last words spoken for huey sepulveda by his mom, fides supeoveda.
Interment of Julio Alfonso “Huey” B. Sepulveda
Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church, Q.C.
March 20, 2010, 1 pm
Good afternoon everyone. The funeral of a son would not be complete without the last words from his own mother. In the 10 years of living with a life-threatening disease as leukemia, I can say that my family had more than enough of last words. There is always that threat of death and so you can imagine how we led our life as a family, as if there is no more tomorrow… In fact, we talk about death quite openly in a good way. And so in October 2009, when Huey was getting close to death’s door, we came into an agreement with his good doctors in deciding how Huey will exit when the final call comes. That it would be peacefully, with least pain, least discomfort, and least struggle. After all, in all of the 10 years, as parents of a seriously-ill child, we did everything just so Huey would not experience much pain, and if there was any, it would be minimal, bearable and manageable. And it is to be that way until the end. .
True enough, he did take his final bow peacefully, no pain. OnMarch 15, 2010, Huey was getting restless and sleepless. We brought him to the hospital by ambulance. He has been bedridden for a month, since Feb 12, 2010. To comply to the “painless” agreement, Huey was sedated and numbed of pain with a PCA attached to him (PCA – patient –controlled anesthesia). He would just sleep most of the time because as pain and restlessness became more frequent, and so would the sedatives and painkillers. And we were ok with that arrangement – we talked to his ears, and then maybe, he heard and listened, since the last to go was the sense of hearing. We were comforted in the thought that at least, he was not in pain.
It was like this until 7:15 am of March 17, 2010, when Huey expired. I only had this to say to his ears – “Let go my dear Huey. We are ok here. God is waiting for you. There is a party of angels up in heaven waiting to embrace you. We love you very much”.
As I bury Huey today, allow me to talk with my son with my very last words, things that I did not dare tell him about during his lifetime – my fears, my struggles, my pains, my crying moments every time that Huey had a leukemia relapse, for fear that Huey might take it too much of the burden upon himself. As you know, Huey is a young, fat funny, crazy child. In Huey’s eyes, I am just his old, fat, funny, crazy mom.
My dearest son Huey,
Ten years ago in year 2000, when you were 2 years old, and first diagnosed with leukemia, I made a pact with God – for Him not to take you yet – to delay your flight back to heaven so to speak, because I wanted you to experience the love of a mother, MY kind and brand of love. I vowed to God that I will give you a life that is almost normal, comfortable, and enjoyable (save for the leukemia and the limitations that go with it). Just like any other kid on the block. So that you may live your life to the fullest, no matter how short and long it will be. I negotiated for 5 more years and as it would turn out, God gave me another 5. God must have been pleased that I kept my vow to protect you, to make you happy, to let you feel as normal as possible. As we were carrying on this long, I was secretly wishing for a dramatic turn of fate, that God will make His grand miracle. But a cure was not to be, not in the form of chemotherapy, not in the form of a bone marrow transplant. A 100% match, as required, could not be found – not me, not Daddy, not Kuya Gian. And then it got to the point where chemotherapy too was no longer effective. I knew you had a hint of what was going on that you told me in 2008, “ Mommy, if the medicines are not working for me anymore, just let go because I have a lot of video games yet to play and I may not finish them on time”. In October 2009, you told me as a matter-of factly, “Mommy, when the time comes, please give me my X BOX 360 controller and I will play my last game from my deathbed”. Soon after in December 2009, you asked me “Mommy, am I about to die? I replied that you already know the answer to that – that God has a plan for each one of us. If he takes you now or any time, believe that it is the best time”. And you said – “Oh ok. God is so stubborn because I, myself was negotiating for a permanent cure, but I feel I am getting sicker and weaker. I have been praying for a long, long time, but nothing is happening towards the cure”. Huey, that’s what I like about you – you make things a lot easier for Mommy. You say what you think and feel from within, and I take the cue from there. It helped that you were gifted with bunch of sense of humor. And boy, it was 10 years full of fun and laughter taking care of you, to the highest level!
It was 10 solid years with UERM Hospital, your second home. Do you remember the time when we would plan our trip to the hospital? Just to make it as enjoyable as can be. After the chemotherapy and other procedures, we gave you the freedom of eating almost anything you want. It was my way of balancing things for you – you take on the pain of chemotherapy, and after that, you get yourself a plateful of good food. When there was a new eating place, chances are you would be their first customer. Now, I think maybe that’s how you developed an appetite for good food that you grew this huge.
