“Nagsisikap po na makabangon. Nagsisikap po na maka-move on.”
This was what Mrs. Cely Bactol, the hardworking and loving mom of demised doctor Israel Bactol whose life story was featured in the two-part special episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya last Saturday (November 28) and in the coming Saturday (December 5), when asked by host Charo Santos-Concio how they’ve been coping from their tragic loss.
As we all know, Doc El was among the valiant frontliners who succumbed to COVID-19 last March. His life may have ended at the young age of 34, but his family, friends, colleagues, and beloved girlfriend Dr. Lerma Iglesia take pride on how he’s able to live a fruitful and inspiring life through his heroic deeds as a “doctor to the barrios” and a cardiologist.
“Lagi kong naaalala sa aking anak ay ‘yong kanyang pagiging humble. Ang aking anak po na si Israel ay hindi marunong magbarumbado. Kahit na hindi nagugustuhan ang sinasabi, umiiling lang,” Nanay Cely related when asked what she would remember the most about her son.
According to Nanay Cely, it was her who convinced Israel to take up medicine in college. But since her and her husband’s compensations as teachers in Nueva Ecija weren’t enough to fund his education, he applied as a DOH (Department of Health) scholar and succeeded. He was able to conquer college and medical school through scholarship and worked for the government as a doctor to the barrio in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro for two years. Aside from serving the people through his expertise, he even made an effort to learn how to drive motorcycle and bought one just to get to the people in far-flung areas.
His lawyer-brother Elijah described him as someone who’s very approachable and had unparalleled sense of understanding and compassion, while his Tatay Romy got emotional as he recalled how his late son could instantly ease negativities up because of his empathy and soothing words.
Meanwhile, his other brother Joshua imparted that he and Doc El used spend a lot of time together when he was still alive, so he’s confident that he was able to tell him everything that he wanted him to know.
With how his family fondly described him, host Charo Santos-Concio concluded how fitting it is for Doc El to be distinguished as the “healer” type of person, saying, “Nagpapakalma ng mga taong nasa kapaligiran niya. Mayroon siyang sense of maturity beyond his years. Tapos malakas ang pakiramdam niya para sa iba. Hindi lang sarili niya ang iniisip niya. Talagang tamang-tama pala ‘yong archetype niya bilang isang tao – na pagiging healer ay dinala niya talaga sa pagiging doktor.”
When asked for her message for the Kapamilya viewers who were able to watch the life story of Doc El on MMK titled “Stethoscope”, Nanay Cely poured her heart out in describing how painful it is for a parent like her to lose a child and in reminding everyone to live a life that pleases God, just like what her son did.
“Lubhang napakahirap mamatayan ng anak. Lalo’t higit sa naging sitwasyon ng anak ko na hindi kami nagkausap, hindi ko siya nakita sa ICU (intensive care unit), hindi ko siya nadamayan, hindi ko siya nakita noong siya’y mamatay. Hindi ko rin siya nakita noong siya ay i-cremate. Abo na lang ang dumating sa akin,” she tearfully started off.
Then she continued, “Lahat tayo ay may hiram lang na buhay. Lahat ng bagay ay hiram. Ang sabi ng aking anak na si Israel, death is not the end of life. Your death is your first birthday in Heaven, in eternity, if you have your relation with Jesus Christ. Death has its own form of beauty, so it should be full of dignity.”
“Kaya sa lahat po, ang hangarin lang natin ay mabuhay tayo ng kalugod-lugod sa Diyos para kung dumating na babawiin Niya sa atin ang buhay na hiram natin, nakahanda tayo upang ibalik natin sa ating Tagalikha.”
Furthermore, Nanay Cely also expressed how grateful and joyful she still is despite of what happened to Doc El as she finds consolation in the thought that he’s now already in the company of God and how He allowed him to live a meaningful and noble life.
“Iyon po ang pinakamatinding joy sa puso ng isang ina – ‘yong alam mo na ‘yong anak mo ay kapiling ng Diyos Ama,” she began.
Then she added, “At ‘yong ligaya na binibigay ng Diyos sa kanya, hindi namin kayang ibigay na mag-asawa. Kaya bagama’t napakasakit, tinatanggap naming ang kaloob ng Diyos sa amin. Kasi sabi niya, in everything, give thanks. So, we also thank Him for taking back our son although the pain is immeasurable. It’s really immeasurable. Pero hiram lang natin ang buhay natin sa Diyos kaya maging handa lang tayo sa panahon na kukuhanin tayo ng Diyos.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa Diyos dahil katulad ng paniniwala ng aming anak, death should be full of dignity. Namatay siya nang marangal, namatay siya na nakapaglingkod siya sa bayan at marangal ang kanyang buhay. Kaya salamat sa Diyos sa dangal na ibinigay Niya sa anak ko.”
Watch this video to witness the whole virtual kumustahan of MMK host Charo Santos-Concio with the Bactol Family!
Don’t miss the second part of Doc El’s life story by watching Maalaala Mo Kaya this coming Saturday (December 5)!