Building a Legacy from Tragedy


The Tragedy

My father suddenly passed away on August 21, 2015, and it was really all sudden.  The cause of death was Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (similar to a heart attack).  He was still in the house and about to be brought to an emergency room when the attack happened.

As he was walking out, he said “Pa-maya-maya” (“in a while”) then he rushed himself back to his bed where he passed away.  It took just around five seconds from the time he said his last words until he passed away.  Five seconds and he never woke up.  It was around 4:00 AM. He was 66 years old.

The nights and days before that, there were no signs that he was going to die really really soon.  There were no physical signs to say the least. Looking back, there were physical and spiritual signs, and God’s plans were being set up.  And that’s looking back.  No one ever saw it looking forward, not even days, hours, minutes, and seconds before his death. Everything became obvious looking back.

I was actually a hundred of kilometers away from my father when it happened.  It was 5:00 AM when my sister knocked on my bedroom door and said that our mother messaged her and that we needed to go to our parents’ house right away, because something serious happened to our father. My world came trembling down thinking that my father either had a stroke or a heart attack. I never thought during that time that he died already. I only knew it when we were halfway on our 3-hour travel. It was sad and I couldn’t believe it but I have accepted the fact in a matter of minutes even without much confirmation.

It’s been months a year seven years and everything seems like it was just yesterday.  Part of my world just stopped turning since it happened.


God Setting up the Plan

Some three years before my father passed away, I resigned from the company I have worked for seven years to transfer to a bigger company with bigger compensation package. Two weeks before the end of my employment, something struck me in my mind and I’ve decided not to push through my transfer. Instead, I decided to go back to the province instead and help my father, which I did for the next two years until one year before my father passed away, when I went back to the corporate world again.

Exactly a month before my father died, I have tendered my 30-day resignation notice to  my employer back then. My manager moved my date of resignation to one more week, making it 37 days after my date of tender. I had at least three better offers from other companies back then. It was strange on my part that I have tendered my resignation already even though I have not signed any job offer or contract of employment with any of the companies offering me to work for them. And yes, I had zero idea that my father would be gone in a month time.

Two weeks before my father’s untimely death, he also requested me to give him a grandchild already. He said to me that he’s already 66, and just 6 more years he’ll be 72 years old already. I have assumed that 72 was his target years of living.

One and a half weeks before his death, I called him to help me decide which company should I choose as my next employer. What he chose, I chose. I’ve decided to turn down all other offers.

Five days before my father died, he asked me to eat dinner with him at a restaurant. I initially said no since I had eaten dinner already. But eventually agreed to go out since I don’t think he’ll eat dinner if we don’t go out. At 7:30 pm, I informed him and we went out to a Chinese restaurant. While eating, there he was, he told me a lot of things. We’ve talked a lot things without knowing he’ll just live five more days. I (and he) had no idea that those things we talked about were his last wills, instructions, testimonies, opinions, and sentiments. We talked a lot of things that it seemed he summarized his life to me. Some, but not all (since some may be too personal), of what we have talked about are the following:

  • How he helped the family of my mother
  • His siblings and siblings-in-law
  • His wishes to my siblings
  • His vision of eating out every weekend with the rest of the family
  • For me to have a family already
  • Our real properties
  • Other personal matters

The following morning, while he was driving me to the bus terminal, we still talked few more things:

  • If I was really sure with the company I was transferring to. I said I’m sure already, and he was the one who chose it over other companies who have offered me. It made me wonder why he still asked why I’m sure about it.
  • He asked me to study the new computerized requirements of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).  He asked me to help him with his clients about the matter. I didn’t utter a word. Deep inside I was thinking that I was having a hard time already working for him part time on weekends (on top of my full time job on weekdays), and that additional responsibility for me could mean that my full time job would be greatly affected. In fact I was also thinking of not helping him anymore so that I can focus more on my full time career.
  • We also talked of not working abroad. But should a certain presidential candidate wins the upcoming election, I should consider working abroad. It was quite peculiar since my father is like an on/off switch when making decisions. It’s either on or off, and it’s absolute. It was one of the rare times that his opinion  on a matter is relative to the winning of that particular candidate.
  • Lastly, before I went out of the car, he paid me my receivable from him in full, which was also quite peculiar since he rarely pays me in full. The receivables were due from the works I did in helping him in his accounting firm.  And his last words to me were “Madami tayo niyan.” (“We have plenty of those.”) referring to the money he gave me. And “Ingat.” (“Take care.”) as I went out of the car.

