sorry that I got the time to run, but never got the time to visit you when you can not get up from the bed anymore.

    You have seen me grew from a brat to a dependable person.

    I know you are now somewhere where cancer cells are non-existing.

    I will miss you for the things you said to us, your neighbors.

    I will miss the times you would go out your way to visit us for a chat.

    But most of all, I will miss how you are proud of me.
   Thanks, Mang Rudy.

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