To The Man Who Raised My Man

Somebody crossed my mind today…

I was cuddling my baby to sleep then I suddenly thought about him. After recalling some memories with him, unexpectedly, tears fell from my eyes. I only got to be with him for almost 2 months, and it was an honor to meet my father-in-law.

I wonder how things could have been if he is still alive. I wish he is here with us instead. He was a very kindhearted man. I agree with what others say, my husband is so much like his dad, very good man, slow to anger, mellow, God loving, and a very loving husband and father. My father-in-law would talk about his children to me, with all his heart. I can see he was teary eyed whenever he talked about them. I could feel how much he loved them. I remember some things he told me: some stories, his feelings towards some people. I remember he thought me how to do the laundry or even how to properly cut the onions. You see, I was not really domesticated. Back home in the Philippines, there were people who helped us with housework (that’s just the culture or way of life there).

I moved to my boyfriend’s house (who is now my husband) on March 1, 2007 and my father-in-law died on April 23. I remember that day. At around 3:00pm he told me he was going out to refill some gallons of water from a store nearby. He did not usually go out during those hours. I even asked him why don’t he just wait for his son. I think he said it is good to take a walk or exercise and that he was going to use the back door. He used his push cart to carry the empty water bottles. My husband usually came home at 4:30pm and then we received a phone call. He had an accident on the road while he was crossing. So that’s the end. He never came back…

This is a very unforgettable experience to me. It was the first time I experienced being around somebody who is alive and happy… then gone forever. This reminded me once again of a song in my head. It makes me really sad when I hear this song. I guess this is how our lives are. We are here now then we can be gone any moment.

“Gone Too Soon”

Like A Comet
Blazing ‘Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too SoonLike A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too SoonShiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One NightLike The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

Beyond What You See

Will be wrinkled someday

Will be old

Will soon depart this world

Turn into ashes

No exception for anyone…

So remember, not to be enslaved

By physical beauty

By power and fame….

Nothing is wrong if you aspire for more

To seek improvement

And be at your best

Be beautiful, be fashionable

Have the things you like to possess

But do not be enslaved

By worldly matters….

There is more beyond that

All icing on the cake

So enticing and inviting

Take a look and taste the inside

See beyond what your eyes can see

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A Visit In My Dream

When I was growing up, we used to regularly meet with a  Chinese Family. They were very good friends with my father. We visited their home somewhere in Manila. Similarly, they also came to our house every end of December. I do not remember but somehow the dates were significant to them and my father. They were very generous all the time. They always gave me and my siblings red envelopes or hongbao.  This is a monetary gift which is given during holidays or special occasions. Robert, the head of their family, was my brother’s godfather. I believe he passed away around 9 months ago when my father was sick in the hospital.

It is a strange thing and it often happens to me. How can I dream of deceased people when I do not even think of them or I do not even remember them? Last night, I had a dream about Robert. He gave me a hongbao. He was showing me some notes on the notebook. He even gave me a flute! I used to play the flute in high school through college. How did I dream about this? I told my husband about it and he said it is just the subconscious working. He is from the medical field so he tends to be skeptical or scientific about things. But me?… whenever I dream about souls, people who passed away, souls I do not even think about, I believe that they really come to visit, they are trying to saying something, or asking for prayers. When I opened my eyes, I prayed for him. I still do. It was indeed a surprise visit.  A lot of thoughts come by, about life, living, being alive, dying, death, and prayers… Death looks like part of the natural cycle of life, yet it is not easy to comprehend and accept (unlike having a new born child). Oh well… Did you ever experience something like this? Please share your thoughts. It can be scientific explanation or something else.

