Her 26th Birthday

I worked that day. The traffic was not bad as I drove home from work. It was almost dark. The house was bright as I got home. Few friends came over. We had a few drinks and had dinner together. I had a special guest who happened to be my crush at that time. It was so obvious that my father was thrilled because the guy happened to be a lawyer just like him. Little did he  know that it was a hopeless case. The guy just saw me as a friend.

I am writing not because of the guy. I am writing because that was the last birthday party I remember. I believe it was also the last party I had with my father around before I left home.  It was my 26th birthday. And then I totally stopped counting my age. Although I have always been grateful to life and to my blessings.

Reality bites. We can’t stop time. We can’t stop aging. For the first time as I was brushing my hair,  I found some white strands of hair. Not just one but two or three. After a few weeks, it happened again. And I haven’t checked since then.

For a long time, I have been terrified by the thought of getting old and dying. It consumed my thoughts for a while especially right after my father passed away. And I have realized that it is a process. It takes time to understand and accept the idea of death. I have finally accepted that it is an inevitable part of life. And someday we will all end up there. With this in mind, I believe it is affecting my perspective of life. Still it is a learning process. But I am getting there.

I may stop counting my age but I will never stop being grateful for NOW.


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.



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.





Life and Death

I experienced my first loss when my father passed away. It opened my eyes about this bitter natural phenomenon. I have spent a lot of times pondering about life.  After which I have been sensitive and very aware of people I know who are sick and who died. I have a list of the people I know who passed away and I pray for them.

One man who was at my father’s wake and who was helping us around died after a month .

Another family friend we called on the phone to inform them of what happened to my father also passed away in two months.She was sick and was on chemo during the times my Dad was in the hospital.

When I got back to the US,the same fate happened to this old man I always talk to in school. He went to Manila for a vacation. I saw his son and I asked how he was doing. And I was shocked and got teary eyed when he said that he was gone.

Now I heard about some women I know who are sick with Cancer. They happened to be my school mate/classmate. One was from elementary and the other one was from high school. They are the same age as me. They are moms too just like me. And from the time I heard about their fight, I pray for them so they will have courage, strength and most importantly be healed.

I remember other friends who have been battling with disease/sickness for years.

I pray that the sick will be healed. The dead will have peace, happiness, and eternal life. And I wish for us who are left in this world, that we will see life as a gift everyday. That we will be more appreciative and grateful for everything. That we will try to live our lives to their fullest.

lifeanddeathPhoto Credit: livingalignment.com

When You Miss Someone…


You text him.

You give her a call.

You visit him.

You meet up somewhere for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.

You just hang out with them.

You do a Face time or Skype with him.

You just long for her presence. For his company. For a conversation.

And this makes life more meaningful.

Our relationships.

And you know what’s the hardest way to miss someone?

It is when you realize that you can no longer do all these things.

You can not text, call, Face time, Skype or visit them anymore because they’re no longer there.

He is gone forever and there will never be any exchange of words anymore.

They will just be memories from where we stand now.

There is nothing else to do but pray that at least in your dreams you get to see them and embrace them one more time.


Random Thoughts On CHANGES

Change is the only permanent thing in this life. We have seen it from books, photos, and films how the world around us has changed. Industrialization. Technology. People. Way of Life. Everything changes. Everyone does.

Based on my own experience, there is something else that has remained constant. It is the “inner SELF”. I am not sure how it is called. It maybe a person’s spirit or soul.  I feel exactly the same way ten years ago and even twenty years ago. And as far as I remember. I am me.

I grew up and learned more things  from school. I am continuously learning from my everyday experiences. Although there have been changes in the environment, in my situation, status, in the physical world, somehow there is still that core being which  has remained the same all through the years.

I close my eyes and I have always been that same person. Although when I look at photos of me, I look different each time. I am getting older. And that is something that we can not escape. No matter how rich and beautiful we are. We all do our best to prolong our life. We take care of our bodies. We exercise. We try to look our best. Some are even more fashionable. More luxurious. But we can not stop nature. We will all look old someday. And we know what happens next. Then we are all the same…


Photo Credit: www.cylviahayes.net