Lucien Sanchez

June 14, 1960 to January 30, 2005

To me, he was the older cousin who would always greet us with his signature smile. When I grew older, I found out that we technically weren’t even related (his half brother is my cousin, though). But we lived in the same street and he took care of us – in my mind, in his, and in the minds of all our relatives, we were family.

In our family, he was the painter, the carpenter, the all-around-guy – the person even my adept relatives would depend on whenever there was a renovation or repair.

When we were kids, we would always stare at him in awe. He was the guy in control. We would always see him handling some problem in our street, ending a fight, or guarding the precincts during elections.

In every funeral in our street, he would be the one making arrangements with the barangay, putting up the black tents, and setting the chairs and tables. He would be there for the bereaved family every night of the wake, until the traditional funeral march, when he would be the one to lead the traffic enforcers, his black cap covering his head.

No words could explain how we felt last Sunday, when time came for us to make the arrangements for Lucien’s own funeral. We needed him to comfort us in our loss — unconsciously waiting for him to tap us on our shoulders, to tell us that everything is okay.

Later, at 12:30PM, the family and the entire neighborhood will join in the funeral march. It will be different, not seeing him walking beside us, and leading the traffic along the way. But it is our turn now, and nothing will make us prouder than to be the ones to walk by his side to his final resting place.

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