hongbao

Proof of Heaven Book

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Talks about death elicits a feeling of discomfort and fear for me. I am so attached to the people I love that I can not bear the thought of losing or leaving them. I mentioned on my previous blogs that I often wonder what really happens to a person when he dies. Is it plainly the end or there is an afterlife?  After posting that article I mentioned about death, I had a dream. My grandfather (a brother of my father’s father) appeared to me. This was not the first time my grandfather appeared to me in my dream. I believe he tried to answer my question. He actually showed me that there is life after death. I can not remember all the details about the dream. I just remembered that there are gates and each of us belong to our own gate with our families, friends. I remember too that across us, there are gates too but it is the after life. Due to the order of things, they (souls from after life) can not stay in our world, maybe just visit. Same with us, we are destined to be here in this life in our own time. This other world, other gates across us are just in a different plane. In between I saw the outer space. I woke up and I am amazed how a response can be quickly made to me. I am just unsure if it was done by my brain or by my grandfather.

When I came across this book, Proof Of Heaven, and as I write now about it, I recollect some thoughts about my dream. I have been raised in a Catholic family, and our church teaches about the soul and life in heaven. In my heart I have faith and I believe such things exist. But as a human being I also think it is natural to have our quest for truth. My mind is also questioning about the existence of after life. I would often dream about my grandparents or some family members who already passed away.  I really never got to be with the grandparents when they were alive. Then how and why do I have dreams about them? This grandfather who often appear to me in my dream is not even my direct grandfather. His messages are usually good ones. Another dream I will not forget, which I tend to find very strange is when I had a dream about all these grandparents. They were all seated by pair (husband and wife) inside a van. They were waiting for me, my dad, and my kids. After reading the book, I have the feeling that it might mean that they are watching over us. Our deceased families  watch over us from the after life.

When people have near death experiences, it is usually common that they have similar experiences such floating in air, seeing their body, seeing things from above, seeing family members or friends who already passed away. I wrote about my father in my previous blog. I mentioned that he was hospitalized eight months ago. He had the same visions when he was in the hospital. He was so scared that he would not want to go to sleep. He saw himself floating up and he had to hold on tight to the railings of his bed. His brain was affected at that time. So it was still a question whether or not his visions/experiences were caused by his brain or something else happened with his soul. Indeed there will be different views about this matter both scientific and spiritual.

I wanted to add, eight months ago, when my kids and I went home to the Philippines to take care of my sick father, my father-in-law suddenly appeared to me in my dream. When I woke up I realized it was his birthday. It seemed like he reminded me to bring my kids to visit him on his grave. We went visit and said a prayer for him. He did not see his grandchildren since he died the year when I got married to my husband. These incidents still make me wonder.

This book, Proof of Heaven, is worth reading. It depends on the reader, but for me, I find it helpful. It helps make sense to my experiences and sheds light and knowledge to my question about the life after here.

This book is about a scientist’s case for the after life. “Near Death Experiences or NDEs are controversial. Thousands of people have had them, but many in the scientific community have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those people. A highly trained neurosurgeon who had operated on thousands of brains in the course of his career, knew that what people of faith call the “soul” is really a product of brain chemistry. Might feel real to the people having them, but in truth they are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress. Then came the day when Dr. Alexanders own brain was attacked by an extremely rare illness…. his recovery by all accounts is a medical miracle…While his body lay in coma, he journeyed beyond this world.”

It was mentioned in the book that Dr. Alexander’s situation was the first of its kind in medical history. “Spontaneous E. coli bacterial meningitis is rare in adults. Less than 1 in 10 million of the world’s population contracts it annuallyA week in coma with severe bacterial meningitis is already beyond the limits of any reasonable expectation of recovery…”

Below are some quotes I find very meaningful, directly lifted from the book, Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander:

“I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition…we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.”- Sir John C. Eccles (1903-1997)

“The physical side of the universe is as a speck of dust compared to the invisible and spiritual part. In my past view, spiritual wasn’t a word that I would have employed during a scientific conversation. Now I believe it is a word that we can not afford to leave out.”

“I saw the earth as a pale blue dot in the immense blackness of physical space. I could see that earth was a place where good and evil mixed, and that this constituted one of its unique features.”

