The Day When You Left

I choked up as I thought about it. I felt sick.  I went to church at 8:00 am this morning. I was standing there with a heavy heart. It was the very same time when he died. Everything happened around 11:00 pm to midnight (Manila time) two years ago.

I remember on that day, I just stayed beside him. He really loved listening to me and my siblings sing. So I sang any song that came to mind. All songs I could ever think of. We kept singing and talking to him despite that he was unconscious. Sometimes he was awake but we knew he was not the same. It was always just a blank stare.  I held his hands as if it was the last time.

It was 11:00 pm  when I received a message to proceed to the Intensive Care Unit. I had a bad feeling. I just left him 30 minutes ago and everything was fine. His operation (Tracheotomy) was a success. He was finally relieved from the tube he had for two weeks.

The nurse told me that he was stable. I could go and rest. I sent my good news to my siblings and everyone was pleased. We were all holding on to HOPE.

Everything quickly changed in just an hour.

I was walking towards the ICU and from afar I could see what was happening. His room was packed with nurses and a doctor. The room was very busy. They were all trying to revive him.  I could hear them. I was just less than 10 feet away. I sat on a chair and I had to lay my  head down on the table. I knew it was the end. I was so numb. I cried quietly. The doctor approached me and told me that they had to stop reviving him.

I had to make calls to tell the family. They all came and we did what we had to do. Then for the very first time, I went home. I fell asleep on his bed. We were all so very very tired emotionally and physically. I had no more strength.

Sometimes I would ask why did I have to see all that. It really broke my heart. I know that every time this day comes, I would feel the same way and I will remember EVERYTHING. For the rest of my life.

 

 

Do You Know Your Roots?

I have always been interested in the family tree. When I was young, we used to go to one of our grandfather’s home, Arsenio. He had our family tree painted on his walls. I thought it was amazing to see all these people coming from one tree. From then on, it got me curious.

I was in grade school when I interviewed a great grandfather in our family. He was called Lolo (Grand father) Marcial. His wife was my great-grandfather’s (Lamberto) youngest sister, Paula.  I had a little notebook where I wrote down the names of my ancestors and how people were related to each other. The journal is no longer in my possession for years now. I will definitely look for it when I get back to the Philippines. For now, I only rely on asking family members.

Not everybody is interested to get to know their family members especially the new generation. The past may not be of their concern right now.  We tend to be very busy in our own little worlds. However, I believe a time will come when they will see the value or delight in tracing their roots and recognizing blood ties or blood relations.

I am writing this for the generations to come especially for my children and their children, and to all my descendants. With this, they can have a glimpse of the past, where they come from, where they belong, and have an appreciation of being part of a big family.

I am always amazed when I think about the many lives, families, and generations that come to life from two people who chose to start a family. I wanted to trace four sides (blood lines of my grandparents from both Father and Mother’s sides) but it would certainly take a lot of time and work. Maybe in the future I will be able to do so. For now, I am going to write about my grandfather’s line (father’s side), the Lazaro clan.  Below is an old photo shared by my Auntie Victoria (Arsenio’s daughter) which she got from Lola  Zeny (daughter of Marcial and Paula).

family

This is the portrait of my great grandparents (at the center) named Paulina Cuevas Guinto and his husband, Lamberto Lazaro with their five sons.

THE GREAT-GREAT-GREAT- GRANDPARENTS

Sebastian Cuevas and Gregoria Javier  are the names of my great- great-great-grandparents or third great grandparents. Their daughter is Petronila Cuevas, who is my great-great grandmother or second great-grandmother. Her daughter is Paulina Cuevas Guinto, my first great-grandmother (the one in the photo above). I remember their names (Petronila, Paulina, and all the grandfathers on the photo above) whenever we would visit their graves on All Souls’ Day in Bacoor Catholic Cemetery in the Philippines.