Looking back, now that my father is gone, all of these conversations (including those not cited here) are part of a bigger plan. A plan that could only be done by someone superior to each and everyone of us. It can never be systematically planned nor be predicted by anyone else. All of these, I believe, were God’s plan set up for my father’s unexpected departure.

Two days until the day before my father passed away, my father was able to visit all his clients to update their obligations for the month.


The Legacy

Since my father in a way stated his last wills to me, and I think I can continue his job, I therefore think can continue his legacy. I’m his lone disciple.

I was determined to make his last wills into reality, but the decision to continue his legacy didn’t happen a few days after his departure. In fact, I never thought of continuing his profession in that few days. I was thinking that it was my father who chose what company will I be transferring to, hence I shall pursue my career with that company.  I was determined to fulfil his last few words, but I had no interest in continuing his job, business, brotherhood, and his dedication to the Catholic church. But then these happened:

  • For the duration of the funeral of my father, majority of his clients asked us if we will continue the  accounting firm my father left. We answered yes, but on the back of my mind, I was already studying how should I fit these in to my work schedule.  Logic says it can’t be done, but my heart says an overwhelming yes.
  • After my father’s burial, I went back to my employer where I was resigning to fulfil my pending obligations so that I can leave accordingly. I was still thinking whether to continue the firm of my father or be an employee to the company my father chose. The team I was leaving were expecting that I’ll continue the firm of my father and would not push through my employment with my supposed next employer. I asked them why and to them it’s a no brainer. And I was enlightened, from thereon I was determined not to push through my employment, and just continue the firm of my father. There’s no turning back. I’ve made my decision on that moment and decided to focus on continuing the firm my father started before I was born.
  • Everyone I asked for advice said that I should give it a shot and there should be no turning back to the corporate world.
  • I thought that it’s a sign that my father was able to update all of his clients’ obligations right before he died. Because if otherwise, his clients would start looking for other accountants  to fulfil their obligations for the month. I was given a golden opportunity to continue his firm.
  • I remembered his last few words with me that I should study the new BIR requirements and help him. It became other way around now, I’m doing his job and I know he’s helping me up from above.
  • I had continuous job offers from a lot of companies day in and day out. It made me think that should I fail in continuing my father’s legacy, I could easily still go back to the corporate world in a matter of days.

After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to continue his legacy to the extent of what I can do. I’m giving all what I can do to continue his accounting firm, and to make sure his real properties intact and producing as intended. I am also joine his brotherhood, which he had the highest position for a year (one term) few years back. I’m also planning to become a lay minister, as my father had become when he was alive.

The firm. The farm. The brotherhood. The ministry. This one is for you father. I’m continuing your legacy just like the 11 disciples continued the wonders of Jesus forever. I’ll try my best to keep your legacy alive to as long as I can.



  • When you lose a loved one, you will think of them every single day forever. I didn’t believe it before whenever I see someone posts something like it on Facebook and in other sites. But now, I can relate, and you will literally think of them every single day. A lot more than once a day. And trust me, it’s an understatement.
  • It sucks to be single these days. I just couldn’t imagine living 30 to 50 more years without my father. I just couldn’t imagine living that long without my father. I can’t highlight nor inflect it any further, but I just couldn’t imagine living without my father for another 30 to 50 more years. Having a wife and children could help. I’ll just have to update this when that time comes, whether it would really help. But I think so.
  • Unexplained butterflies appearances to those who believe in souls.
  • There are a lot of signs looking back to those who believe.
  • Analyze your dreams.
  • Always practice John 3:16, the two greatest commandments, and other teachings of Jesus. Someday you will be used as an instrument and you will have the greatest purpose in life. Always believe, and love others.
  • Continuing some loved one’s legacy is a choice. It’s a lot of hard work, and you may even lose a lot of better opportunities. But it has the best purpose in life. You will have the best principle in life.
  • You will leave all your money and properties here on earth when you die. You cannot bring them to the grave. Do something that will impact the world in a good way. Don’t just focus on the earthly things. Something like what Jesus did, which still impacts us, 2,000 years after.
  • Give it a shot in continuing your loved one’s legacy. It’s the best thing that you can do. And analyze deeply, it may not be as risky as you may think.


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