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.

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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.

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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…

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Photo Credit: www.cylviahayes.net

 

Reflections On Death

Nine months ago (today) was the last time I spoke to him. I keep playing our last conversation in my head. I can still see how he looked like when we were chatting through Face time. I remember all the things he said to me that night.  They just finished with lunch, while my day just ended. Told them stories about my son’s 7th birthday party.

Yes I am still counting days. Eight months without Tatay (Daddy). But as everyone is saying, it will get better in time. I can say, we are getting used to the fact of him physically gone.  Few weeks ago, I just deleted all his hospital photos from my phone.  I had to let go. Maybe part of the healing process. I felt I was done looking at those sad memories, and I try not to hold on to those last 14 days. It was traumatic.

I always think of him. And pray for him. I still feel sad. I still cry. I know it is natural to feel that way when you know you have lost someone forever. And it will remain that way as long as I am here because love never ends.

Is there an afterlife? Where do they  really go? Does he still know what is going on for us he left behind? Does he hear it when we talk to him? Does God tell him our messages to him? Can he still see us? Does he really visit in dreams?

I hope wherever he is right now (heaven or in a different dimension) he feels and knows that we are always with him. Our love is always with him!  And if there is really that somewhere, someday we will be together. After we complete our mission, our journey.

Just in case that it is just the end of everything, I am just grateful that he was part of my life. His memories and our love will keep him alive. God’s love. His love. That same love I am passing on to my children. And they to their future. And that love goes on forever.

I try to put myself in his shoes. I would understand if my children will feel sad. But I do not want them to live that way. I want them to live and be happy. Be assured that my love will be with them although I am no longer around. This id possible. Think that there are a lot of mysteries in this life. Some of those things people can not comprehend or have not discovered yet…

 

Gift of Life

Last night, I found out that a person I knew just passed away. He had a heart attack last week. I could not stop thinking about him because exactly three months ago he was at my father’s wake trying to help out. Who would ever think that he will be gone?  Truly death comes like a thief in the night.

At this point in my life, I just figured out my greatest fear. To see a loved one gone, and the thought of leaving my family behind. With my father’s passing, I often think about things pertaining to the after life, about our existence, and some other “weird” things. It is like seeing things differently. Talking to my  husband keeps me grounded. He would plainly state that it is the reality of life. So he does not really think or worry about it. That it is something that we should accept. Maybe I am just about to learn that step.

Last night I told him about one of the things I always pray for. And I said he should pray the same thing so it makes us two. I said I hope we will be blessed together with a long life (I state specifically at least 90 years old) so we can see our children and grand children grow. He replied, “Whatever is God’s will.”

Now, when I kiss or embrace my family, it feels more than that. When I say some good words to a friend or to a relative, I truly mean it. Slowly, my heart is learning how to forgive and how to sing to each waking moment.

This song was in my head when I woke up and I feel the need to share it. It is a beautiful Filipino gospel song. I really love the acoustic version but unfortunately, there is no vocal. For non-Filipino speakers, I included an English translation below. I hope you do enjoy the music.

Sino Ako?

Hiram sa Diyos ang aking buhay
Ikaw at ako’y tanging handog lamang
Di ko ninais na ako’y isilang
Ngunit salamat dahil my buhay
Ligaya ko na ako’y isilang
Pagkat tao ay mayroong dangal
Sino’ng may pag-ibig?
Sino’ng nagmahal?Kun’di ang tao Diyos ang pinagmulan

Kun’di ako umiibig
Kundi ko man bigyang halaga
Ang buhay na handog
Ang buhay kong hiram sa Diyos
Kundi ako nagmahal
Sino Ako?

Who Am I? (English translation)

My life is only borrowed from God
We’re only a living sacrifice
I did not wish to be born but it’s
A God given blessing to have a life
I am glad that I was born…
I am born with dignity
I have love and I know how to love
Because God first loved me

If I didn’t know how to love
If I didn’t know how to be grateful of
The life that God has given me
Then what is my worth?