Former actor Wowie de Guzman and wife Sheryl Ann Reyes pose for their pre-nuptial photo shoot in 2013. Photo from the Facebook page of Reflexion Studios
MANILA - (UPDATED) The wife of former actor Wowie de Guzman, Sheryl Ann Reyes, died last Saturday, a month after giving birth to their first child. She was 26.
An emotional de Guzman faced ABS-CBN News on Tuesday during the wake held at United Church of Christ Sta. Catalina in Reyes' hometown of Lubao, Pampanga.
The 37-year-old former dancer, who rose to fame in the '90s as a leading man in soap operas, said he is still not sure as to what caused his wife's death.
"Sobrang bilis talaga, eh. Wala, hindi namin alam kung ano'ng nangyari. Wala, natutulog lang kami talaga tapos tumayo lang siya, pumunta sa CR, umihi, tapos bumalik para matulog ulit. Bago siya matulog, uminom siya, parang muscle pain reliever.
"Humiga siya, kasi may parang rayuma siya or arthritis. Pag higa niya, 'yun lang, para siyang nag-choke. Tapos pagpunta ko sa kanya, nag-dilate na 'yung mata niya, nanigas na 'yung mga ganito niya (fingers). Tinry kong i-mouth-to-mouth. Kaya lang, wala talaga, eh," de Guzman narrated.
De Guzman recalled rushing Reyes to a nearby hospital, and requesting doctors repeatedly to attempt reviving her. Actress-host Gladys Reyes, de Guzman's close friend and former co-star, said doctors tried to revive Sheryl for three hours.
"Tinakbo namin sa ospital," de Guzman said. "Nakiusap ako sa mga nandodoon na gawin lahat, kasi everytime na pumupunta sila sa akin, sinasabi walang pintig. Nakikiusap kami na gawin niya pa, baka kasi masalba pa, baka puwede pang tumibok. Kaya lang, siguro talagang hanggang doon lang siguro. Hindi na nila nagawan ng paraan. Wala kaming magagawa."
De Guzman and Reyes were married in July 2013, and welcomed their daughter, Alex Rafael, last March 27.
According to de Guzman, Reyes had been suffering from erratic blood pressure during her pregnancy. This continued even after she gave birth.
Asked if there had been serious signs of Reyes having ill health, de Guzman said, "Wala, eh, kasi wala naman siyang sakit sa puso. Walang history. Wala naman akong alam na kino-complain niya na masakit 'yung puso niya."
"Basta, 'yun lang, noong bago siya manganak, tumaas 'yung blood pressure niya. Hanggang sa pagkatapos niya manganak, pagkatapos niya ma-discharge, 'yon parin ang problema namin -- tumataas tapos bumababa ['yung blood pressure niya]," he added.
De Guzman recalled that they were advised against breastfeeding Alex, as Reyes at the time still had fluctuating blood pressure.
"Ang pinaka-sign lang na nakikita namin, hirap siya maglakad kasi nga parang may rayuma," he said. "Dati pa, gano'n na 'yon, e. Pina-CT scan na namin, pero wala namang nakita. Kailangan lang ng pahinga, 'yon lang ginagawa niya."
Asked if he is blaming anyone for Reyes' passing, de Guzman said, "Wala akong sinisisi, kasi naniniwala ako na gusto ito ng nasa taas, ng Panginoon. Kung meron na may kagustuhan na mangyari ito, siya lang. Medyo masakit, pero kailangan mong tanggapin kasi sigurado naman ako na hindi niya ibibigay ito sa akin na hindi ko makakayanan. Siguro may reason."
Raising daughter alone
While accepting his wife's death will be difficult, de Guzman said he will draw strength from their daughter. He added that he will have to remain strong for Alex, as he is now facing the task of raising her as a single father.
"Ang pinakamaganda doon sa lahat, meron siyang iniwang alaala sa akin, sa pamilya namin. Doon nalang ako huhugot ng lakas ng loob, kasi angdami naming pangarap para sa anak namin.
"Hindi ako puwedeng maging mahina kasi kailangan kong magpaka-strong para sa baby because pag magiging weak ako, unang-una, masasaktan ang asawa ko. Iyon nalang. Iniisip ko nalang na lahat ng nangyayari, may reason. May reason," he said.
De Guzman broke down in tears when asked if he is ready to raise his daughter without Reyes at his side, saying that he is still hoping to somehow see his wife at home.
"Ang hirap kasi," de Guzman said, his voice breaking. "Kung puwede lang sana, bumalik na siya sa amin. Baka sakaling nag-te-taping lang ako, baka nanaginip lang ako, baka eksena lang 'to sa mga trabaho ko."
"Hopefully, pagkatapos nito, pag-uwi ko sa bahay, sa kwarto, nandodoon siya. 'Yung laging nadadatnan ko pag galing ako sa taping... Ang hirap talaga. Nami-miss na namin siya. Mahal, nami-miss ka na namin ni Alex," he said.
Despite Reyes' passing, de Guzman said he still has reason to be happy in Alex. "Lahat kami, masaya. Thankful din ako sa Diyos na healthy siya at walang naging problema. Siguro gina-guide siya ni Sheryl. 'Yun nalang ang iniisip ko. Doon nalang ako kukuha ng strength sa anak ko."
A former member of the dance group Universal Motion Dancers, de Guzman got his big break in the late '90s when he was paired with actress Judy Ann Santos in several TV and film projects, forming one of the most popular love teams at the time.
He continued acting on stage via productions of Gantimpala Theater Foundation. De Guzman's most recent TV series role was in ABS-CBN's "Little Champ" in 2013.