This worked for you for many years. Our hospital trips turned out to be fun, exciting, enjoyable, comfortable. As you grew older, you came to know about technology. Food became an old and overused bait. I had to talk you out with gadgets and computers. You started with Gameboy, and then came PSP, Nintendo DS, PS 1, PS 2, X Box 360, personal computer and on-line games. This became your world of fun that kept you away from the sick world you were in. With gaming, you were able to overcome the pain of the medicines and chemotherapy. Another balancing act of getting through with the reality that is leukemia and yet at the same time, a life as normal, as enjoyable, as comfortable as we can make it for you. While most parents would diet their children or limit their games, we were the opposite. We were giving them to you freely for your taking. But you were oh so responsible – eater, gamer, player. Up until the end, you worried about your abs, that they would grow big if you don’t diet. You made your own schedule of your gaming time even if you can afford to play the whole day and night, worried that you might become a gadget geek.
Despite your situation, you managed to go to a regular school, excelled in it, and loved it – your teachers, classmates, their parents, and the lessons. However, you had to stop twice because of leukemia. Yet, until the end, it was your wish to go back and continue schooling. Though you were concerned about being old in class and delayed in grade level, you learned to accept it and learned not to mind it. Gaining more friends at multi-levels was good enough for you.
It was not an easy job to level up with your inquisitiveness. You would ask about the leukemia, your sickness, and the medical details of it. That was easy to answer. But to ask why God allowed you to have it, that was not easy. For someone as smart as you are, you would not take a so–so answer, coming from the air. It better be good. Huey, I was also struggling within myself – to understand why God allowed me to conceive you only to get sick early in life. I was struggling to appreciate God’s promises that He will be with us throughout this journey. I was struggling to obey God’s will and plan, no matter how painful. But I had to end that struggle real quick because you were waiting for the right answer. That was the start of our journey together of growing our faith in God. That’s why Huey, you learned to depend on God all your life. You never wavered in your big faith in God. You did not fail to recite the prayers of grace before and after meals and your night prayers. Up until the end, when you no longer can’t, you would ask us to recite them for you. You embraced death as the new life, the eternal life. You would wonder why people cry when people die, because you believed that they are going to a better place. And Huey, rest assured, you are going to a better place, as God promised, according to His grand plan. Up there, there will be no more of chemotherapy and its side effects of vomiting, headaches, weakness, no more lumbar taps, no more anesthesia, no more bone marrow aspirations, no more restlessness. Just peace…
Huey, in all of the 12 years of taking care of you, I have to thank you for so many things, rather than you thanking us, your family.
Thank you for being a great teacher of almost all the lessons I can ever learn in my lifetime – lessons of patience, resilience, optimism, brevity, courage, strength of character, self-sacrifice, being a man for others, generosity, honesty, courtesy, bigness of heart, and most of all, faith in God. How can I not learn all this time when you yourself were full of zest for life in spite of? How can I not learn all this time when you were able to rise above each of the 4 relapses, endured more than 200 hospital confinements, endured more than 200 injections and punctures, endured more than 200 lumbar taps, endured more than 200 bone marrow aspirations? And yet, you didn’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, you didn’t want to cause burden to people around you who cared for you. And yet, you remained faithful, prayerful, and thankful to God.
Not many people know about your advocacy for Mother Earth and your concern for the next president of the Philippines. Don’t worry Huey, I will continue checking for water leaks and power consumptions at home. And I will vote wisely.
I know you want me to thank the special people who saw us through your journey.
1. Your doctors and UERMMMC Hospital
- Dr. Cynthia C. Castro, your Tita Cynthia. Cynthia, thank you for treating my son as your own, like the real brother to your own Francis.
- Dr. Jingjing Aure, your Tita Jingjing, your sleeping doctor. Jingjng, thank you for being always available to make him sleep soundly during the procedures.
- Dr. Tomas L. Sepulveda, your Dad, our family doctor. Honey, thank you for being the good doctor that you are to a good and obedient patient that was our son Huey. At 7:15 am, Daddy commanded you in a loud voice to let go and that we are ok. You turned your head to the right where the sound was coming from. You opened your eyes to Daddy and smiled and then nodded. Then you breathed your last. The pain of a father is no different from the pain of a mother.
2. I know you want me to thank your lolos and lolas, titos and titas, and cousins for the many fun memories of their company, love and support.
3. I know you want me to thank the whole Ateneo community for the outpouring of love, prayers, and monetary support. Special thanks to Prep – Makisig and 1 – Kamagong classes and the ateneo 2011 yahoo group for the love and support since the beginning of Huey’s journey. You have been witnesses to our one big fight. Our gentle giant must be wiggling his body and laughing out loud over last night’s necrological blast that you prepared. Let’s continue the friendship. Please keep in touch.
4. I know you want me to thank your caregiver of long standing – Nanay Mely. As you reminded me time and again to draw up a retirement plan for her this year when she turns 60, I will do that.
5. I know you want me to thank my Colgate family, where I work, for giving me a chance to take care of you and be around you and at the same time, still working out my own career.
