For me and a group of alumni from Saint Andrew's in Paranaque, that opportunity came two months ago when I bumped into my old high school English teacher, Mr. Chan. Looking frail and sickly, Mr.Chan told me he was sick. I have seen old sick people before, and Mr. Chan's case was no different. But for some reason, I arranged to meet with him at his place to see what I could do for him. Bringing a videocam along, I took a short video of him during our meeting. I had intended to post his video on our alumni group website. Somehow, I was thinking that our group can help him out much more than I can. I was hoping more helping hands would make any task a lot easier to bear.
And helping hands did come. A lot of helping hands. Phone calls and encouraging text messages poured in from his former students. Donations came in, too. Alumni from both near and far who saw Mr. Chan's video on our group website volunteered their share. And many others visited him at his place. Living practically alone as he never had the chance to start his own family, our old mentor was so happy to have so many well-wishers visit him. Those were probably some of the happiest days of his life.
And then he died last week. It was inevitable. He may have been in pain those last few days, but I know he died happy. Happy with the thought that people still care. Happy with the outpouring of love and support. Happy to see so many helping hands.
To all those helping hands, I dedicate this short inspirational poem:
I SHALL NOT PASS THIS WAY AGAIN
Through this toilsome world, alas!
Once, and only once shall I pass;
If a kindness I may show,
If a good deed I may do,
To a suffering fellow man,
Let me do it while I can.
No delay, for it is plain
I shall not pass this way again.