A couple of weeks ago, we got a text from 2299 from someone who wanted to email us something. I forwarded our email addresses and I thought it had something to do with business, like a hosting gig or something. When I finally got the email, it was something I wasn’t quite expecting. With permission from the sender, allow me to share with you the contents of the email, verbatim:
Dear Chico and Del,
I have been wanting to write to you guys since March of this year. I have tried through your web and somehow can’t figure out how I can get a message directly to you.
In any case, let me introduce myself. My name is Raffy Aguila, 47 years old, graduated Mechanical Engineer from UP Diliman. I was introduced to your station by my wife, Maribeth Aguila more than ten years ago. From that day I was hooked, just like my wife when she started listening to you. My daughter, Erika, 11 also knows what station to listen to and has a bad habit of tuning in to 93.1, even when we are in a friend’s car or home.
You don’t really know Maribeth Aguila, but perhaps you might be more familiar with the name “Bewitching or Bwitching,” the name she fondly uses as her ID with your station. She is a not so regular contributor to your top ten, but it must have been 3-4 times when she was nominated top entry. One of her entries for your “top 10 signs” was “hair.com,” in case you might remember.
We both enjoy your morning rush so much that our radio dial could be described as permanently stuck to 93.1. I do not even remember moving it. I can’t help smiling everytime I see my wife in front of her computer giggling. I am sure that she is again listening to your live stream. Everytime I drive to work, my wife will call me on my mobile when she hears something really funny from your station. She makes sure that I listen to your top ten everytime she has an entry.
My wife’s hobby is scrapbooking. She has her circle of friends, mostly professional doctors, businesswomen, and housewives, who meet once a week just to scrap. She chooses different photos, mostly about me or my daughter or many times the whole family, depending on what the theme of the scrapfest (as they call their “eb”) is going to be. She also takes pictures of our Dachshund named Kwankee, flowers, and many others, but what she never fails to take pictures of are the food that we ordered in many restaurants just before we devour it. She has become an expert in photography, more so after she took up lessons from that guy whose name I no longer remember, holding school at Greenhills. She became obsessed with taking the perfect photo for her scrapbook page. Her love for photography has enticed me to buy hear a D90 for Christmas. Lately, she asked me if she can set aside some money to buy a macro lens for the new camera.
Last year, we had the opportunity to travel to Europe. I took her with me on my business trip and we went from Germany to Amsterdam, and then to Italy where we met with my mother and sister who came all the way from Canada so we can enjoy the short vacation. She still had the old Kodak 5 megapixel then, but the pictures she took are so vivid and clear.
Maribeth is a housewife. She graduated Industrial Engineer with honors also from UP. She stopped working 6 years ago from a high paying job so that she can pay more attention to our daughter’s studies. Erika will be on her 6th grade this coming year.
I am writing you this email because I will no longer hear her contribution to your top ten. Nor will I get the phone calls on my mobile on my way to work. You see, she became a victim of robbery in our home, and she got stabbed in the process. The last thing we talked about was our plan to go to Canada, this time with our daughter for a vacation next year, and jokingly asking me what is in store for her this coming Mother’s Day.
I miss her smile everytime I came home from work. I miss her cooking as we try to have dinner together as much as we can. I haven’t been to the restaurants we frequent for simple meals or for special occasions like CYMA, Cosa Nostra and many others. I tried once with my daughter, but we felt so strange as there are now 2, when there used to be three of us. No one would wake me up anymore in the middle of the night when I snore too much. No one to make coffee for two every morning. I still keep saying goodnight every night hoping that somewhere she is responding and saying goodnight, as she always does. I miss holding her hand before we sleep.
I hope there has been an opportunity for you to know her. She will always be my best friend. God has been good in giving her to us. After 22 years of marriage, and 11 years from the time Erika came into our lives, we will be spending Mother’s Day without her. This will be a year of firsts for us. I failed to mention that i call her MAMSKY, and she calls me FAFA. The first Mother’s Day, her first birthday without her, the first time Erika will will attend first day of school without her, my birthday, Erika’s birthday, and so on……
I just want you to know that acceptance is so hard. Has God been good or has been cruel to us? As mothers are the light of the family, our lives seem so dark.
My daughter is staying for the meantime with our Aunt. I, meanwhile keep coming home to our house, where I try my best to feel her, and where I can freely talk to her. I keep looking at her work area where she has her 2 computers, her digital camera, her ipod, 2 printers, a long working table and her computer chair, surrounded by her scrapbooking materials, hoping that I can still get a glimpse of her with her headset, smiling and giggling while listening to your station, and greeting me with her wonderful smile and say “Hi Fafa.” Just one last time, I would like to hold her, kiss her and lovingly say “Hi Mamsky!”
I do not intend to bore you guys with this outlet of mine. Listening to your station has kept the memory of my wife so alive. I see her so clearly when I listen to you. And can’t help but smile and cry on my way to work.
As long as you are in the airwaves, me and my daughter will always be your listeners.
In memory of: Maribeth “Mamsky” Aguila (June 1 1963 – March 10, 2010)
To be honest, I was quite stunned. It’s hard to process so much raw emotion from a complete stranger, but who, within the span of a short email, suddenly became strangely familiar. We often forget that there are people on the other end of the microphone. If not for the textline and Twitter, we would often forget the fact that we’re not really alone in the booth, that there are many people who join us wherever they may be listening from.
I really feel for Raffy and Erika, but I won’t belittle their grief by saying I know how it must feel because I don’t. Unless you’ve had a loved one wrenched from you by some untimely, unfortunate circumstance, you wouldn’t really know. But I admire their courage, it takes a certain amount of both grace and fortitude to carry on despite seemingly insurmountable odds. I really appreciated how Raffy reached out to communicate with us, to tell us their tale. So I thought I’d ask permission if I could share their story on this blog, and Raffy agreed, adding that Beth used to visit this blog and even showed him some posts which she’d find interesting.
I guess it’s also a wake-up call for me, how sometimes I tend to carp about everything that I feel is wrong with my life, not realizing that merely being bestowed with the gift of life is the biggest argument for staying grateful. That whatever we may have, be it scant or bountiful, it could be taken away from us in a heartbeat. But I also learned that in the face of great adversity, hope is a powerful ally. That in the most abysmal darkness , it shines a light, however dim, to help keep you going, even if it’s only a day at a time, in the hope that better days lay ahead.
It’s a sobering feeling. So let this be a little homage to Maribeth; we may not have known her personally, but we feel we know her a little bit better through her husband Raffy. It’s the least we can do to somehow celebrate her life, however cut short it might have been, to help remember her during happier times. And to Raffy and Erika, thank you for reaching out to share with us the memory of a beloved wife and a mother. We are humbled that you saw fit to make us part of your lives, as you are now, somehow part of ours.
Maribeth “Mamsky” Aguila (1963–2010)