Gone too soon

We buried my 36-year old cousin over the weekend after a short but very painful battle with lung cancer that has metastasised into his bones. It was devastating, and just plain sad given that he and his only surviving brother drifted apart from our family for years ever since their parents died during their teens and early twenties. In the last couple of years, his brother sort of slowly came back to us when he got married and started a family. They become part and parcel of weddings, birthday parties and family reunions again. But, Erik, he continued to stay away.

He has actually been the loner among us. Whenever we spent time in our grandparents’ house in Batangas, he would join and play with us. Young as I was, I could already feel the aloofness. It’s like he was there but he wasn’t there. I chalk it up to personality. I could feel that he liked it though, and he didn’t feel left out at all. As we grew older and our folks had a harder time putting us together in place because our interests have already varied, some of us do keep in touch sometimes. We still see each other from time to time, introducing boyfriends and girlfriends, that kind of thing. But maybe their parents weren’t there anymore to push them a little, that started the years of isolation.

I am just glad that our family was there even for Erik’s last remaining months, weeks, days, hours and minutes before he drew his last breath. More for his living brother, that he be able to cope physically, emotionally, mentally and economically, we tried to be there. There was so much to do, so much he left behind, so many questions the answers to which he took to the grave. We literally do not know anything about the man. We still wonder up to now if there was anyone who managed to break through that shell and carefully masked facade.

Good bye Erik. We will meet again.

Ate Eve

You would have been 50 today. We bought a cake and pancit to celebrate the good life you had. We have not forgotten you, and I don’t think we will. Despite the laughter, alam mo naman na masiyahin tayo naturally, kinukurot pa rin kami ng pagkawala mo. I still haven’t been able to blog about you, your life, and your premature departure from this lifetime. Hindi ko pa rin alam ang sasabihin ko, except, thank you for everything. For being a friend, a sister, a great colleague. I still haven’t gotten over the shock that God took you away from us and your family at a very young age. Tayo pa ang huling magkasama. Basta mag-ingat ka kung nasaan ka man. God speed…

Goodbye angel

To the angel that left me after only staying in this world for only ten weeks…

I just want to say thank you, anak, for making me happy and inspired even only for the one month I knew of your existence. I wish God had given me, your Daddy and your Ate Mischa the chance to get to know you and take care of you and welcome you into our family. Your older sister was so excited! You must have heard her talking to you, felt her tickling you and showering you with her sweet kisses.

Sometimes I wonder if you were just a figment of my imagination. Just like your Ate Mischa, I didn’t have any early pregnancy symptoms very common to other pregnant women. No nausea, no vomiting, no averse reaction to smells, no cravings. Even when I was bleeding heavily, a sure sign that something was wrong, I didn’t feel any bouts or lingering pain. You seemed almost like a fleeting butterfly that gently landed on me but flew even before I had the chance to admire or touch you. But I know how real you are.

Mommy is in pain right now but I will be okay. Not the physical one, but the pain that pierces the heart. I have a lot regrets. I wished I took better care of myself so I could have carried you better. I wish I can turn back time and not work that week when I was bleeding a lot. You showed me signs that you were sick, yet I went on like there was nothing wrong. The doctor told me there was really no telling why you went away. It could have been the myoma that has been there even with Ate Mischa but grew to huge proportions when you came along. It could have been stress. It could have been you because you were really fragile even from the get-go. It could have been anything my love! If I could just have held you, and let my mommy hands work their magic on you…

But Papa Jesus has other plans, I guess. Plans we don’t understand right now, but in time we will. Someday we will see you again. Until then, please take my tears with you. I take comfort in the knowledge that you are in the Lord’s hands, and that I have a champion in heaven now. I will keep you close to my heart forever. Please watch over us, especially Ate Mischa.

I love you dearest. Can you whisper to Him to give us another chance to love and take good care of one of His angels?



Sleep well Baby Maggie

Goodbye little girl. I am sorry we didn’t get to meet you. I know someday we will. Thank you for hanging on and giving your mom and dad a month of love and happiness. Too bad you couldn’t stay longer than that. At least now there will be more pain for you and those around you. Say hello to your Kuya and be Jesus’ little angels.


Tita Marie, Tito Mike and Ate Mischa

Baby Rylee

My n@wie family is reeling from shock and pain right now. One of our sisters, Escie and her husband, Rudy, lost their 19-day old son, Rylee, over the weekend. I had to try really hard to keep my tears from falling as I read how Escie recounted the final day and hours of Rylee’s life. He fought and struggled, and endured so much pain, before the Lord claimed the borrowed life. It was especially hard for our virtual family because we bore witness to Escie losing another child last year to miscarriage. Now another child was taken away from them. And yet, she has surrendered humbly to the will of God. I couldn’t even begin to think if it was me. I don’t know if I will have the courage to be as strong and faithful as she is. She may have a lot of questions now, starting with the “why me’s”, but instead of dwelling on it, she has accepted her fate with abandon although everything is probably tearing her apart. Oh how must she feel! I wish we all could hug them and be with them is this time of need.

Dear Lord, please bless Escie’s heart.

Goodbye little Rylee. Rest in peace forever.

farewell tita cory

imagesaugust 1 dawned a sad day for the filipino nation. the skies opened, and tears fell from the heavens to mourn with a country grieving for a defeated former leader. although quite expected, many people still woke up in shock upon hearing the news of her death. felled by sickness, corazon aquino remained strong and with her dignity intact. she succumbed to death after a yearlong battle with cancer. just as she did in ’86 when she courageously stood up to ferdinand marcos, she again united a country so fraught with problems and riddled with wars at its leadership helm. in the months prior to her death, the nation prayed as one for her recovery.

today, i watched alongside my colleagues, as her hearse made its way to the manila cathedral. i felt goosebumps as i stood there on the sixth floor ledge of our office building. below us were throngs of people waiting as well, and hoping to catch a glimpse of the convoy. how it must have really meant for the aquino and cojuangco families. despite the sadness they are feeling at the moment, they must have been overwhelmed by the show of love, gratitude and reverence to tita cory. i was little when ninoy aquino died and was in my grade school days when tita cory came into office. all i can remember of her and her administration was that we had many days off from school because of the coup d’etat attacks every few days or months or so. but now i can realize how much she has done for the nation for her to garner this outpouring of grief and support to her family upon her demise. she has done well and good despite her minimal experience in public service. she was always unassuming in her ways, never seeking publicity into which she was abruptly thrusted into following her husband’s death. but she always saw to it that she did good. nobody can say bad things about her. i wonder if present government leaders would receive the same accolade she did today. she was an icon of truth, democracy, peace and service. she was a woman of passion, of courage, of love.

cory must be happy knowing she will be reunited with the love of her life now. it was said that the family knew it was time because she was already seeing ninoy. she must be smiling down on the people she considers her children as she leaves this world with the love of the people she has served embracing her and the family she has left behind.