Love Stories

One sunny morning, I was hanging out with my kids in the pool.  Then a very interesting conversation happened. I do not recall how we ended up talking about it but my son was asking about my love stories.  I then recalled the feelings of falling in love, of being in love, as well as the tears and the heartaches that go with it.

There’s a relationship that you outgrow. You think you would want to spend the rest of your life with that special someone but as you mature, you will realize that you just don’t. Maybe it is due to differences in values, priorities, and/or timing.

Sometimes you will meet someone you finally like but you will end up friend zoned. I remember this guy who would always come visit me at work, hung out with me, and called me even at night just to talk about other girls . And you realize after a while you were so stupid to listen to his crazy stories.

There are times when you meet someone and you thought you have something special. He would call you from overseas on a regular basis then one day would just disappear. You will figure out that he found someone else.

Sometimes you would think you have met your soulmate. But they don’t really stay for long.

There are unspoken feelings. Feelings you just keep to yourself. And the person would never ever know how you felt about him/her.

And there is a love meant for you.

And love never ends. It is beautiful. It is painful. It makes life meaningful.

 

 

 

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How Can I Love Thee?

“You can not do anything. She is family.”  This is what my 86 year old Aunt said to me. I love listening to her advices for they are filled with important lessons about living. She possesses a different perspective on life.

I do not want to sound judgmental on this post. I will do my best to be objective. I understand that each person can be different considering the different personalities, genes, family and the environment where he or she was raised in. We should respect people. If they are different from you, it does not mean you are better than them….  But my point is, there is a “general or basic” rule! We know how to differentiate the good from the bad, pleasing and not pleasing, annoying and amiable, nice and mean. So on and so forth.

How does this sound like? Wherever this person goes, she always gets into trouble, argument, quarrel, squabble, fight, or disagreement (call it however you want) with the people around her. Boastful, proud, self centered, self righteous, knows it all kind of person, most of all tactless and insensitive? Words that come out of her mouth seem not appropriate most of the time and can usually be offensive? She might not be aware of how unpleasing she is but the people around her can attest to that.  Should she be excused of her bad behavior? What else can you do if she is someone you can never get rid of no matter how far you run away from her? Although we did not branch out from the same tree, her journey is intertwined with mine at some point. What choice do I have?

I guess in a lifetime, it is realistic that one may not like or love everybody.  And this does not make us lesser good people. This makes me think of God’s commandment to love your neighbors as yourself. Love one another… How can you actually love someone you do not like? I wonder if respect and being civil to one another is good enough.

Carry on! : )

The Family Tree Project

The big portrait on the wall fascinated me. Although I was too young to understand, I was aware that it was a huge tree with branches. I remember there were so many names written on the branches.

When I was little, we used to come to my grandfather’s house. He was the fourth of the five brothers (for which my direct grandfather was the eldest).  When you enter their property, one would always notice a family tree painted on the walls.  I just recall how he gave importance on family ties. He used to host  family reunions in his place. It was a big gathering where a mass was being held for the family, and celebration come after (food & entertainment). I remembered that my siblings and I used to play a lot with our cousins. When grandfather died, I do not remember having reunions at all.

When I came of age, I find myself drawn to family ties. I see the value and significance of blood relations. I believe I was in high school when I started becoming interested in my family tree. I even documented it, wrote about it in my journal. I interviewed a great grandfather and asked all the names I needed to know to build the family tree. I know I have to find that journal that contains information about my ancestors. It was kept back home in the Philippines (it was one of the many). I hope they were not destroyed by the typhoon. I know I have too many other important things I need  to do in my life. Building a family tree is definitely not a necessity or maybe a waste of my time. But I think documenting and sharing it is what my heart wants. For the ones who are to be born yet. My son is naturally interested in it. He asks a lot of questions about family members. He seems to be more like me. I told him it will be my project and I will share it with him.

It maybe good to look where we came from, to acknowledge the past, the family, our roots. To make that spirit alive, spirit of being a family. Pray for healing and pray for hope. We are but many branches coming from the same trunk, originating from the same root. In a global perspective, we are all interconnected, intertwined.

It will be nice if we all continue to value our origins, our families. Like now, I try to reach out for my other cousins, nieces, nephews (the new generation). But it seems different. We are connected through social networking sites only and I see no effort from the younger ones to get to know their families. Don’t you think it would be nice to be connected not  just by social media like Facebook or Instagram? We aim for a connection that has depth, sincerity, and meaningful. Maybe it will be one of my goals for my own branches. I will make sure my branches will forever be united in love and in the spirit of being one. I better start building my family tree project!

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Will The Truth Set Me Free?

I wanted to write about this for a long time now but I have always been hesitant.  I am afraid that people will make judgments about me (based on experience, there are people who are very quick on making judgments without the proper “trial”). Another reason is I am worried to hurt somebody I love. I am ashamed, and I am not proud about these feelings.

