Bebet was my uncle who I never got around to calling Uncle Bebet, Tito Bebet, or Tiyo Bebet. I knew he was my father's brother but since his age was closer to our generation than that of his brothers, I grew up seeing him more as one of my cousins. In family gatherings , he almost always ends up being photographed with us instead of the older generation. And so to me and the rest of my siblings and first cousins in my father's side, he was simply Bebet.
This photo will show you just exactly what I mean. A much younger Bebet beside his best-friend/nephew Jun is shown with his three much older brothers towering behind him, (my father Nene, Tito Carlito and Tito Luis) along with Tita Baby and Lolo Peping. The rest of us came almost successively, not very long after this photo was taken, thus the age difference really wasn't that much so as to make Bebet's seniority to us very obvious to everyone.
There are probably only two moments that stand out in my memory when such actual seniority was summoned by him at least with respect to me. Bebet was every inch my father's brother when he lent his full support and guidance during one of the most difficult times of my life when my father died. The next and the last instance was when he told me about his terminal sickness. It was very difficult for me to understand how anyone can accept certain death with calm acceptance. In fact, it was so difficult that I had no words, only silent tears.
He said it was okay because he has lived a full life. That comforted me in a way and the thought continues to comfort me now that he has passed on. Like the rest of us, he did not have a perfect life but I believe he got to finish most of what he had to do, which is something most of us are still trying to accomplish.
Life is too short to finish everything we want to finish.
That said, let us try to make the most out of the time allotted to us. Have a peaceful journey Bebet.