Marko De Guzman ‘is happier now’
MANILA, Philippines — For Filipinos, Christmas means families getting together but for the De Guzmans, this year’s celebration will be painfully somber with the absence of their son Marko.
Marko passed away last Nov. 27 after suffering head injury from a vehicle collision involving a Grab car and another car.
The Grab car, which was running fast, crashed into a Light Rail Transit (LRT) column studded with metal scaffoldings.
The accident left Marko suffering from severe brain traumatic injury. He had medical treatment for almost a month before he died.
Ysa Ocliasa, one of Marko’s closest cousins, said after all of the painful medical treatments, Marko can now rest easy with his grandparents.
“It gave us some sort of relief, he is happier now. He is now with our lolo. Yun na lang ini-imagine namin,” she said.
An emotional Ysa narrated that her mother, Isabe Ocliasa, called her to share the sad news that Marko had a car accident.
“I just woke up. I was getting ready for work. It was around 7 a.m., my mom called me. Sabi niya, nasa hospital kami. Then, she broke down crying,” Ysa said as her eyes started to glisten with tears.
Ysa thought the accident was “not that bad,” but after seeing the photos of Marko looking critically injured, she almost could not recognize her cousin.
“I didn’t think that it was that bad because I mean, this kind of thing you don’t expect it to happen to anyone you love. At first, wala masyado, until my mom sent me pictures and it was so bad, parang di ko na siya makilala,” she said, holding back her tears.
Marko’s best friend, Alia Caragay, who was with Marko during the Grab ride, declined to give the details of the accident due to legal reasons.
However, Caragay shared that her last moment with Marko before the accident was hanging out around the University of Santo Tomas and deciding where to eat.
Caragay, Marko’s best friend since high school, said they planned to eat at Marko’s favorite fast food.
“Plano pa namin sa KFC kumain kasi favorite niya ‘yun. Sakto, gutom na gutom na siya,” she said smiling as she remembers her last moment with her best friend.
Time to ‘let go’
Marko was confined at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for almost a month after undergoing procedures which his family described as “risky.”
According to Ysa, Marko’s mother, Belot De Guzman, was bent on providing all the medical support to save Marko’s life even if it meant she would not see him normal again.
“Tita Belot has always fought since day one. We will do anything to save him kahit anong deficits ang meron, kahit na hindi na siya mag-go back to normal. Whatever it takes to save him,” she said.
Caragay who also spent her time visiting Marko at the hospital said she would not know what to react after doctors revealed that Marko had complications.
“Tapos parang nagulat na lang kami biglang may infections and all. After parang isang week din walang nakuhang infections. Tapos nalagpasan yun. Tapos one day biglang nagkaroon ng complications. Hindi ko alam mafi-feel ko,” she said.
However, after weeks of confinement, Ysa revealed that when Marko’s mother saw how her son was suffering from the pain, they decided it was time to let him go.
“Until the very last moment na mukha talaga siyang hirap na hirap, pagkasabi na pagkasabi na handa na siya [Belot], ‘Okay na, let go na,’ That’s when Marko left us,” Ysa said.
During Marko’s wake in Arlington Chapels in Quezon City, visitors displayed items near his casket that reminded them of their favorite moments with Marko. It was aptly named “Memory Corner.”
Caragay said she placed “Popo,” the stuffed toy dog that she gave Marko as a gift to remind Marko of his dog while he was staying in his dormitory.
“Yung time na yun papasok yung bagong school year, nun pa lang siya magdo-dorm life,” Caragay said. “Sobrang hilig kasi sa dogs ni Marko tapos nung nakita ko yung stuffed dog na yun gusto ko bilhin ‘to para may kasama siyang dog sa dorm.”
Aside from Caragay’s gift, Ysa said many people also offered their favorite objects or gifts to Marko such “shoes, action figurines and other personal stuff.”
Ysa also said she appreciated Marko’s kindness because she was amazed how a lot of people went to visit Marko’s wake.
“I didn’t appreciate how kind he was, how lambing he was, until I’ve seen that how many lives he touched,” she said.