How do I begin? How does one’s heart weep and smile at the same time? I sat in front of my table for 30 minutes and I don’t know where to start. This is not an easy article to write. I was not able to finish this when I started writing it on March 15, 2016 but now I think I have enough strength to finish what I started, to finish telling the world about my good friend through my eyes.
Nino Dominic Avendano, Doms to most of the people he met in Cebu, is someone who I met at work and later on became a really good friend of mine. He was a trainer like me, he was a firecracker like me, he was like me. I don’t exactly remember how we became close friends but I guess the universe just conspires to bring people into your lives, some people pass by, some people hurt you, some people make you laugh, some people do both but only a handful are meant to stay. He was someone who stayed.
I think we even became closer when I moved to Operations and he was the trainer supporting the process that I moved into. Allow me to tell you what I best remember what my friend was and is.
FIRECRACKER. This is one of the adjectives that I would use to describe him. Like a firecracker, some people like the fun they bring while some people don’t like them because of the noise. He brought life and fun to our group especially to his closest friends. Some people may not like him but he doesn’t give a rat’s ass for those folks. You either appreciate his being a firecracker or you don’t. I, along with my fellow trainers, loved this part of him. He was fun to be with prior to him getting sick and he did try his best to remain fun to be with as he was going through pain. He was fun, regardless.
FIGHTER. This is the next word that I would remember what my friend was and is. He was someone who was able to overcome some of the big challenges that came into his life. He first fought loneliness when he moved to Cebu. He was able to overcome it by surrounding himself with people that loved him (Sushi, Romil, Maite, Tony, Jorge, Jrams, Jenny, Aimee, John, CAF peeps and the list goes on.) He was also able to brave through his tumultuous matters of the heart that brought him both extreme happiness and sorrow. He fought off a major illness that struck him in 2014-2015. The last battle he overcame was when he was fighting through the pain that he was already feeling inside when we had our 2016 Asian tour. You wouldn’t think that he was in that much pain if you look at our photos. You can see that my good friend looked his best and healthy in all if not in most of our photos. In his moments of weakness when we would force him to eat for sustenance and would advise him to rest, we would get into altercations because he was naturally a fighter in every sense of the word. He did not want us to worry about him. When you get into a fight with him because of the bond you have with him and are able to get over the negative emotions associated with fighting with someone, then you truly are his friend.
FAMILY GUY. This is something that would also best describe Doms. He was and is a family guy. He was the best example of a loving son and brother. He may not have shared it to me up front but when I overhear him talking to his mom and his sister, his love for them overflows. You can really feel the passion that he has for his family from supporting them financially to not giving them any reason to worry. Aside from the love for his mom and his sister, he also loved his fellow trainers and friends at the office. He is someone that you can count on to fight for you when you need back up. He was also able to create a sense of family with his trainees, wave after wave came to see him during his last days in Cebu.
Friendship, as what we call each other (together with Mae and Val), I will not say goodbye to you because I know that you will always be with me in spirit and in truth. I know that you will always look out for us. Tears flow from my eyes because I am sad that you are no longer here in Cebu but my heart smiles since I know that you are no longer in pain. I will miss seeing you in the office, I will miss how you throw a wrench in my schedule for the day. I will miss watching movies with you in Ayala. I will miss having a friend who has single-minded focus on what he wants. I will miss the times where we fight like brothers although this doesn’t happen a lot. I will miss those moments when our minds would sync and we would just look at each other and either end up laughing our hearts out or say “Alam mo yan!” I will miss sharing pictures in our Viber group with Markee. I can go on and on with what I will miss about you. Words may fail me so I will pause for now.
Let me end this by saying, Doms may you find peace as you continue your heavenly tour post our Asian tour. Watch over us while we continue with our earthly tour. I pray that when we meet again someday, years from now, that we continue the journey that we started in this lifetime into the next. “Ikaw na mag create ng itinerary natin jan and remember that Mae and Val do not know how to ride a bike so wala munang cycling tours.” Till we meet again my friend.