You were Juelly and I was Jules. We went to the same high school, albeit 30 years apart. We had the same corny sense of humor. We both liked Wendy’s Chocolate Frosties. It was not coincidence. It was fate. We were meant to cross paths and I am forever grateful that we did.
I had the pleasure of working for you from January of 2006 to July of 2007. A mere calendar year in time but it laid the foundation for who I am today, for who I will become. In my year as your assistant, I learned to type, file, organize, shred and encode. More than that, I learned attention to detail, how to forge relationships with people, humility and the value of hard work. No one worked harder than you though. You were so dedicated to that little office and so sincere in your desire to help others. “Hayyy Buhay, Parang Life” is what you’d always say when we had particularly tiring days. There were a lot of those days, but it didn’t matter, in a show of incredible strength, you dug deep and persevered through it all. It was your family who kept you going. John, Thomas and Jeffrey were your everything. I can still see the way your face beams with pride and love as you spoke of them and their accomplishments.
You were a mom to everyone, including me. I couldn’t take a sick leave without you calling to remind me to take medicine. You were so involved and updated in my life, my school work and my love life. My favorite memories of working with you were the light days when we could chismis and laugh over a coffee or Wendy’s Frosty. We had the same corny sense of humor and the simplest of things could make us laugh. One of our running jokes was your ridiculously cluttered desk. Your desk is like a time capsule, I swear there’s stuff there from 1988. One fateful day, I couldn’t take it anymore so after you left, I organized your desk and cleaned it. You were so surprised the next day and I’ll never forget how thrilled you were. It always made me happy to see you happy.
Even when my time as your assistant came to an end and long after I moved out of NYC we would always keep in touch. My trips to New York were never complete without stopping by the old office and a lunch at Rosa Mexicano (you knew this was my favorite). We would chismis like old times and you would send me home armed with Fordham giveaways and more Post-Its than I knew what to do with. While I am extremely thankful we saw each other this year, I wish I knew it was going to be the last. Our lunch was not long enough. Our hug was not tight enough. I would never have said good bye.
You were my constant in NYC, as timeless as the city’s skyline. I am beyond heartbroken that you are gone. Things will never be the same. Like many of the people whose lives you graced with your laughter and kindness, I will miss you very much.
Rest in Peace.
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