INSPIRING: She lost her husband but the last photo on his phone motivates her to ‘carry on’

It was a post on Facebook of a framed poster with the words “There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy” that caught our attention. On a regular day, seeing this post on Facebook is something you can draw a couple of hours of motivation but after learning about its deeper, sadder, yet inspiring story behind the post, it made me feel an avalanche of emotions.

Curious, we reached out to Sheryl Drake, the one who posted the photo.

She shared with us the story behind the photo, and the life and love of husband Lukas, who took the inspiring photo.

How they fell in love…

Lukas and Sheryl met on March 2, 2009, at Roadrunner Network Inc. in Makati City where they used to work together doing TV commercials. Lukas was hired to train the editors and visual effects artists. The two were introduced by the Operations Manager telling Lukas, “Lukas, this is Sheryl and she’s a producer and she’ll keep an eye on you!” Lukas looked at Sheryl and did the hand gesture – eyes on you to Sheryl while Sheryl looked at Lukas and said, “All eyes on you!”

Apparently, love at first sight was really true! It was destiny and fate that brought them together.

Since the day when Lukas and Sheryl met, they were constantly teased by their co-workers. On the second week of their meeting, Lukas with the help of a colleague accomplice anonymously left a box with rubber ducks and flowers on Sheryl’s office desk the entire week. Sheryl has a collection of ducks since she was young and when Lukas found out about this, he sent a Facebook friend request including the meaning of his last name – Drake is a male duck. Two weeks after they met, Lukas already asked Sheryl out on a date. They became a couple on Lukas’ birthday on May 2, 2009. Then, they got engaged a year after, which is also on Lukas’ birthday on May 2, 2010. Later on, they got married in Manila on December 28, 2010.

They both traveled the world. They lived and worked in Dubai, Singapore, and Manila. They had a lot of fun adventures together – surfing, skateboarding, open water scuba diving, and road cycling. They lived a happy life together but had to be apart for months due to the nature of Lukas’ work and Sheryl’s visa troubles to visit Canada. In the end, Sheryl was able to secure a visa after a year of waiting. The two settled in Vancouver, Canada.

The long bike ride…

A month and a half ago, on the morning of July 30, which Sheryl described as “a perfect Sunday morning,” the two snuggled in bed until Lukas got up for his long bike ride. After having pancakes and talking to his mom and dad on the phone, Lukas left for his ride. He was so stoked to conquer the three North Shore mountains – Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain in a single day. He was so excited to do this Triple Crown challenge.

We asked Sheryl how she remembered that day and here’s what she told us:

He left around 12:30pm and I left past 1pm to go to our meeting place in Deep Cove, North Vancouver. I got there [to] hang out next to the water then moved to a coffee shop to wait for him there. We were supposed to meet at 5pm so I texted him at 4:30pm to update him where I was waiting. I also asked him to let me know when he was on his way. I waited for him to text me but no reply until 5pm. I didn’t want to text or call him again as I don’t want to distract him while he was biking up and down the mountains. I waited and texted him at 6:30pm to let him know that the coffee shop will close in 30 minutes [but] still [I got] no reply. I even asked the cafe to make a smoothie and include the post-workout powder I brought for Lukas’ recovery drink. I left the coffee shop and moved to the bench facing the hill where he would bike down so I would see him. I was planning to take a video of him as soon as he arrives the finish line where I was waiting and to congratulate him for conquering the Triple Crown Challenge. I waited until 8pm but still no reply until I saw two police officers and another woman who was a Crisis Intervention Worker. I was horrified that they were looking at me as they approached me and asked, “Are you Sheryl?” and I said, “Yes?” then the woman sat beside me and said, “Lukas had a bike accident…” I can’t even remember the exact words. All I can remember was I asked them, “Is he okay?!” And the woman said, “I’m so sorry he didn’t make it..” I closed the laptop on my lap, bent down, and shook my head while saying, “No, no, no… Lukas…No…”

I waited, waited and waited at our meeting to celebrate this achievement but he never arrived. I never imagined that he would leave me so soon and that the celebration would turn out to be a celebration of his life. It was really heartbreaking to lose my true love, my best friend, my travel buddy and my soulmate.

I still can’t believe that morning will be our last time together. I wrote a letter to Lukas and said “I don’t know what’s good about life anymore if you’re not here with me but I’ll promise to be strong and remember all the great memories together. Thank you for being the sweetest and best husband. I’ll always remember how you look at me and how you made me feel so loved and special. I love you forever Lukas!”

Heartbreaking as it is, Sheryl recounted about the accident:

The 32-year-old, male driver was driving up the hill and he didn’t see my husband Lukas biking down the hill. He didn’t stop and turned left on the side street even though he was blinded by the sun. Lukas hit the right side of the car and hit his head and body. The accident happened around 5:40/5:45pm and he was pronounced dead at 6pm.

I would want the life of my husband, Lukas Drake to have meaning by making the area safe to everyone so he can save a lot of lives.

Living in the best memories of Lukas…

Looking back at his life, Sheryl told us of his best memories of Lukas:

My best memories of Lukas was whenever we do things together – he taught me how to ride the skateboard, we learned scuba diving and surfing together, he taught me how to ride the road bike and snowboard. Lukas was a great coach and a very supportive husband. He always believed in me. He would always boost my confidence in everything I wanted to try and he was always proud of me. He would always talk about me to all his friends whenever we’re away from each other. The friends that I first met in Vancouver told me that they know all about me cause Lukas would not stop talking about me. I stepped out of my comfort zone because of him. I’m the best version of myself today because of him. I’m so thankful for the overflowing love and support we had for each other. I also supported him with whatever he wanted to do like with his standup comedy (he would always practice his material in front of me), cycling (I would help prepare his smoothie shake, plan his training and even his diet) and he would always ask for my opinion about anything. He was my best friend and I really miss him so much. We enjoyed doing different things and planning our future together. Our special love for each other is what keeping me strong to face this new adventure.

The photo of a framed poster

“There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.”

It is a great reminder that despite anything else, we really should be happy to be here.

It was the last photo that Lukas took on his phone.

Sheryl shared the photo above on Facebook with the words:

***Thank you, Sheryl, for sharing this difficult part of your life with us. We hope and pray that you find strength in dealing with your loss. Wherever Lukas is now, we hope he is at peace.

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