The night before the death anniversary of her longtime partner, Comedy King Dolphy, singer-actress Zsa Zsa Padilla couldn’t sleep.
“Normally, I don’t lie down on his side of the bed,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “That night, though, I jokingly said I’d mess up that side. ”
Then she uncorked a bottle of champagne and poured a glass for him.
“People say we should celebrate a loved one’s passing since he is now with our Creator,” she explained.
Being human, she also got a bit “upset” that he still hadn’t made his presence felt.
“I [am still] going through the five stages of grief and it’s been difficult … knowing that it has been a year,” she admitted. “It brings back heart-breaking memories of his last days in the hospital.”
She ended up weeping buckets before she finally slept. “I told him it was still as painful as the night he died.”
She talked to him every day, she said. “There isn’t anything I haven’t told him.”
She also visits him once a month at Heritage Park. “I always bring beautiful flowers and say a little prayer. Then, I tell him: ‘Lovey, let’s go home na.’”
Lovey, her pet name for Dolphy, is tattooed on her left wrist.
She said she missed her late partner’s attentiveness the most. “He was a very sweet man. I miss coming home … snuggling up to him and telling him about my day. He was a such good listener.”
She confessed that she was still “in denial sometimes,” but that she had also realized that it was fine to be alone.
“I’ve learned that it’s all right to be an independent woman. I’ve always been with a man since I was 16. I’ve never been in a more peaceful place than now, being single,” she elaborated.
Friends have proven to be her solace. “You know who your friends are at the worst moments in your life. It’s not how long you’ve been together, but how they’ve stayed through the trials that really matter.”
During Dolphy’s wake and funeral last year, Padilla was a portrait of quiet grace amid anguish.
Then and now, she credits her faith and family as the sources of her fortitude. “God won’t give us anything we can’t handle,” she said. “My daughters (Karylle, Zia and Coco) were my strength as well.”
She only recently realized that they had had “one full year of babang luksa (end of the mourning period) because we went through all the milestones—birthdays, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s— without the person we lost. It hasn’t been easy for Coco, Zia and me, but we’ve all coped. ”
On Wednesday, when the clan gathered at Heritage to mark the first year of Dolphy’s passing, Padilla was again the calm center of the activity.
It was a “solemn” ceremony, she said. “We had a simple Mass with family, close friends and some former employees of RVQ Productions.”
After the Mass, it was a regular working day for most of them. “I had taping. Zia had band rehearsals. But Coco took the day off and went bowling with the Quizon clan.”
To keep the Comedy King’s legacy alive, his sons Eric and Epy Quizon and the rest of the family are mounting a fun run, Botak at Kadla ni Pidol on July 21, starting at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.
For his birthday on July 25, there will be a medical mission at the Museo Pambata, where his statue now stands.
“I cannot run on cement because of scoliosis, but I’ll try to drop by the fun run. I will be present at the medical mission, however,” Padilla said.