I just found out a few days ago from my Uncle Edgardo (Felicisimo’s son) that Petronila Cuevas, my second great grandmother,  is the sister of Datu Kalun, a man known in Philippine history particularly in Basilan (in Mindanao). Datu is the title for chiefs, sovereign princes, and monarchs in the Visayas and Mindanao regions of the Philippines.

datu lolo

I googled him and found this:

“Pedro Javier Cuevas “Datu Kalun” was Born in Bacoor, Cavite Province on May 6, 1845 to Sebastian Cuevas and Gregoria Javier. Pedro was a hard-working, pious, and patriotic young boy. He was an expert in arnis, a Filipino martial arts which emphasizes in the use of wooden stick, bladed weapons & bare hand. At the age of 27, he was sentenced to death along with his two friends for their anti-Spanish activities which took place during the Cavite Uprising of 1872. They were charged for the death of a Spanish officer of the Guardia Civil. His punishment was commuted to life imprisonment for his non-direct involvement in the murder. He was exiled to San Ramon Penal Farm in Zamboanga, a place for political prisoners. The harsh treatment he received from the Spanish jail guards in San Ramon Penal Farm led him and six other inmates to stage a successful revolt and then escaped towards the mountains of Ayala, a nearby barangay. They crossed the Basilan Strait with a stolen vinta and landed in Malamawi Island, Basilan, only to find out that they had to face three hostile forces: The Spanish authorities, Yakans, and Sulu forces. The group led by Pedro had no choice but to fight in order to survive. His strong leadership, and his skills in diplomacy and combat earned him the respect of the natives and his fellow escapees. Spanish Colonial authority’s efforts to capture him were unsuccessful. Joined by Yakan fighters and military mutineers, Pedro’s group grew in numbers and they became an effective fighting force against the Spanish authority as well as Sulu slave-traders and pirates who frequented Basilan to collect tributes. Over the years, his group gradually conquered 26 villages – almost the entire Basilan Island, but he wittingly spared the Spanish military garrison in Isabela, which he and his followers saved from the Sulu pirates in the late 1870’s. In 1880, Fr. Pedro Llausas, a Spanish Jesuit priest in Isabela facilitated the request for the amnesty of Pedro and twenty of his fellow escapees and mutineers. He was pardoned by the Spanish Crown on July 21, 1882, during the term of Fernando Primo de Rivera, Governor General of the Philippine Islands. During a duel in the early 1880’s, Pedro Cuevas defeated Datu Calun, a leading Sulu warrior, who was sent to challenge him. Sometime in 1884-1885, the title Datu was vested on him by Ali Ud-din. He then assumed the name of Calun. Since then, Pedro Javier Cuevas came to be known in Philippine history as Datu Kalun, the undisputed ruler of Basilan and nearby islands. In 1894, he led a successful expedition to Bohe Lebbeng, a coastal village in the eastern part of Basilan against the forces of Sulu General, Datu Djulkanayin, who came all the way from Jolo in May of 1894, with his armed followers to collect tributes and assert control over the people of Basilan. The peaceful settlement of this incident showed his brilliant skills in diplomacy and strategy, thereby, affirming his position as Teniente Absoluto of Basilan. Datu Kalun’s strenuous physical life from his teenage days drained him of vigour. He passed away in Lamitan, Basilan on July 16, 1904 at the age of 59. He was succeeded by his nephew Gabino Cuevas Pamaran known as Datu Murusalun. Among Datu Kalun’s significant achievements in Basilan were the imposition of justice system, introduction of efficient farming method, economic and social development, consolidation of the Basileños, and freedom from Sulu pirates, slave traders and Spanish incursions. These made him a great leader of his time. Datu Kalun was a patriot to his countrymen, a hero to his followers, and an icon to his family. Edwin F. Pamaran

datu

Other links where you can find information about him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Basilan#Conquest_of_Lamitan

http://lgulamitan.page4.me/47.html

http://www.lamitancity.gov.ph/html/historicalplaces.html

Credit to my history teacher, Fernando Santiago for sharing the next link:

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/philamer/ACX1716.1903.002/1228?rgn=full+text;view=image;q1=datu+kalun

THE GRANDFATHERS

Lamberto Lazaro, my first great-grandfather, has four other siblings: Maria Inocente, Isidro “Idong” Lazaro, Antonio “Toyong” Lazaro, and Paula Lazaro Reyes. I could not trace anymore Lamberto’s parents, my great-great grandparent.

Lamberto as shown in the picture above has five sons: From Left to Right, Dominador, Francisco, Amado, Arsenio (beside Paulina), and Felicisimo (beside Lamberto).

Amado died during World War II and I do not know any information about Francisco. Dominador, Arsenio and Felicisimo were lawyers in profession. Felicisimo was the youngest of the brothers and has been known to be a living legend. He was a sharpshooting police colonel and famously known as the “Tulisan.” http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/8187/the-true-value-of-war

tulisan

Dominador was the eldest among the five brothers. He is my grandfather. He was a criminal lawyer and later on worked as Legal Counsel to the Police District. Dominador’s children are (from eldest to youngest): Lourdes, Hermoso, Dominador Jr., Aurora, Adelaida, Reynaldo and Rosalina.

