Letter no. 41: A Suicide Note

 download (1)2 days ago, I was phoning to my friend Jackson. We were happy catching up. But just six hours ago, the wheel of fate paused spinning and he was caught downside lying physically broken, filled with blood on K9th Street. He had just flown down from the 28th floor to escape life, at least that’s what I thought. And all that’s left is a suicide note that moved me and kept me staring at my laptop for quite a while.

Dear Michael,

On the 23rd of August, just 2 days ago. I was talking to a dear friend Jackson whom I hadn’t spoken to for a while then. We were catching up about life and what’s going on with everything. There was so much difference in his voice, like he seemed disturbed. I had known him as a guy who wears the sweetest smile and who had embraced a positive life. He had a good life, a great career in advertising field, surrounded by beautiful friends, and had grown an independent life since we graduated from college. He was the proudest gay who had a fruitful perspective on living normally as the others. I had not spoken to him until that time and learned that he was engaged to his partner situated somewhere Canada. He was telling me about his partner named Josh, who’s working in a bank specializing in figures and how everything started and end up on an engagement. It was true love I knew and I was happy for him the whole time we were talking. It was a surprise call I didn’t know would lead to a premonition.

On the 24th of August, yesterday, he sent me a text message if he could meet me at the church by around 9am. I was worried. I asked if something was wrong and he just replied with a sad face. It just so happened I had an appointment meeting that time booked prior to his message so I texted him I wouldn’t be able to drop by but promised to free my sched on the afternoon. I never heard from him.

Six hours ago, I woke up feeling dizzy. I checked my phone and got a message from Jackson. “I sent you an email last night. If one of these days I’m gone, let Josh know I love him so much.” I hurriedly checked my inbox feeling nervous and tensed and I got a suicide note which he allowed me to publish. August 25, 2:00 AM he wrote:

“My friend,

Don’t consider this a suicide note. It is not. I call it a escape note. The only difference is that, I’m not coming back. This is a message I sent to special people whom I know would understand me. I don’t know what awaits me after doing this but I know it would totally break me free from thoughts. I have been depressed these past few weeks. I often heard people saying suicide is not the answer to your question, and that it’s never gonna help you mend, but I know it’s the end. No one knows what’s out there but maybe I’m just too pissed yet excited to know what’s really out there. Like what is the point of being good when you are surrounded by bad.

I have always thought that love is the greatest feeling and should rule the world. I had four of it, and it all ended the same way- painful, tragic, abusive. People say we need to be hurt to realize the real meaning of love and for us to be careful next time. Well I say I have invested enough and have understood so much to find out in the end that people just make promise by word and not by action. That all the words that have said are just to benefit the present time. In reality, when it comes to love, some people are just really selfish, some don’t care too much or at all, some pour it all up and some just give it all in. I had it all managed at times. I balanced everything.

He says I’m a great person, but guess what, he just turned me down. When he says I’m a great person, he means I deserve someone else. What feelings in the world could have been more painful than breaking an -already-broken heart? Why do people think selfishly. Doesn’t he realize that he is needed and that someone out there is busy supporting and taking the time to love him.

downloadHe’d say I deserve someone better, but the truth is, my heart never looks for any better when it’s contented with him. I have loved him in his lowest and highest points and I guess it’s just fit to say I have loved him as both by fate and by choice.

Love begins at attraction. Love begins at butterflies and colorful flowers we know that. That attraction grows. You see the good and the bad ones, the rest is all a choice. We all live by choice and I hate it when people make promise, build bridges and ruin afterwards just because they just don’t wanna walk on that bridge anymore. The crash is unbearable. When it’s grown bigger and hopes and plans are built, and it crashes, the casualty becomes bigger, and you were left mending alone and fixing those casualties, and then u see yourself back to square one. It’s a cycle and it’s tiring.

The hardest part of loving my friend is when you are talking to silence; that you’ve exhausted all the possible words you could say and you hear nothing; that you keep asking for a thought from him and you’d hear nothing. That you are left with scattered clues and ended up fuzzy. People say don’t overthink too much, but I say don’t underthink too less. It’s not overthinking, it’s expressing concern, that you are always there. People say give it some time and don’t judge. I never did judge, and my worry in giving it some time is that love might fade. People keep insisting the idea of trust, I have always trusted. In fact, I overtrust, but talking to silence isn’t working anymore.

