Alfredo Tolentino Estacio|
April 18, 1969 - October 13, 2005
Alfredo Estacio (known by "Alfred" and "Freddie") was born in Manila, Philippines, on April 18, 1969. In January 1994, he emigrated from his home country to move to the United States. He settled in the Chicagoland area, where he worked as a nurse in several hospitals over the next 11 years. During that time, he specialized in working in the psychiatric units, helping many who would be considered the outcasts of society to build better and productive lives. His final full-time position was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago.
"Suicide sensitizes all of us to the extreme precariousness and preciousness of life, urging us to cherish and savor the life that we have, the relationships we enjoy, as much as we can for as long as we can. Over the past years, I have been on a journey that was not of my choosing....Like every other person who has lost a loved one to suicide, my friends and I have been transported to the realm of philosophers and poets and religious thinkers. We now find ourselves reflecting on the mystery and power of the will to survive, deliberating the meaning of human existence as we go about our daily lives. In a journey filled with unfamiliar landmarks and unexpected turns, those of us whose loved ones have ended their lives so abruptly and with such anguish do not waver from one unassailable certainty: We dearly miss our mothers and sisters, our husbands and daughters, our brothers and sons, our wives and fathers, our relatives and friends. Yet, our survival–and even triumph–is the legacy we now carry forward, a testament to the memory of those we have loved and inexplicably lost." (From No Time to Say Goodbye by Carla Fine)
In his personal life, Alfredo was know for being an outgoing, friendly, giving person. One of the things I always admired about him is that he was always looking to give of himself to other people, whether it was by helping a friend find a job or trying to bring a smile to a young person's face.
One of his co-workers told us the story that Alfred was working with a young autistic girl who had a particular tendency to focus on and talk about flowers. No matter the day or time, she would talk about how much she loved flowers. One day, Alfred's co-workers noticed that he was not around during his shift and wondered where he had gone. A few minutes later, he showed up with a HUGE sunflower that he had just run to the florist to purchase, bringing smiles and joy to that young girl.
Alfredo passed away unexpectedly on Thursday morning, October 13, 2005, after a long and unsuccessful struggle with substance addiction and depression.
Stunned and grieved, his family and friends gathered together in a standing-room-only funeral home to say goodbye to a guy who has impacted us forever. Too young to go at 36, but we were blessed to have him while we did. The largest room in the funeral home could barely contain all those who showed up for his wake, and all who were there had kind words and wonderful memories of a wonderful person.
Personally, I (Michael, his boyfriend) want all who read this to know that Alfred was the love I never knew I could experience. He took me beyond myself to a place of joy I had never imagined. Even in his final darkest days, the light in his eyes shined through, and his love gives me courage to continue on even though he chose to leave. If I am single the rest of my days, I will have had a most blessed life simply for the time we had together.
Alfred's remains are being returned to his birth country for burial next to his father at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, Philippines.
by Michael Reed
Friends, nothing more
Several years, casually
Knowing, but not noticing, each other.
Until a warm spring evening
A simple kindness awoke me
And I saw what had always been there but overlooked.
A heart that looked to others
Even those unknown, if you could help
You would take them in your arms.
Lovers, and becoming more
Only months, intensity
Loving, and needing, each other.
A frenzied summer
Your love awoke me
And I saw what happiness you could bring.
Your heart was mine
And mine was yours.
Each night you held me in your arms.
Travelers, stumbling together
The final weeks, crumbling
Hurting but then forgiving each other.
The beginning of Fall
Our love never fell
But we saw the pain that sickness could bring.
Our hearts ached together
I wanted to help
But all I could do was hold you in my arms.
Departed, I wanted more
The time went by too soon.
Yet even at the end we had each other.
A clear October morning
Your call awoke me
But then I learned the sorrow that nothing else could bring.
My heart is broken
I couldn’t help you
I held your body, asleep, in my arms.
Memories, and so much more.
My lifetime I will never forget you.
To cherish that we loved each other.
And each new morning
As day awakes me
I have the hope that one blessed thought can bring:
For just beyond what my heart could see that morning
Angels helped you stand
And joyfully, peacefully placed you in God’s Arms.
Memorial Submitted by: Michael Reed