This is the end of your journey on earth. It was 12 years of a life well lived. Now, you will discover that indeed, you are going to a better place. Fly high Huey. Soar to the highest heavens. I will forever miss you but I am comforted by God’s assurance that He will take good care of you in the eternal life. We love you.
Huey, you know, Ateneo has put up a blog website for you and you have a special mark/place in the Ateneo Grade School Heritage Room. When you were 8 years old and on your first leukemia relapse, you said – “ Mommy, if my classmates really love me, would they build a monument for me, or maybe name a street after me or maybe name a pencil after me?” Remember that Huey?
Huey, I will wait for your reply, your last words to Mommy. Visit me please in a dream or better yet, send a blog, ok? You are now a real angel with real wings in the best place you can ever be. We love you. We are missing you so much. But we will be together soon, in God’s time.
I thank my husband and my only one living son now, Kuya Gian. Honey, I know I am a very strong person but how far and long that strength can take me, I don’t know, and I need a mortal rock to sustain me and that is you. Kuya Gian, you never complained that you were lacking in attention even if more was needed by your sick brother. Thank you. Daddy and Mommy are all yours now.
Thank you to all our relatives, friends, and all of you who condoled with us both by your presence and in thought and spirit. Thanks for your support in whatever form, to help us pick up the pieces…and continue our lives.
Most of all, I thank God for giving us Huey and taking Huey back to Him. In His own chosen Way and Time. For the greater glory of God.
i have a son who studies at the ateneo de manila grade school and i am a member of a yahoogroup for the parents of the grade of my son.
the yahoogroup first got to know about what happened to a batchmate of my son, huey sepulveda some months back. huey had to stop schooling after grade 4 as he was found to have leukemia because his body no longer has the strength to do so.
in recent weeks we heard about huey again and this time things seemed to have turned to the more difficult for him. the members of the yahoogroup sent prayers, encouragement and all the love we can muster for huey, his mom, dad and family.
i am publishing this email sent by huey’s mom, fides to the yahoogroup (with permission from fides) for the ateneo community to read and others who go to this blog to share the road huey and his family are now travelling.
i am asking the ateneo community and those who are reading this to help huey and his family through prayers, encouragement or financial help for this young 12 year old boy.
just this morning, i was sent an urgent text coming from tom, huey’s dad:
I need blood donors type O because my son’s platelet is very, very low. He is bleeding. Please send blood donor to UERM blood bank and tell them it is for Julio Alfonso Sepulveda. I badly need your help. Thanks.
my family’s prayers go for huey and his family.
email from fides, huey’s mom to the yahoogroup:
It is 11 pm now, watching Huey in deep sleep, and I am having my moments. I needed someone to cry to at this time of the night. And I thought of writing you… finally.It has been 1 week and 4 days since I brought Huey to the hospital by ambulance due to severe pain. Since then, he has just been on bed. And as I write this, I am beginning to miss the sprightly Huey that I am used to – walking freely around the house, playing his gadgets carelessly, eating his favorite foods heartily, talking with his big husky voice endlessly.Now, he sleeps more than he is awake. He gets up to recline on the bed with much help. We try to get him back to play his video games (his source of fun) by propping him up in his wheelchair, thinking that it might energize him.In the beginning, he managed to play but only for a measly hour or so. The pain overtakes him, he would give it up to rest and sleep. He has lost his hearty appetite too. No more of the usual order list from him as I did a few groceries in the afternoon today.However the leukemia may be taking its toll on Huey physically, his mind remains alert and his spirit, positive. Huey is not the complaining type, he tolerates as much pain as he could. He is still the sweet Huey who says “Good night, I love you” with a bear hug.As of Feb 1, his blood profile showed that his bone marrow is producing 100% leukemic cells. It has spread so fast that by Feb 12, his peripheral veins are now 80% leukemic cells already. He is under pain management program taking in morphine and other pain killers under a dosage that he is still arousable and with pain that he can manage. He has recurrent fever ( at least twice a day), due to malignancy of his leukemia. He’s had platelets transfusion twice in a week. It is going to be like this in the next days or weeks to come – pain killing and blood transfusion – until the final call comes.When he wakes up, it is almost like a big reunion for the 4 of us. We savor the time as if it is our last time together as a complete family.This has long been overdue but please allow me to thank you all for your prayers, love, time, attention, and financial support for Huey and our family. To think that Huey has stopped schooling in Ateneo in Grade 4. As Vxxx would always remind me, this is the Ateneo way… and so I thought of writing you my pain as a parent because I know you are with me in this.Thank you to your angels too – your sons, who will surely become like you - parents for others.Good night! Time to hug Huey in his sleep….Sincerely yours,Fides