He’d say, it’s never gonna work out because we were oceans apart, but I say, why have we started it in the first place? The answer: It’s because we once believed in the premise of love, that no matter how hard it is, there is always power of sacrifice, of suffering. It has always been a choice to believe. I don’t know what have gone wrong. It’s like he lit a flame, we enjoyed the fire, it conflagrated bigger and I was left killing the tragedy and fixing the casualty. I don’t know, he must have died with the ashes.

Friends like you would always be friends, but you will never feel what I feel ever. They’d say friends are meant to be there but I say, there’s always a digital divide. The truth is, we all have our own lives, and that we make sure it’s all fine before someone else’s lives are. That’s my mistake, I cared more for him rather than my own life because that’s what he taught me before. It’s selfless love.

I’ll be dead in a few.

Find me and my cold body somewhere along the pavements of K9th Street and I’ll see you sometime when your wheel stopped spinning. By the time you’re reading this, I might have flown and escaped.

Tell Josh I have flown, crossed the oceans and watching him.



I could barely breathe after reading his note. I was hoping it’s all a bad dream. But that’s the truth. That’s the truth. Depression can kill.

2 hours ago, I rushed my way to K9th Street to see Jackson. I drove my way to the end of the street as I don’t know his exact address. I saw nothing but a peaceful village filled with children playing on the street. I double checked the signs to make sure I’m on the right street, and yes I was on the right street. I didn’t wanna think it was a joke or something. Until I got another text message from an unknown number.

“Coco, this is Jackson’s mom. See me at the Capitol hospital room 855. Jackson tried to commit suicide on his room, luckily, the maintenance personnel had saved his life. I’ll explain when you get here.”

From then I knew he was safe. I drove my way to the hospital.

I am writing this letter while looking at his fainted face beside his bed.

God still wins even on darkest hours.

Dont wait for love, make it.



Letter no. 40: Keeping up in a Long Distance Relationship

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Only few out of many long distance relationships survive. Let’s admit it. One thing that differs LDR from other kinds of relationship is its tendency to be either weaker or stronger depending on how you connect; but a remedy can always be pulled of to keep the relationship smooth for as long as you mutually understand each other.

At the end of the day, it’s still up to the level of your understanding and passion to go on. No kinds of relationship would survive if it isn’t mutual. Here are a few tips for you to keep up in a long distance relationship. I’d like to disclaim though that this is still case to case basis but generally speaking, it may help.

  • Communication is a must.
    Let me clarify though that communication has certain frequencies. We are not talking about hours or days or every other minute in specific but I must say not too long like months or years. Remember that communication is the only way you can connect to him or her. A lot could happen in months. You can come up with an agreement on when to communicate and talk. Every other day or twice a week wouldn’t hurt. We have lots of ways to deal with communication nowadays- skype, email, social networking, mobile applications, etc. Leave a message if there’s no time for communicating face to face. You have to consider time zone (if your loved ones are located outside the country).
    Communicate with feelings.
    Whenever you two are talking, make every second a moment to reminisce and remember. Trascend your love and show expression of love, gesture of happiness and appreciation. If talking on phone, express it through the tone of your voice or when your’e talking on videos, a gesture of kiss or wink or anything you can think of wouldn’t hurt. It’s a video after all so let the person think as if you’re talking face to face, physically present to each other.

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  • Don’t draw judgement.
    We sometimes have the tendency to be paranoid or draw judgement on what’s going on the other side if we haven’t communicated for a while. If the love you’ve invested is real, pure and sincere, you have nothing to worry about. Believe me, don’t think about it too much, but don’t come to the point that you’re thinking about it too less, that wouldn’t make a difference. Give general updates to avoid paranoia. Don’t draw judgment until he/she talks to you about the delay.Most of the time, this is one of the major causes of LDR failure, so avoid it as much as possible.