“Small particles of evil were scattered throughout the universe, but the sum total of all that evil was a grain of sand on a vast beach compared to the goodness, abundance, hope, and unconditional love in which the universe was literally awash.”

“We have other family: beings who are watching and looking out for us – beings we have momentarily forgotten, but who if we open our selves to their presence, are waiting to help us navigate our time here on earth. None of us are ever unloved. Each and every 9one of us is deeply known and cared for by a Creator who cherishes us beyond any ability we have to comprehend. That knowledge must no longer remain a secret.”

“There is a deeper fabric of existence – a fabric that all of us are always part of,  but which we’re generally not conscious of. Communicating with God is the most extraordinary  experience imaginable, yet at the same time it’s the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times. Omniscient, omnipotent, personal -and loving us without conditions. We are connected as One through our divine link with God.”

“Nothing can tear us from God, ever.”

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is. – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

After reading the book, I am comforted to know that the afterlife was beautiful beyond words or beyond what our minds can perceive. But still I am in the process of knowing more about it. I still fear death, being left by loved ones or leaving them behind. But I believe as my spirit/soul evolve into this awareness, the more I will not fear.

In his book, this lovely poem was cited. I want my loved ones (especially my family) to read this poem by David M. Romano, “When Tomorrow Starts Without Me”

When tomorrow starts without me,
And I am not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;

I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you will miss me too;

But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,

And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I’d have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye
For all my life, I’d always thought,
I didn’t want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much left yet to do,
It almost seemed impossible
That I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I’d say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through heaven’s gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,

He said, “This is eternity,
And all I have promised you.
Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day’s the same way
There’s no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things.
You knew you shouldn’t do.

But you have been forgiven
And now at last you’re free.
So won’t you come and take my hand
And share my life with me?”

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here, in your heart.

The Cycle of Life

On Life

Today is a very special day for our family. My sister is giving birth to a beautiful princess. In fact, she is still in the hospital. It’s been hours, and she is still in labor. How I wish I can just teleport, fly across the Pacific Ocean, and witness the joy when the baby finally comes out. I am so thrilled for them. I am sure every member of the family is excited to meet and greet the new addition to the family. It is amazing how we share the same fate. Both of us started with the labor signs/pains on the 17th, admitted to the hospital on the 18th. We were both in labor the whole day and night. The babies would not come out still. All the epidural, the pain, so unbearable! In the end, we both needed to have c-sections. Both babies born on the 19th! (But mine of course happened 6 years ago)

This is it! After two miscarriages, after all the mourning and the pain, finally,  their bundle of joy will be in their arms soon. I know that it will change them. It will change their lives forever. Just like how having kids has changed mine. My children have given more meaning to my existence, more meaning to my life. Now, I have a purpose and a reason to live.

On Death

When I was younger, I did not give much thought about death. I finished college, had my Master’s degree, found a fulfilling career. I got promoted, had my own office and I loved my job. Moreover, I was able to travel to different places, my favorite was the Europe trip with my parents. Visited the United States too and went to different vacation spots in the Philippines. I remembered me saying to myself, “I have been blessed. I can die now.” But it all changed when I married and started my own family. Now, I am terrified when I think about death! (My death or losing a loved one)

My 6 year old has been asking questions about death: when, why people die, where people go when they die, what happens to the body, etc. I try to give him a simple explanation since the questions are NEVER ending. As a Catholic, I know we all go to heaven (this is what I tell my son). At the back of my head, I am also thinking of other explanations as to what happens when someone dies. Maybe we are like the energy transferred to one form into another. Or maybe, when we die that is the end of it. Nothing else. Blank. Black. No more.

I always ask God to grant us (me and my  husband) a long life, at least until we are both 90 years of age. I want to see my children grow, finish school, get a job that they love, find the love of their lives, have their own family.  Surely, I would love to play with my grandchildren!

So holding on to dear life! Appreciate every waking moment.