First Christmas Without Her

When we go to church every Sunday, I always notice a couple who I think are on their 80’s. Although they’re very old, I can definitely still see and feel their love for each other. They look very happy.

I remember in July 2016, they had to sit close to us because the church was packed. I could hear the old man singing so beautifully. Before leaving, the old man handed us a prayer pamphlet. It was a devotion to St. Joseph. The old lady had a very sweet smile.

Sometime in October 2016, the church recognized all the couples who celebrated their wedding anniversary. This couple was one of them. I heard they celebrated their 57 years together. So after the mass, I came up to them to congratulate them. I told them that they are an inspiration to young married couples like us. I saw the old lady’s face beaming and they proudly talked about their kids, grand kids, and great grand children. I gave them a hug and said bye.

In November 2016, I noticed that the old man was alone. For a few weeks, I wanted to come up to him to ask how he was but never got the chance. I had a feeling and I hope I was wrong.

Last night, my eyes were fixed on the old man. It is a week before Christmas and I decided to greet him a Merry Christmas in advance after the service. His name is Raul. It is the first Christmas without her after 57 years. He said he always sees her in spirit.

We talked for a while. I mentioned about my Dad who passed away last year. Somehow when I see Raul he reminds me of him. Same age. Both wearing their favorite beige/khaki jacket. After mentioning about my Dad, Raul said at age 82. I was so shocked how he knew that my Dad was 82 when he died. He said it just came to his mind and that the spirit works in mysterious ways. I gave him a hug and told him that I’ll pray for his  beautiful and sweet wife.

I know I will be seeing Raul by himself every church time, and I pray that I will see him for a very long time. I can’t help but think again about the bitter reality of growing old, death, dying, and being left alone. And for us who are left behind, we have to live and keep going.

I also remember my Tatay (Dad) and Mommy who were together for 53 years. This January 2017 is supposed to be their 55th Anniversary. Here is a photo of them taken by my sister that year  before he passed away. One of the most beautiful and meaningful photos I keep.

tay-and-mommy

 

 

 

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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

 

Final Hour

Exactly four months ago at this very time the most terrifying thing in my life was happening. Standing outside of the ICU watching everything. My Dad’s final hour. 

Eternal rest grant unto Atty. Hermoso Tan Lazaro Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul rest in peace.