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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wyngard Tracy Dead

Article from Ricky Lo: A few minutes after the New York-bound JAL touched down at Narita for a stopover, while we were killing time at the airline’s lounge, I told Wyngard Tracy that on the flight from Manila he was snoring like crazy, filling up the whole business class with his rhythmic sound. I was seated directly behind Wyngard and Jose Mari Chan was two seats away, quietly enjoying dreamland in his business suit.

“Did I?” asked Wyngard, looking up from the glossy magazine he was reading and the juice he was drinking.

Yes, he did snore but it wasn’t really that “scandalous,” sounding only like the buzzing of a bee searching for a warm arm to bite. I purposely exaggerated to humor Wyngard who had the exceptional ability (something I endlessly envied) to doze off as soon as he fastened his seatbelt for the takeoff and to rub his eyes awake as soon as the “fasten your seatbelt” sign went on.

Relieved perhaps that I was only joking, on the 12-hour flight from Narita to New York, Wyngard did the same — merrily but quietly snored his way through, requesting the stewardess not to rouse him even for meals.

I imagined Wyngard quietly snoring as if dreaming the most beautiful of dreams, lit up by the non-stop singing of his favorite singers (with Side A, the band he managed, as backgrounder), as he lay in coma for more than a month at the ICU of Makati Med where he underwent a five-point surgery that included a double bypass, an aorta repair and valve replacement on July 28. The doctors were surprised how Wyngard quickly recovered. Barely two months later, I saw him as good as new, minus a few pounds, at GMA. He was back in the grind, even attending some parties, until exactly a month ago today when he suffered a stroke that brought him back to Makati Med.

All throughout, June Torrejon kept friends posted on Wyngard’s “recovery” progress — he opened his eyes very slightly, he moved his hands very slightly, he smiled very slightly, he seemed to want to talk but he was prevented from doing it by the ventilator stuck into his mouth, etc.

And yesterday morning, Wyngard’s friends got what may be one of the saddest text messages ever — Wyngard has joined the Lord at past 3 a.m., Nov. 16 — followed four hours later by another one — Wyngard’s remains were cremated as per his last wish; there won’t be any wake, but a party is scheduled on Thursday, Nov. 18.

That fast. How fleeting life is, how ephemeral, how temporary! Recalling how my own little brother was cremated 15 years ago, I imagined Wyngard’s 200-plus bulk being reduced to ashes second by second, minute by minute, until what remained was a handful. How humbling! My favorite song started playing and replaying in my mind: All we are is dust in the wind...nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky…The body that Wyngard pampered with his favorite food (like the mouth-watering steak at Gustavus that he, Raoul Tidalgo and I shared for dinner barely three months before Wyngard’s heart surgery), his favorite bath soap, his favorite perfume and with regular therapeutic massage…that body weighs no more than half a pound now, safely gathered in an urn.

Yesterday, friends and colleagues gathered for Mass at the La Salle Greenhills Chapel and bid Wyngard their fond farewell, including (as expected) the talents he had “inherited” from Douglas Quijano who died in his sleep in June last year — among them, Richard Gomez and his wife Lucy Torres, and John Estrada. Wyngard Tracy. Douglas Quijano. Two good men gone too soon.

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