So much has been written about and for you, Sei. I reckon there will be a lot more in the coming days, weeks, months, even years! I know I’ve written quite a number but there’s still so much I want to say to and about you – this is one of those.

525,600 minutes.

365 days.

That’s how long it’s been since you’ve been gone at least in the physical sense, Sei.

I’m referencing Rent’s Seasons of Love because I was reminded quite recently of the times we used to sing this song for our yearly Christmas carol fundraiser and of that time we sang this to and for you during the memorial service in school. Man, we were such a sight to see – I can’t help but think that you were probably shaking your head and laughing at our failed attempts of keeping our tears at bay while trying to sing the notes.

Somehow, I can’t believe it’s been a year.

I still remember the exact moment I learned about the tragic news. I was in a lecture in a museum, right smack in front of the speaker when a good friend texted me to ask if I had “heard”. The moment she broke the news, I had to excuse myself from the lecture and wound up walking around the mall in dire search for an outlet because my phone so conveniently ran out of battery. I ended up in a coffee shop, shamelessly asked to be seated in an occupied table next to the outlet and started calling friends to confirm the news. Everyone was in shock and in a state of disbelief and especially, denial.

I still remember the physical and emotional ache that reverberated through my body as I approached our group of friends who were gathered in a circle crying together in the middle of the Red Brick Road.

Even now I still cannot find it in me to comprehend what happened to you and your family. But I guess I would have to echo this: sometimes it’s okay not to know and understand things. It’s okay to be in the dark when it comes to certain things. It’s okay. We’ll be okay.

Sei, you may not know it and I regret never having the chance to tell you this but you’ve taught me a lot about embracing the unknown. You still continue to teach me that. During Kythe Kamp 2, the last one we’d both experience, we had this final group activity where we were asked to anonymously write down our biggest fears. We gathered those little notes and we’d each take turns drawing a note, reading it out loud for the whole group to hear and then publicly giving advice, words of wisdom and what-not to whoever wrote that note. It was a rather big group then and I remember that you were one of the last few to pick a note. Coincidentally, you picked mine. I remember writing then that my biggest fear is never figuring out who I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to do. I remember how you stayed silent for quite a while after reading my note and how you said that you felt the same way before proceeding to say something along the lines of how the process of figuring things out will take time and how it’s better to just be patient with ourselves.

Today, the fear of never figuring myself out still lingers quite a lot in my mind. It’s something I have to battle with on the daily but it’s a fear that I’m slowly trying to get over. I’m slowly realizing how it is this exact fear that paralyzes me from ever realizing what potential I have in me, what dreams I have that I can chase after. I have you to thank for that, Sei. You may not have known it then but your words really stuck with me. Just the thought that someone was in the same boat was a very comforting one as this is the kind of fear that makes you feel isolated. I wish I was able to talk to you more about this. I wish I was able to share more of these apprehensions, regrets and what-not with you.

Today, I’m in med school – chasing after one of the multitude of dreams that I have for myself. I’m still not sure if this is it for me. I’m still not sure if this is the dream that I should be chasing. I’m still not sure if this is all worth giving up all those other visions I have for myself. But I’m going to take comfort in the fact that this is part of that process you reassured me about.

The day before you were gone, I remember walking up the stairs to Cervini Rec Room with you. I remember you sharing your excitement over an internship opportunity and how you proceeded to ask me how my med school apps were going. I remember telling you how I just got word of my interview slot and how you teasingly called me Doc and wished me luck. Right now, I can’t help but be sad over the fact that I should have been returning the favor to you around this time. You were so  excited about med school. You were so passionate about so many things. You were just so full of life. But as Joyce said, I refuse to say sayang – I’m realizing that you weren’t cheated of a chance to live life fully because you always did just that – you gave so much of yourself, you really put yourself out there. It may been a short journey for you but it was a pretty good one.

I miss you, Sei! 365 days of carrying you and our wonderful memories of you in our minds and in our hearts.

Please, please continue to guide us.