Hermoso is my father. He was a lawyer and he worked for the National Bureau of Investigation and retired as a Deputy Director. He has three children: Khristine (me), Hermoso Jr., and Kathrine.

For the future generation, you can write your own family tree story. Dedicated to Andrei Santino, Kirsten Ava, Julianna Louise, Carmillia Nicole, Hermoso Dominador III, and Celestine.

To each of you who is part of this big family, remember that you are precious in the eyes of our ancestors. Indeed, we have grown in different branches, different directions. Some of us may not be close emotionally due to circumstances or physical distance.  But keep in mind that we will always be related by blood! We are family.

 

family like branches

 

Prayer for Healing
the Family Tree
Rev. John H. Hampsch, CMF

Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child, in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I also ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders.

With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son, Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and to all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree.

I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the bloodlines in my family lineage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members’ guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment, and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits.

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever-deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

+++++++++++++++
St. Joseph, Patron of family life, pray for us

UPROOTING

I am going to start off with some short definitions about the topic I am writing for today.

Choice. An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities

Decision Making. The thought process of selecting a logical choice from available options. When trying to make a good decision, a person must weigh the positives and negatives of each option, and consider all the alternatives.

For effective decision making, a person must be able to forecast the outcome of each option as well, and based on all these items, determine which option is the best for that particular situation.

Decisions can be made through either an intuitive or reasoned process, or a combination of the two. This means studying the facts and figures to make a decision, then see how you feel about it.

Do you usually find it easy to make a choice/decision or do you find it challenging?

Making choices has always been a part of life. There are simple decisions we make everyday such as what clothes to wear, food to cook, what things to do for the day.   On the other hand there are what we see as major or big decisions. These are the ones that have a huge impact on our lives and can affect not just just us but the people around us as well. I call it, life changing decisions.

Studying myself, I find it very exhausting and stressful whenever I am about to make a big/major decision in life (which is opposite of my husband who seems to be very cool with decisions).  It literally takes a lot of my time. A lot of thinking. Weighing things over. I tend to be very cautious. I have to jot things down writing the pros and cons, asking why, what, how, or even where (this time I typed them on an Excel file). I feel the need to see that I am a 100% sure of what I am about to do.  I am thinking my personality is affecting my decision-making skill  since I tend to be obsessive compulsive, detailed, and organized. I tend to be anxious too of changes and of the unknown.  Moreover, besides looking at the facts, I also take into consideration the emotions, the heart. I rationalize, and at the same time, I believe that the heart should agree too. The mind and heart should at least meet half way. So can you imagine how draining it is? I do this every time. At least in the future I know that whatever led me to that path, I gave my all to think about the decision I made. It might not be the perfect choice but it was the best one at that time I made it. So in the future, I have no reason to regret or think about what could have been (although it is inevitable to ask that question sometime).  This happened to me when my Dad passed away five months ago. It feels like just yesterday when I was hugging him goodbye. He was standing stiff and won’t even lay his eyes on me. It was a sad goodbye. He did not want me to leave but then I followed my heart. What if I did not leave home 9 years ago? I could have spent more years of my life with him. But if I did not go, I will not have my family now: my spouse and my children, who are the most important to me. I lost weight thinking about that decision and at that moment I had to do it.  As I lived my life, there was a yearning in my heart to save money and come back home for him.

I dealt with a few major decisions in my life: Who to marry, leaving my work, family, and friends 9 years ago, a decision we had to make when my Dad was dying, and something that we have to do SOON.

My husband expressed his intention to retire soon abroad. I knew this plan from years ago. His goal has always been to retire early.  I wanted it too since I wanted my Dad to enjoy his grand kids. We were thinking, usually parents are busy spending their lives working while the children are growing up. This is true since we need to provide for their needs everyday. But at the time parents retire from work, the kids are gone. They are living their own lives. I guess this what drove him to work and save more so we can retire earlier and be around our children while they are still young. And we lived a simple life, not big spenders. I know that it seems ideal and I worry about resources too, if they will be enough and if it will last until the kids are  growing up.

What perplexed me more was when my husband said he wants to do it very soon, like after a year or two. My panic alert was on. It gave me mixed emotions. How come I was not too excited and did not say yes right away? I always wanted to go back and be with my Dad but he just recently passed. Maybe I felt the irony that I see the realization of the plan and my my father did not see it happen (although he knew about it).  I told hubby to give me more time to prepare mentally for it. I told you I need to see the whole picture, all facts and figures. Remember how I approach a major decision?

