“Dear Jamir Garcia, it hurts all of us to know that you saved so many lives, yet we couldn’t save you. . . .”

Another warrior succumbed to the horrors of depression. 

And there are no words that will ever match the pain of losing someone who has always been an icon, a legend, a man of principle whose words have contributed to healing thousands of lives.

A Great Loss in the Music Industry

Jamir Garcia, born Vladimir Garcia, was the vocalist of Slapshock, one of the Philippines’ greatest and pioneer metal/rock bands. He was 42.

We all had a rough year and we still do. We have been taught that this pandemic is very isolating indeed. Depression is isolating. You can be surrounded by thousands and still feel isolated.

Imagine being alone with a monster in your head; it was already unbearable, pre-pandemic. But try being locked up with your biggest weakness with you all the time… ALL THE TIME. It will weaken and get the best out of you.

Try having that and throw in society’s harsh words. You get a definite recipe for disaster. 

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

We hate to be doing this, BUT we have to.  No, scratch that, WE MUST.

Just recently, we were bombarded with news of the band’s disbandment, and everyone was shocked. Not only because one of the strongest foundations of the OPM Rock/Metal scene was about to be gone, but also because of the allegations that were brought to light.

And we no longer will mention it. You guys know what the tea is. 

For someone whose lifelong advocacy and legacy are all about generosity and teachings, it was of course a different blow when all that he has worked for and is known for has been taken away from him, with just one alleged claim.

Jamir’s camp kept mum on the issue, and sadly this as I interpret personally usually means a sign of respect; for the band, their legacy, and the members.

And I applaud Jamir, till the very end, he kept mum, he chose to let people talk away and he was kind enough not to ostracize anyone. And I believe this, for his was one of the greatest and saddest truths.

He showed how someone can take things with dignity despite the pain & difficulty this entails, but this came with a price, his life. 

A Responsibility to Be Kind, Always

Waking up to someone’s passing is never easy. Never.

But knowing that society dealt a hand that led to this is just plain unbelievable. It’s like waking up to a Black Mirror episode. A nightmare turned into reality. 

How is it that we allow this level of bullying? You got that right. BULLYING.

Words, as they say, is way harsher and cuts deeper than a sword. The impact of what we utter, of the allegations, judgments, and the mockery it entails is just way too inhumane.

Doesn’t ‘innocent until proven guilty’ apply anymore?

Are we so caught up in a reality where we can easily just destroy someone for the sake of being relevant?

I mean, as an entertainment media outfit, we know this more than anyone.

But, we should always make sure to present truths without disparaging comments. Let us be responsible for presenting facts especially in a world where our words can easily be construed to bring out the worst in people.

We are facing one of the most difficult times we’ve had to face, and the least we can do is to do away with unnecessary toxicity. 

A Legacy That Will #LiveForever

This 2020, we saw one of the highest rates of suicide there is. We have lost a lot, and it is becoming an alarming truth. 

Jamir’s death, for us in the music community signals a difficult reality. We lost a TRUE LEGEND. Someone whose work ethic and passion have driven many in the industry to be better. Now, we are reeling with the truth of another great loss. 

Let us not allow toxicity to overcome humanity. Let us choose kindness over correctness. Let us create a safe space where we can have a discourse without the need to be right; instead, let us do it to share truths and find a middle ground. 

Correct people, yes. But do so out of love & care. Do not do it with the intention to destroy. Do it for the right reasons. 

Losing a life over temporary & materialistic reasons is never ideal. Someone’s life should weigh more than that, it is priceless. We should always protect it.

Related Story: VIRAL: Razorback Drummer Brian Velasco’s suicide shakes music community

Seek help, express, open up, & fight back!

It’s difficult to say these words when I’m going through the same, and the monster becomes unbearable, it’s totally consuming, so i can relate to the horrors of going through grueling depression, while at the same time, having to face the world and keep living.

The need to focus on a thought, to stay alive, to hold on and exist no matter what because depression truly kills even while you’re still breathing.

It’s easy to tell someone, “Cheer up!”, “Don’t kill yourself!” Really. I mean, everyone can say these words. But having to be at the receiving end is not easy. It never is. 

Some say that ending your life constitutes cowardice but I would disagree. For me, it is a sign of desperation. An act driven by a belief that doing so would be the best solution. And let’s be clear. I am not advocating for this, no never. I simply am saying that I do understand where they are coming from.

And it is but high time for all of us to understand this too. Depression is too deeply embedded in one’s mind. It is a gripping disease, it paralyzes. It can hijack one’s rational mind, and to escape, the option is to find a way out, like when a cancer patient is in so much pain, the highest dose of morphine is given.

What someone who’s depressed needs more than ever is someone who can lend a listening ear, someone to hold your hand, feed you when you can’t do it yourself, think for you, because even the simplest of life’s routines like taking care of yourself can be so difficult sometimes.

When the world we live in becomes a toxic reality we often forget to PRIORITIZE OUR MENTAL HEALTH. That’s the most important thing we can do.  But the sad truth is, it’s way easier to write a short eulogy, to send our tribute and move on ,than be faced with a loved one who is depressed.

Many famous people who killed themselves achieved so much, and yet it wasn’t enough to keep them alive. The irony? The supposed community they served more or less is also the same one that drives them to their demise. The paradox of fame.

‌Another death to remind us that depression is real and it kills. I hope this will be the last one. 

I hope we can prioritize kindness over anything else.

Rest easy, Jamir Garcia.