“When someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she's gone, forever —there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.” ~ John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
I first met Aiza in early 2004 on Xanga. Through our public blogs, we shared each other's thoughts and feelings, and we had formed a unique friendship. We met once in person, in the winter of 2006, when she came to visit New York City from San Francisco. We celebrated her visit to the East Coast by having dinner at the legendary Lucky Cheng's drag restaurant. We both agreed that the food was sub-par, but the highlight of the evening was the drag entertainment. After dinner, we walked through the city, and we promised that we would see each other again.
She had been diagnosed with lupus before I had even met her. Much of her blog was about her condition, her struggle to remain healthy, her frustrations and achievements in attaining her Ph.D. in Biology, her lab and research experiences, and her quest to find that one special guy.
Throughout the years, we had remained in touch, mostly through our blogs and through Facebook. I find it amazing that we live in an age where you can find true friendship online. She even frequently commented here on this site (Cathe311), and although she no longer blogged as frequently as she once did, she often left very insightful posts on her Facebook which all her friends appreciated.
Aiza passed away on January 24, 2016 due to complications from lupus. Although I had only ever seen her in person once, I miss her presence very much.
This is an excerpt from her eulogy:
At the time of her passing Aiza was in the final stages of finishing her PhD. Aiza was a great wife, an outstanding mother, strong daughter, caring sister, auntie, cousin and wonderful friend. Despite knowing she was diagnosed at a young age with lupus, Aiza was very appreciative and also aware of how extremely precious life is. She never took a day for granted and she was always willing to try and share her experiences with her family and loved ones whether it was traveling, dining out at new places, or even trying extreme adventurous hobbies such flying or jumping out of planes, and even spontaneously wanting to travel around the world. Yet, she was also able to make time to be with her family and many friends. Additionally, her scientific achievements will also continue to help contribute to the future of science.
Pieces of Hope
by Aiza Cathe Alejandro Go
I've tried to build my character
Instead, I'm beginning to shatter
Failures, death, complications
What else is there to gain?
Before things can get better...
Do I have to go through so much pain?
Can't get up, I'm down here on my knees
Searching for comfort...searching for peace.
Not knowing what to do...
I looked up at the sky
The perfect stillness of it
caused me to sigh
People must have turned to these stars
Hoping for an end to their misery
These stars must have witnessed
the pains, the sufferings, the needy
The stars seemed to pour light on me
It embraced me with so much force
I finally found pieces of hope..
It will help me throughout this course.