A Tribute to Our Colleague and Friend, Giljhon Atienza

GilJhon-outreach-with-ET It is an honor to write this tribute to GJ—a friend, colleague, husband, godfather, father, and son.

We first met GJ just as he was beginning his career at Disque Foundation 3 years ago. He was part of our Empowerment Team. His special Group Sales abilities and charismatic personality were readily apparent! Clearly, he would have an outstanding career in customer service and be a prominent person for our group sales department. This first encounter marked the beginning of our longstanding professional friendship and collaboration.

GJ was committed to improving processes for customer service and always supporting everyone on the team without hesitation. He had a gift of innovative thinking, a visionary spirit, and the unwavering patience required to successfully lead a meaningful stay here at Disque Foundation.

In addition to his devotion to his work and the global improvement of our mission, GJ always found time for his colleagues, his friends, and his family–especially his wife, Evelyn, and his daughter, Gabgab. Having worked with GJ closely over the last few years, I learned much about his love for his family. They were never far from his thoughts in everything he did.

How does one express the amazing essence and spirit of Gil John, his selfless generosity, uncompromising belief in all that is good, and unwavering commitment to family and friends? Words, even the very best of words, cannot pay tribute or truly capture the sense of loss that we feel.

The loss is there–tangible and real within everyone–but GJ exemplified life, love, laughter, and an irrepressible belief and faith in seeing the best in everything, even loss.

And so, today we honor him by profoundly feeling and expressing our loss, but also by remembering Gil John as an amazing person who has played a unique and special role in all of our lives.

We wish you farewell in your journey to eternity. GJ, you will be in our hearts and memories. It was a privilege for us to have been a part of GJ’s life. Although much too short, his was a life well lived! 

A Brother to Depend On

farewell-to-Gj It’s hard to let go of someone so dear to you; more than just a brother, he was my friend. We were not expecting this, and sometimes I feel like this is all just a bad dream. 

I can still remember the last time we were out together as if it was just yesterday. We talked about your plans for the future, how excited you were that Gab would be attending her first day of school and that, as a father, you would be taking her yourself. We recalled our own share of “first day of school moments” from when we were young and how blessed we are today that somehow, unlike before, our children will be in a much better state in school. I was really happy that we were able to provide for our families as fathers. Somehow, I know that you are also doing well in your own way of being a provider and defender of your lovely family. 

Still, despite what happened, I am truly blessed to have you as my brother and friend. I was surprised by the number of messages I received from people that I never expected. They were all saying the same thing. You were always there to reach out first to those who were in need of help. No matter how small the details were, you were there. It warms my heart to know that you are indeed a blessing to many people in your own little way. You were always there to check on them (relatives & friends) and you were always sharing stories of other people without even mentioning the help you were extending them.

Sometimes I still pray and ask God why this happened. But then I realized and asked forgiveness; who am I to ask? The only prayer left for me is for God to embrace us with his grace, that we survive this and come out stronger so we can continue to live out your plans. I will miss the way you laugh at my senseless jokes, how we exchange funny internet memes and your stories, and you taking me to different food spots every time we go out. I will miss how you always find KT his favorite toys; he always appreciates the toys you give him. I will miss your daily video call. Out of all of this, God revealed the true power of love as it overcame the fear of death. I still wish to see you and talk to you, to hug and kiss you, to tell you that you can go and rest now, even for the last time.

I will love and protect the people that you love the most. Rest now, my brother. I love you forever. Until we see each other again.

A Wonderful and Very Loving Husband and Father

Giljhon-fam-pic I would like you to know more about GJ as a husband and father, and how I saw him during his time working at Disque Foundation. It was September 2019 when he first started. He was so excited because, aside from being able to provide financially, the idea of spending most of his time with me and his daughter was what he valued the most. Working from home was truly the best for him. He was so grateful every time he learned something new and was given additional responsibilities and tasks. He was boosted with self-confidence and determination to show how hardworking he was. Every tear and sleepless night never bothered him, as long as he did his work properly. He never wanted to be a burden to his colleagues. He saw himself working at Disque Foundation for a long time. His vision of learning was so broad that it thrilled him. I am so proud of my husband for everything that he has done.

I met GJ back in high school. We were classmates in our third year; we were close friends. I always massaged his back when he was sleeping. He was always sleeping when we had spare time at school because, at that time, he was already a working student. He drove a tricycle after school until midnight. At a young age, he was already a responsible man. After high school graduation, we went our separate ways until he saw me in line for the tricycle. I was in my fourth year of college, and he courted me twice until we became lovers. I was so lucky to have him in my life. We were together for almost twelve years, but in such a short time he was gone too soon. I imagined spending the rest of our lives together in our dream house in Laguna where he purchased land. He was full of dreams and discernment for our family and his relatives, especially for his Aunt “Nanay Emy” and his Uncle “Matcho”. He loved them so dearly. My husband was such a sweetheart to everyone. His charm, friendly and positive attitude towards people made him adorable. Everyone loved and respected him. He was my best friend and he loves me so much that didn’t tell me he was struggling inside. I lost such a good man that I wanted the most, and that is my husband. I miss him every day. I feel so lost and broken without him. I love him so much. I wish he’d come back. The rock and anchor of our family.

Gab is a daddy’s girl. They spent most of their time together since he started working from home. They have a lot of videos and photos on his phone, which made me jealous sometimes but mostly made me feel so blessed that my daughter adores her father so much. She was so blessed to have an amazing daddy. GJ was a great, wonderful, caring, and loving father. Gab misses him every day and I feel sorry for my daughter that at a young age she already lost her father. I know in my heart that GJ will guide and protect his daughter just the way he used to. He loves her very much and he will do anything for her. The love that will never be replaced–a father’s love.

Daddy, we will miss our hugs and cuddles in bed. I just wish I could rewind the clock or make it turn really slow so we could have hugged and kissed you before you had to go. You left us with good memories that will forever be kept in our hearts and no matter how much time passes, we will miss you. The love from you will never be forgotten. I know you are in a better place, with no more pain and suffering. Keep shining bright in heaven so you can light our way. Guide and protect us our dear angel.