These past few days I feel anxious again. I am not so sure if I was traumatized but certainly there is something not normal about what I feel. For some of you reading this, you may have experienced anxiety. It comes in different forms. For me, when I think of a particular person or I hear her voice, my physical reaction is heart beating fast, feeling dizzy, and getting really nervous. It is just automatic. It was like conditioned. When I hear her voice or I see her calling, I get all those weird feelings that make me feel so weak. With just the thought that I will see her sometime someday, it makes me just want to disappear. Is this trauma? Why did I brought this to myself? Why did I let it happen to me? Maybe I am just being too irrational or emotional. I should not have let emotions swallow me. Is it too late? God knows I have done my best to overcome this. Sometimes I try to “immune” myself. They say if you expose yourself little by little to something that you fear, you will get used to it, accept it, and then you fear no more. I try it a couple of times. I do not fear her but I feel weird.  I guess I still have a long way to go. I pray too. May God’s healing power heal my emotions, my soul, my mind and just be normal around her. I have faith that I will get there. For now, I think I am still in the process.

It is almost exactly a year ago when for the first time, I felt so liberated, so happy. I can not explain the happiness and the peace I felt on that day. The universe might have conspired with me this time. There was a comforting silence in the house. Most importantly, there was complete silence in my head, in my heart, in my soul. I have never felt that for a long time.  Of course, I am so embarrassed to say it. I will not go into details of the many petty clashes in our little house. I am not even sure if she cared about it.  Overtime it just built a wall between us. Or I built a wall around me. I am so sad that eventually it turned out so weird. I can not explain why it led to that moment. I truly feel sorry about it.  Maybe it all started off on a wrong foot? Incompatibility? In any relationship definitely there should be compatibility. Too much differences in personality, values, way of thinking?  So many things that transpired along the way,  but there is one thing I was sure about. It was not healthy living together anymore.It came to the point when I dread waking up. When I did not want to be at home.  But I have kids. I did not want to affect them as well. I thought of leaving with the kids and try the life back home with my parents. But what did it mean? What could it look like?  Broken relationship with my husband who I love dearly? He is very close to the kids and it will kill me to see them apart. I felt so trapped for 7 years thinking about other people, thinking about the situation. I felt no choice. I felt so trapped. Getting annoyed most of the time and hating myself for being me! It does not matter what she did or what I did. The point is when things are not working out, you try to hold on to it and do your best to solve it or make things better. But when things do not really work out anymore, then something has to be done to save whatever can be saved. Maybe some things or people are just not meant to be together. Added to my anxiety is what OTHERS might think or say. I know from experience how others can naturally be judgmental, as if they do not make mistakes, as if they never get in conflict with their own families. Some people will just take sides without an open mind, without being objective. The truth is,  I tend to have a people pleaser personality. I just learned overtime that this can not be possible. We can not please everybody. We have to make choices and hurt someone along the way. It is us who go through our own lives. Others do not. They are outsiders.

I am trying to help myself conquer this negative emotion. I pray a lot that I will feel NOTHING when I see her again. She is still family, so no matter how unpleasant the experience is living under one roof with her, the right thing to do is to accept her and respect her. I am hopeful. But I am still nervous. I am afraid of feeling certain emotions again such as dislike or hatred. I was afraid of myself too. I hated myself on those times. I guess it was really self destructive since there were conflicts within me. As what I always do, I try to rationalize. It was nobody’s fault. It was just a bad chemistry. Nothing was intentional. She was a good person too. Things happen for a reason. There is still hope. I tell myself it is not too late. It is already in the past. We still have tomorrow. There should always be a room for forgiveness.

I have a baby girl. When she marries someday, I will make sure she will be free from this kind of stress!

A Tribute To The Man

It was an emergency. Seven months ago, my father had an operation. His appendix already burst for days. So when they found out, he needed to undergo surgery right away. It was bad since it could cause infection to other organs of the body, besides the fact that he is diabetic, has kidney & heart concerns. The scariest for me was the delusions. He was acting confused, seeing things, slurred speech, his odd behaviors. He suffered from stroke in a particular area on his brain causing the symptoms mentioned. Concerning my parents, so far, this has been the most terrifying experience.

As I heard the updates from my brother and sisters, I was  really affected. I was thousand miles away. Days passed by and he was still in the Intensive Care Unit.  I spoke to my husband and I needed to come home to see him. When your love one is in pain, at least you want to be there physically to comfort them. I decided I had to fly with my kids. My husband had to stay for work. The travel was not easy.  I just found out that my 2 year old has fear of heights. She was crying the whole time in the flight and she could not stand the altitude. I felt so sorry for my baby girl. It was really a sacrifice. Thank God my mom came with me to help me.

We arrived in Manila. That day I went to see my father in the hospital. He lost so much weight. He looked really bad. It was the first time I saw him so sick and weak, and it was totally heartbreaking. We prayed over him, we were visiting everyday. I brought my kids, and he saw my little girl for the first time. My son would sing to him and hold his hands. With lots of love and prayers, finally  he was sent home. He was cleared by his doctors. I was glad that we still had three weeks to take care of him at home. Literally, he had too much medicines to take round the clock (around 30 kinds). I had to make a list of schedule.  I was hands on. It was my honor to take care of him. I believe with the family’s love, support, and prayers, he survived and he got better. Before we left for the States, he was already walking (with support) and his speech was already clear.