    Solve problems through call or videochat, not through SMS.
    Another cause of misunderstanding is when you two talk about sensitive topics through SMS or solve an issue through SMS or instant messengers. Remember that a simple messsage can be decoded differently on the recipient’s side. A simple “I’ll talk to you when I have the time” can mean either he/she doesn’t have the time now, or he’s dealing with a situation that can’t be talked about now, or there’s something you need to talk about on the right time.Another weakness is that, you would have a tendency to look back at it when things go wrong in the future, and it might cause another issue.Delete messages of reconciliation, problem solving rather talk about things on call or videochat, in that way, you would clearly decode the message you are conveying to each other.

  • Be honest. Integrity dear.
    It’s basic everyone must comply with. If you feel something is wrong, tell it directly and solve the issue at the end of the talk. You have to remember that it takes the two of you to tango, it’s not healthy to keep emotions inside. If a problem arises, no matter what it is, keep grounded by love. Nothing in the world can’t be solved without talking properly.
  • Look forward and not backward.
    Always move forward. Count the days you’ll soon be together rather than counting the days of how long have you been apart. Always consider the future as this eases your longingness. Or just don’t count on the days at all. Just count the ways.

    Progress even if you’re apart. Act independently.
    It’s not an excuse to stop doing what your’e doing and back out of your plan when you’re apart. Always remember to keep relationship at your priority and keep it along with your priority or dream as an individdual. Being apart doesn’t stop you for being supportive of your loved ones’ dreams. Your life doesn’t also revolve on the two of you specifically. Handle things according to priority but make sure your relationship will always get along with yourself’s. If you dream of being a chef, or a teacher or go some places someday, believe with it and do it. What I’m saying is, you don’t have to be too dependent to your partner, take action on your dreams and let your partner be an inspiration. Support each other. Include him/her on your plan too. Remember that you are fulfilling your dreams for your future family, to build a strong stable self.

    Keep positive thoughts and believe in premise of love.
    Positive vibes/thoughts are always helpful. Be firm and continue to love. We all believe that love begins at attraction; can be a physical features, a character, a deed you won’t forget, a conversation or something you two jived about. And the rest is a choice. You got attracted at first. You fired up the interests. You let it flame with emotions. It conflagrated to commitment and the rest is your choice to keep the fuel alive and passion burning. if you don’t do anything, it would stop at a certain point. The fire will turn into ashes and that ends your relationsip. The challenge is for you to keep it burning.

    Love begins at attraction, and the rest is a choice.


Letter no. 39: The Exit Interview

images (1)She had the law in her hands, a fierce woman who had lived independently all her life, a boss to some thousand employees…

He was a top agent whose tongue is designed to sell, with a work ethics who can set the standard and kill the metrics anytime….

Two faces sitting across each other on a blank square table, both ready for the conversation that would change their lives forever- the exit interview.

Dear Michael,

May 2009.

Meet Ms Katherina Holsy, half Belgian-half Filipina with other blood mixes running on her name; an executive business partner in one of the leading BPO companies in the country. She is a lawyer herself who decided to build a name in the outsourcing industry as a company lawyer and business partner under human resource. She acted as a company consultant as well for procedures of recruitment, transitions and exits. At 33, she still looked stunning despite the pile of papers she’s handling and signing everyday. Her sophisticated aura coined her few A.K.A’s from employees on the floor: The terror, The boss, Ms K. She’s all that, a woman of dignity without a sense of humor. She’s a woman of one word- “win”. She hasn’t lost any case to add by far.

Meet Gregg, a top performer agent whose tongue was designed to talk and sell, and noted, yeah… be sold. He pretty much got most of the perks the company had offered. He talks so well on phone for his colleagues to call him the god of telesales on the floor. He worked for the same company as Ms K’s, under a telecommunication account. At 23, he considered his job temporary. He knew some other profession out there was waiting for him to fill his toes in. He paused for college due to financial constraints where he took up a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

One time on a busy rainy Monday, their paths met for an important conversation they didn’t know would change both their lives. Gregg was resigning from his work and Ms Katherine was the personnel assigned to conduct the exit interview with him.

