Action superstar Rudy Fernandez never lost hissense of humor despite the fact that he was slowly and painfully losinghis battle against cancer.
"Pilyo pa rin," said friend and manager LolitSolis yesterday, June 7, at Daboy's (Rudy's nickname) wake at the Heritage Parkin Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
Lolit recalled some memories that attest to Rudy's enduring wit during the time he was stricken withperiampullary cancer.
"Like one time, dumalaw si Alma Moreno ‘tapossabi ni Lorna, para siguro bigyan sila ng moment na dalawa, ‘Labas muna ‘ko, maygagawin ako.' ‘Tapos sabi ni Daboy, ‘Paano ‘yan pag iihi ako?"
To which Lorna replied, "Ayan naman si Nes, o,patulong ka." With a grin, Lolit fondly remembered Daboy's impishresponse, "Sabi niya, ayoko nga, baka pagnasaan niya ‘ko."
According to Lolit, one of Daboy's mostadmirable traits was his ability to put up a brave face during moments ofadversity. Most often than not, his strong will never failed to amaze hisfriends and relatives.
Lolit shared, "Lungkot na lungkot na kayongdalawa, dun nakatingin sa kanya dahil iniisip niyo ‘Kawawa naman si Daboy.'Nakukuha pa niyang magbiro. Ano ba ‘to? Hindi mo tuloy alam kung talagangnasasaktan o ano dahil talagang nandun pa rin ‘yong pagbibiro niya.
‘Tapos 'yong... ‘Halika hawakan mo ‘ko. ‘Di ba anoka, faith healer?' Ano ‘ko, albularyo? Talagang to the last ano [breath]talaga. ‘Di ba ‘yong biro niya kina Bong [Revilla] ‘tsaka kay Jinggoy[Estrada]. Kasi sabi ni Jinggoy ‘tsakani Bong, ‘Ano [Rudy], malulungkot kami ‘pag nawala ka. Sana humaba pa buhay mo.'"
Again, Rudy's playful nature got the better ofhim. Daboy reportedly turned to his grieving friends and in an attempt tolighten the drama said, "Hindi, huwag kayong malungkot kasi dadalawin ko namankayo. Dadalawin ko pa rin naman kayo."
A surprised Jinggoy could only retort, "Pare,huwag ha, huwag ha,'" smiled Lolit in vivid recollection.
PAINFULREALITY. Still,no amount of joking could hide all the physical and emotional anguish. Rudy's wife, Lorna Tolentino, had to share all the pain throughout her husband'shard-fought battle against the dreaded disease.
"Nagbibiruan sila [Rudy and Lorna] nun, 'kungsinong mawala sa 'tin puwede pang mag-asawa,' tapos sabi ni Lorna ‘Ayoko na, hindina ko makakakita ng katulad mo.'"
Like Rudy, Lorna was an image of toughness inpublic. Many lauded Lorna's brave stance and complimented her for being theideal wife. Privately, however, she was terribly shaken while mustering enough courage to also strengthen Rudy's will.
Lolit felt Lorna's pain. "Alam mo one time,umiyak ako dahil kay Lorna," she said seriously. "Kasi she was acting likeeverything was all right. Kaya kanina, nung sinabi sa ‘kin na ‘yong ano dawsi Daboy, nung humugot ng huling hininga, hindi mo matanggal si Lorna sa pagkakayakap...talagangyakap na yakap daw si [Lorna]."
GIVING UPTHE FIGHT. Daboy'sworsening condition was well known in entertainment circles. Right afterhis 56th birthday last March 3, Rudy and Lorna left for the U.S. for avacation and also to try a new medical method against cancer. The tripunfortunately was cut short as Rudy's condition worsened.
Lolit said of Daboy's final days, "In pain nasiya. Talagang ano, ‘yong sa hospital was okay, ‘yong lucid siya. ‘Yon nga langpayat na payat talagang maaano ka, pero may conversation pa, ano pa, ‘yong sabahay wala nang conversation, e. Talagang ano [mahina] na siya."
Good friend Jinggoy, who was with Rudy when heheaved his final breath, reportedly whispered to Daboy, "Sige, pare okey na,"offered Lolit, "hanggang huling [sandali]...talaga mahirap."
As for Lolit, she candidly admitted that she'smore relieved than sad. She's glad that her friend and ward is now free of allthe pain and discomfort.
"Na-accept ko lang talaga dahil nga nakita ko'nghirap na hirap siya. Parang natanggap ko na, na mas mabuti pa ngang magpahingana...nakita ko talaga ‘yong deterioration nung tao. Talagang wish mo na sana [matapos] nalang."
She generously shared Rudy's personal requestbefore he died. "Basta ang [hiling] niya sa ‘kin, alagaan ko si Lorna. Sabiniya, "Ikaw ha, pareho kayong luka-loka niyang si Lorna baka mamaya sa halip napigilin mo [kunsintihin mo pa]. Kaya dapat ikaw ang magsabi sa kanyangdahan-dahan," beamed Lolit.
Lolit, too, had a personal request to Rudy, nowthat he's gone: "Basta lagi mong tingnan si Lorna dahil magiging mahirap parakay Lorna."