Now, we keep in touch through texting, phone calls, video calls. I always ask God to grant my parents longer lives so we can still let them feel our love, our gratitude for giving us life. Surely, they are not perfect! They have flaws. Not all memories with parents are good (at least for me). But I know that they have done their best. They did what they can. And they will always be a part of me.  I am an extension of them. They will live in me.

My Tatay (Filipino term for father) will celebrate his birthday two months from now. He is turning 82 years old. I thank God for giving him another chance to live. Another year. And more years to come. I just want to recognize him, while he is still around.

Recently, my father was acknowledged by our City. He was one of the recipients of the “Dangal ng Bacoor (Honor/Pride of Bacoor, our hometown in the Philippines). This is the second time he received the same award. I checked websites if there was an article  written about it. There was one, but they only mentioned the famous celebrities who were recipients too. So here is my chance to include my father,  Atty. Hermoso Tan Lazaro.  “Dangal ng Bacoor” – an event that recognized the achievements of its local sons and daughters in various fields, among them Eric Buhain for sports, Diether Ocampo and Marian Rivera for the entertainment industry; former Supreme Court Chief Justice Manuel Pamaran; former Department of Justice Secretary Serafin Cuevas; and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Cesar Sarino.” (http://mbpublications.com/cruise/2008/11/11/bacoors-bounty/). My father is not famous. He is not a public figure, but he was chosen to be a recipient of this award. That makes it more special!

Hermoso Tan Lazaro  was born on March 11, 1933 in Cavite, Philippines. Son of Atty. Dominador Guinto Lazaro and Tomasa Sanchez Tan. He is a younger brother to Dr. Lourdes Tan Zebell. His sister pursued her medical career in the United States in her early 20’s.

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He went to FEU Law School and passed the bar exam. He was accepted in the National Bureau of Investigation (counterpart of FBI here in the States) and worked his way up the ladder. From being an agent chasing the bad guys, he became Assistant Director of the Bureau when he retired. He also got a training in Quantico Virginia (http://www.mocavo.com/Directory-of-Graduates-of-the-Fbi-National-Academy-and-Officers-of-the-Fbi-National-Academy-Associates-1997-98/121011/669).  I believe he spent more than 50 years of his life serving in the Bureau (I will have to call them for exact details). I remember when I was little we would go on vacation in different provinces where he was assigned to work as Regional Director. In high school, he had his office in Manila. Sometimes I would come to visit after class.

Remembering my father, he was good looking, strong, mighty, tough, intimidating, dominant, powerful, dignified. Clearly, he was an achiever.  Other than that, to us,  he was a good father. He did a great job protecting us and providing everything that we need. I have funny memories of him too (particularly his corny jokes). Now that he is old, physically weak, he needs to know that his legacy will not be forgotten. He will look the same to us forever, and that we will always be proud of him!

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“In Like or In Love?” (very short love story)

She came back from a vacation abroad. She heard that there was a new guy at work, and they said that he was a heartthrob. She did not really care.

The next day, she was called for a meeting. She sat across the new guy. In her mind she thought, ” Fine. He is cute.” The meeting was adjourned. The new guy approached her. He introduced himself. She thought it was nice of him to do that. They talked for a while, and they hit it off.

Almost everyday, he would visit her in her cubicle at work. He would share pastries or coffee or just engage in small talks during breaks. Months and years passed by. Their friendship remained. Unconsciously, she liked him. She would deny it but eventually she was having feelings. She thought, maybe she was just fond of his ways. Moreover, there was no way of liking him because he had a girl friend. He talked about her.  She thought, “maybe he looks at me like a sister”, but honestly she thought there were mixed signals.  He would talk to her about his girl friend, call her up whenever they were having problems. He would seek for advice.  He would share his secrets (both nice and bad) to her. They were good friends.

One day, after work, as she was heading towards her car, she heard a voice behind her. It was the girl friend. It was the second time she met her. The first time was when the guy introduced them during an office event. The girl looked so worried, mad, confused, jealous. She just let her feelings out.The guy found them talking. He was embarrassed that his girlfriend had to confront her. He assured her nothing was going on between them.

After that incident, little by little the guy kept his distance. He no longer dropped by her cubicle or share coffee/pastries or engage in small talks. One day, he just informed her that they were getting married. She was shocked, but she was expecting it. Did it hurt? Maybe a little. Her heart was broken. She moved on…  After her long term relationship, she still prayed harder to find her soul mate, that man who is meant for her.

After a few months, she reconnected with a friend. And he found her! Everything fell into place. It was magical.  She got married the following year. At present, they are happily married for 10 years, with three kids. Sometimes, she would still remember that new guy from work. It makes her smile, and she still ask herself if somewhere along the way, did he have feelings for her too? Was she in like or in love with him? It was in the past. It will always be a special memory.