It was a busy Monday and the rain was pouring heavily. Ms Katherine was running out of time as she dragged her SUV to the garage, right just near the building where she was working. She pulled her trench coat out of his carseat and grabbed some documents that she’s supposed to sign in that morning but she forgot due to a lot of other paper she needed to work on the night before. She rushed towards the glass door and almost got lost as she passed through the crowded lobby, full of employees waiting for the next elevator to swallow and drop them to the world of telephones. In a call center industry, everywhere you look is so fast paced. People are always in a rush. She still managed to fix her hair a little bit though while standing in line at the lobby. She took a quick look at the wall mirror for a retouch, and everything else seemed fine.

And there he was, Gregg, on that same elevator in a soaked loafer shoes, faded jeans and plain white shirt with a full blown hair misted with raindrops. He was so ready and prepared. He was holding a brown envelope, almost wet, with the copy of the resignation letter and clearance inside. 

Life in a call center for Gregg was routinary. He takes calls for ten business days, wait for the 11th and be temporary rich. He answers about 50 calls a day from irrate customers for a non working mobile phones just to find out that their phone battery is not charged. He sells mobile accessories that really wouldn’t matter for a day to day living. He reaches his quota with a speed limit no one has ever exceeded, and get extra perks in between payout cut offs. But that’s just about it. He found no other reason to stay apart from friends who had really been so close to him since day one. But he would set that aside because he felt that he has a mission somewhere out there in the world, a job where he could use his skills and where he could be happier. His plans were all laid out. This was the beginning of his fulfilled life at least he thought. He cleared his throat as the elevator opened and landed on the 9th floor where the human resource department was located. He was excited rather than nervous. That’s going to be the last process and he’s totally out of the company.

At 8:00 in the morning, Ms. Katherine was in, on the dot.

At 8:05, just five minutes later, Gregg knocked on her door. 

He sat quietly just as she offered a seat. She ran through his records with her index finger and almost got surprised with his metrics.

You have quite an impressive record in telesales”, she began.

Thank you Ma’am.”, he simply replied.

He looked down the floor and noticed the dripping water from his wet pants. It’s terrible.

So what made you decide to leave the company. Basing from records, this could be a good start for you to acquire even higher positions, a perfect opportunity. You know this business, new accounts are popping almost every month. Are you sure about this?”, Miss K continued.

Was he sure about it? Yes he was. Why was he leaving then. He thought for several seconds to compose an answer.

“You know Ma’am, in my almost two years of being in the company, I realized I really don’t belong to a routinary work where I drag myself everyday to shower and prepare. I never get excited for a single day. I always look at my wrist watch and wait for my break time or to finally log out. A job is supposed to be something that you are happy working for and won’t need to wait for a day to be over”, he paused for a while and thought twice if it’s necessary for him to say, but he said it anyway.

“I just realized there’s something out there waiting for me to fill my shoes in. The world is big for me to stuck myself in a small room. Time is running. Two years had passed and where am I?..,still going back and forth to this building, filling my logs for 10 business days, waiting for the 11th  and be temporary rich. I go home and sleep. I go back to work but still sleepless, burnt and toxic. I talk to people over the phone and sell products that aren’t really mine, and the cycle goes on.”, he finally dropped the bomb. images

Miss Katherine became a little bit interested in a way. The man had a point. God, How long had she been here sitting on the same chair everyday. She had been staying in the company for seven years, made an average to high pay but she never had a time merely to discover her other potential. 

He interrupted her daydreaming.

“I just feel like being a rain who becomes water eventually. I travel a little bit to land, stayed for sometime, goes up in the air and mingle with clouds. If I get promoted here, I would do the same though, the ladder is not too steep, I would still answer calls, like at the end of the day, I am still a rain. I will still drop on land and go with the flow.”

“Does that suppose to mean under estimation of the industry?”, she curiously replied.

“It isn’t Ma’am. It is a state of reality. If people are happy doing these things like you do, then you stay. Because this is your forte. If this is something you like to do, then there’s nothing wrong. What I’m just saying is, people have different perspective and level of contentment.”. He answered with conviction.

She paused for awhile and pretended to be writing down something on a piece of paper. The truth is, her mind was traveling to some place by then.

