Ben Capiral, The One Who Ran Out Of Miracles
I volunteered and what you find below (dated 12 April 2015, with a little editing, all italicized), was to be my sharing during the last rites over his body, but I wasn't able to catch up from Pangasinan to deliver it. It's not your usual eulogy. I had asked Manny Garcia to deliver it for me and he said yes, but at the last minute, he realized it can only be delivered by me, and he was right. Manny and his wife Marie, Ben and his wife Alice, Danny & Bing Labadan, Archie & Dory Resurreccion, Kiko & Jing Reyes, Ruben & Yett Layug and many others were classmates of mine and my wife Ampy in Marriage Encounter #4 sponsored by the Bukás Lóob sa Díyos in Los Baños held in Tagaytay City in January 1991 (Doming & Charito Santos were our Class Shepherds; Charito is now also gone). I have always admitted that ME4 saved our marriage. It's been 24 years since our ME4; January 2016 and we will be celebrating our ME4 Silver Anniversary. With Ampy, I was able to attend the Catholic Church rite when they put the ashes into a niche at the St Therese of the Child Jesus chapel's columbarium across the campus of UP Los Baños. Those of us who are alive are grateful to God for whatever we have because we can still have them, including friends who understand us. You thank God while you can. – Frank A Hilario
Ben Capiral was the one who arranged for my being a member of the Knights of Columbus, First Degree and, later, Second Degree. He was also very active in the formation of the St Augustine (Bay, Laguna) KC chapter where I became the PRO. He also arranged for my insurance and was kind enough to pay for the premium when I could not pay at deadline time. I don't remember thanking him. Thank you, Ben.
We must remember to give thanks to people who are kind to us. I didn't see Ben for many years, not because we quarreled but because his interests were different from mine. We did not have many ME4 reunions either. But this January, we had two. That was because Ferdie Moneda came back from New Zealand, minus his wife Ana, who had died earlier. Ferdie stayed for several days and we had two ME4 reunions, not just one, the first when he was newly arrived, the second when he was about to leave again. Ferdie was thanking us profusely for doing those two reunions in his name, both in Ben and Alice's home. We were all having a good time doing the karaoke on both occasions, singing old songs of Frank Sinatra and the Beatles, among others. How would we know that it would be the last time we would see Ben Capiral alive? He had volunteered for the annual Walk for Life of the Knights and collapsed later, never recovering.
Last year I think, Ben was telling me about how he had suffered 2 or 3 or 4 strokes, I don't quite remember the number. But he recovered from all those strokes. Miracles I must say. Afterwards, he looked quite normal, no limp and no speech impediment at all. No stutter. He told me it was because of continued body massage and the will to go back to normal. At one point, he could not speak normally anymore, as if he never learned to speak. It must have been frustrating, but Ben persisted, and he succeeded. By vocalizing he went back to normal speech and by the time I met him, I did not notice any speech abnormality at all. Miracles happen to those who help God make miracles happen.
When I learned about that, I began telling friends and acquaintances who had themselves or who knew people who had suffered a stroke to behave and believe like Ben Capiral. Do the body massage and do your vocalizations if you have to. You have to struggle. A stroke is not the end of the world, unless you give up.
So you see, Ben Capiral had had his number of miracles. Plural. What is the lesson from Ben for us? If you ask me, miracles happen when you play a good part of the process of healing. God helps those who help themselves make miracles. Why not? Don't forget that your body is a temple of God.
This month, April 2015, Ben Capiral ran out of miracles.
That is because he never stopped smoking. Whenever I passed by the house, I always saw him sitting by that tennis table, smoking. If you don't stop smoking, smoking will stop you.
There are two other lessons I would like to tell you. I have a friend, a doctor, who wrote his autobiography in 2005 yet, titled Give Me The Flowers ... Now! He is alive, 91 years old; he wants to "go" but I have been "discouraging" him. He has a Living Will, and his sons and daughters know it. The will says that when it's time for him to go, let him go. No heroic efforts to revive him, no CPR, no ICU, no vegetative state. His family can afford an extended stay in the hospital, but they have to consider the quality of life if they prolonged their daddy's life.
Remember: "Give Me The Flowers ... Now!" Do not wait for tomorrow to say the corny lines like
"I THANK YOU."
"I AM PROUD OF YOU."
"I LOVE YOU."
"I FORGIVE YOU."
To forgive is the most difficult thing to do; I should know – it took me many, many years. If you cannot forgive, it's like you have a stutter and cannot speak properly. But like Ben Capiral, I persisted with my stutter and I was able to forgive my family, not the least myself. God forgives those who forgive.
So now, I say to all of you:
I LOVE YOU!
I FORGIVE YOU!