Uprooting will not just affect him and me but our kids. Is this a smart move? Is this what is best for my children? I finished writing down points to discuss with hubby. Some of them have already been brought up and we have different views. We have more things to talk about.  I am sure when we ask family and friends they too will have conflicting opinions about this matter. Of course in the end, the decision is still in our hands. And as I said, I have to be a 100% sure.

I searched the web and I read that before moving to a different country, there are things to consider: family and friends, language, medical issues, safety, culture, financial, employment, shopping, and amenities. Ask yourself too why are you leaving? Determine if everything you will be leaving behind is worth what you are moving towards. He is saying back there our children will have more support group. We have brothers and sisters there, our kids will have cousins to grow with. And as mentioned more time to be with them while they are growing up. And yet, there are other factors to consider.

A fellow blogger, Tony Burgess (http://tonyburgess1969.net/)  shared to me once “Life is about change, flux, fluidity. Grace and peace in the journey.”  And I remember talking to some of my fellow bloggers about how to dance with the music or go with the waves, do not fight it or you will drown, just float, and relax. These reminders help me to relax a little bit more and not to worry much (which I naturally tend to do). I know that nothing stays the same. Change is only the permanent thing in life. Although I am afraid of changes and of the unknown, I should have faith. Home is wherever your heart is.

Saying goodbye is always sad. Especially now that I have learned to love my home now. After seven years of living in Carson CA, we moved to our new home on May 17, 2013. I took care of every detail, arrangements, and I consider it as my first home as a family woman. I felt very happy and at peace in here. I have invested emotions.  It is true what was said in the book, the Little Prince, “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important…People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”

Over the years, I have found lifelong friends who I love and I will miss a lot. I have loved the country. It has taught me a lot especially how to be independent. I  learned to do things on my own. I appreciate the culture how the people are responsible citizens ready to go out of their way to help if you are in need. I like the thought that people are not too self conscious or nosy. You can wear whatever and go to the grocery without being criticized if your clothes match or if your make up looks nice. There is freedom. I enjoy the conveniences: online shopping, the fast internet connections, the discipline on the road, less traffic, libraries and its books, the parks, and Southern California weather. I finally adapted. I adjusted and blended in.  But soon I will bid farewell.

I know if we finally make that choice, there is a lot of work/things to be done. I have already listed them down…  It will be a new chapter. Hopefully an adventure… I am worried but I am also hopeful. Pray for me. Wish me luck!

Airplane-luggage-travel

Photo credit: www.pointchaser.com

 

I Dreamed Of You

She was laying in bed. On her side. Weeping. And there was an embrace from behind. She looked over and saw her Dad. Comforting her saying in Filipino, “Ganyan talaga hija.” (That’s how it is, my daughter)

And she woke up from her sleep. She felt happy that at least she gets to see him in her dreams…

 

father-daughter-hug-love

 

Photo Credit: davidkanigan.com

What Makes You Happy?

The other day I was all smiles

They delivered my new pet.

Zooming around the house,

I was singing in joy while pushing it around.

I felt very happy…

When I was a little girl I was thrilled with gifts like toys or new clothes

I felt equally the same when I got my new cleaning vacuum : )

 

This morning I had a “disciplining” moment with my boy

Just right before he went to school.

I do not like feeling mad and sad.

I felt my chest so tight.

And to relieve the stress

I started moving the furniture around.

My little girl asked, “Mommy why are you moving stuff?”

She was jumping on the couch and having a great time.

I rearranged the living room and gave it a different look!

 

Now I feel recharged.

I believe I am really getting old…

Vacuum and rearranging the house?

I feel it was unleashing my creativity.

 

Now I feel happy again.

I Remember

Random memories of you often visit me 
Especially at times when I am still

Suddenly the rain pours down…

Since I got back home, I usually feel sad, stressed out, and my temper short. I do my very best just to be a good mother although there are a lot of times my patience is being challenged.. Mind you, I generally feel happy and glad that I am back to personally take care of my family. My mother in law is still here until the end of this month as well as my mom. Maybe when things get back to normal, meaning my own established routine, and it will just be us home, slowly I will be able to have more time alone, hopefully more time to think and heal. School day starts soon and I am sure things will get back on track.

If nowadays I feel down, I know very soon I will again be the happiest.

I still count my blessings. All my friends who care, my family, my brother and sisters… And do not forget, the beer and the wine! 😉