Had she not been here, she could be somewhere else, maybe a manager of a coffee shop somwehere in a serene place like Tagaytay, where people often smile on a day break. She could be managing her own salon, where everyone enters to be more beautiful and relaxed. She never liked being a lawyer anyway. It just runs in their blood. She was forced to take up law by her parents who happened to be lawyers themselves. Being an only daughter, she never had any choice but follow her parents’ path. And there she was, contemplating on what had happened. She thought of that once in a while, but never really did risk to go on and start over what’s making her happy.

“Ma’am?”, Gregg broke the sudden silence.

She got back to reality.

Oh yeah, as I was saying. That was really brave of you to face life…Now, tell me, how old are you?”

I’m 22 Ma’am and been working here for two years. To answer your question about leaving, I am doing so to probably continue and eventually finish college. I paused studying.., due to financial constraints the time I started working here. But you know, I realized, if I stay here for too long, I would die here for nothing. So, I’m going back and regaining. On the span of time working here, I saved some and I recently acquired a scholarship from our town Mayor who would waive for my tuition fee, so I guess I could start. I have this friend who’s working in Starbucks and they’re accepting part time job for students, or maybe in McDonald’s. I am not sure, but sure thing is that I am leaving. I hope that makes sense.” Gregg answered.

Miss Katherine couldn’t say a word. The man had a wise tongue and a big brain, surely he’s the type who’s never gonna give up. 

Absolute sense. You are too young but you think too experienced. I know you’d go far, but I just have one question.”

‘What is it Ma’am?“, Gregg’s interest arouse.

“I was just wondering since you are targetting for a part time job, why won’t you just continue here, I mean like part time, while you are studying, you can devote four hours to five here, not bad. I mean I’m just curious. Why would you rather prefer to resign” She said.

“Because I have tried working here Ma’am and for here I realized these things. I’m not happy of what I do, I’d rather go out and explore other possibilities and interact with people, where my words could make a change, where my words would better be valued. I have small knowledge of marketing and business and I’m planning to start up my own. I know it would be too big think  about, but you know, all successes came from small idea. I proved that I could sell, so what am I doing here? Let’s put it this way Ma’am if you won’t get me wrong. I’d rather sell my own product rather than be paid for someone else’s to do so. I hope you get the point…, somehow..”

“I do.” She spoke clearly.

There was a long silence. He was right. It was all crystal clear, maybe this boy was her sign to open herself to some other possibilities. Maybe it’s time to find what really would make her happy. In her 33 years of existence, she’d been single and had no time to mingle. She missed the feeling of being heartbroken. She never had much time with her friends. She never had a chance to travel for too long and enjoyed the perks of being independent.

This boy was her calling.

“So where do I sign?”

He handed over the clearance to Ms. Holsy and without a doubt, she signed firmly with dignity on top of her name- Ms. Katherina Holsy, an executive business partner. It sounded really elite, untouchable, boss, yet unhappy.

Right after signing, she closed Gregg’s file and cleaned her desk. There was something running on her mind, a plan. Yes, she would file a leave and find herself, like a retreat. At 33, she believed it’s not too late yet. She pulled her planner from a drawer, checked her emails, ran through the calendar, composed a notification of leave and sent it to the management.

Ms Katherina Holsy, 33, lawyer and executive business partner in one of the leading business process outsourcing company in the Philippines, resigned from the company a week after that exit interview with Gregg to explore the world and seize life before it’s too late. 

May 2014.

Ms Katherina Holsy is running a law firm on her own which is based in Manila. At the same time, she paints on her vacant time. She’s been holding exhibits and conferences and doing auctions of her work to donate to children charities. She’s now married to John Stanzkho whom she met in one of her visits to her hometown in Belgium, and those things make her happy.

Gregg, a dearest friend, I am proud to say, graduated Cum Laude from University of the Philippines in 2012 under Business Administration Bachelor course and is now running his small coffee business in the province. It just started as an idea for his thesis and eventually he made it happen when he was chosen to attend a Bussiness conference October 2011 in Tokyo with two other students as participants. It really inspired him to pursue business. He is now the boss of himself- happy and counting.

An idea only becomes a dream when you start risking and doing a way to make it happen. Time flies, we age physically that we should grow socially too to keep our heads above the water. We are put here not to be stagnant. The world is way big for us to explore.

We should not look for happiness, we should make one.  



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