Category Archives: Family

Christmas Musings

Christmas Eve is just a few hours away.  Pretty soon the quiet will settle and I will have the house all to myself.

A couple of my friends have been incessantly inviting me to spend time and have Noche Buena with them.  Repeatedly telling me (and others) matter-of-factly that I’m spending Christmas with them.  However, I politely declined each offer.  I have such great friends who are so sweet, so giving, and so loving.  I know they mean well and they don’t want me to be on my own for Christmas.  But I don’t want to be an imposition.  And frankly, I prefer to be at home for this season.  To be closer to the memories of my parents.  Where I can be myself. (Put it this way, it’s easier to treat this season in a normal note rather than be reminded of things that have gone.)

When my parents were still alive, we didn’t have any Christmas traditions (the must-have foods like what’s commonly commercialized on TV).  As long as there was food on the table, and we went to the Christmas Eve mass that was already enough.  It was just like any normal day at home.  So I guess our celebration was just downplayed.  I guess as I grew up and we all grew older, Christmas was more celebrated in solemnity rather than being a party.

For someone who’s sometimes tagged by friends as a “social butterfly” in most occasions, I honestly prefer the quiet of my home during this Christmas.  I guess the past few years (since the time of my dad’s first hospitalization) I’ve lost my moxie in holiday preparations, cheers, and even spirit.  But then again, my Christmases were usually spent at my grandma’s house with my relatives.

Wow… I forgot about those memories…

Anyway, now that I’m currently on my own I should start on making my own traditions.  Maybe go out and ride my bike, turn up the volume on my music, visit my neighbors, play dress-up, map out my lifeplans… Lol. Well, whatever I may have planned, it’ll be something of my own.

To my bffs, if you’re reading this, please don’t worry about me.  It’s cute (and annoying!) that you’re constantly monitoring me but I am totally fine being on my own for this season.  I know (and you keep on reminding me) that I’m not an imposition and that I’m practically part of your family but I can’t help feeling like a spectator from the outside-looking-in.  And there are some seasons I have to celebrate on my own.  You guys enjoy your own traditions while I celebrate (for now) .  I’ll see you real soon!





Thought I’d share the eulogy made by my godmother which I read during Mom’s interment.  It still moves me to tears whenever I read this.  I thought I’d honor my mom by sharing this to everyone.



(My godmother’s eulogy for Mom – her best friend)

Shakespeare once wrote,

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

But this Rose is not just a name. Like a Rose she is sweet, attractive, smart. Her character foundation is strong as the stem and has thorns that can prick you back if you have been unjust.

 Rosalie as a friend was always available when needed. She cared for and accepted her friends as they are. She maintained her friendships all the way from high school.

 Rose, as Mario’s girlfriend was fiercely independent and loving. I had the privilege to know them both before they married. One time, the Davao torrential rains created puddles on the road, Mario carried her on his back so her feet won’t get wet. When she wanted to be mobile, he taught her how to drive. Rose drove her tiny Minica with the fervor or a race-car driver. She could run from 10 kph to 50 kph in two seconds, that is, while backing away from the garage.

 Years ago, Rose reported for work at the Ateneo de Davao High School, went straight to Fr. Ricky Lalana’s office (who was then the principal) and told him, “Father, I’m sorry I’m late. I got married this morning.” Rose is a very practical woman.

 As a teacher, she was strict, bordering on being a martinet. If you pass by the typing room, you’ll hear it loud and clear, “fingers on the home keys.” Ma’am Rose was one of those who knew zero tolerance before it became a corporate strategy. Her diminutive figure packed a powerful personality.

As a friend, she was true. I met Rose during a very painful period in my life. I just got separated from my husband and had two little boys to raise. I was previously teaching at Maryknoll College in Quezon City. When the separation happened, I lost almost everything, my husband, my home, my job and spirit. Given my flair and verve, I had a difficult time adjusting to a slower pace than that I had in Manila. Everyone was a new friend and a new critic. Rose had a great heart that embraced me from Day one. She saw the simplicity behind my facial war paint, she perceived the unfathomable pain that weighed my heart, she listened to my sorrowful stories and laughed at the jokes that I bravely projected to hide the broken heart. Rose was available. I just had to walk into the typing room and she was ready with tissue to wipe tears. She brought me into her circle and I met her high school friends. From the outside, it may seem that she had a sharp retort for anything. Having spent so much time with her, I marveled at her way of looking at things. She doesn’t say bad things behind a person’s back. If I give a negative comment about anyone, she would respond with, “hayaan mo na, ganyan talaga siya, eh.” (Leave them be, they’re just like that.)And she took me that way as well. When asked, “Paano mo napakisamahan yan si Bel, ang arte-arte niyan.” (How are you able to get along with Bel, she’s so picky.) Her response, “Hah? Eh ganyan talaga siya.” (Huh? Well that’s who she is.)

Nothing was more exciting for her than when she found out she was pregnant. Of course, nag-ninang ako and Mitz was the cutest one ever. One time I dropped by, Mitz was around two years old, she sat on a small stool and was eating. Rose said, “Naa o, nanginabuhi.” (There. Supporting herself.) Mitz was practically eating on her own, as fiercely independent as her mother.

As a wife, she let Mario do his thing. He wanted to sing with a band and he was always out at night. Rose made everyone around her be the best they can be.

As a widow, she was still practical. When I called her to condole with her loss. She just said, “Wala tayong magawa, ganyan talaga ang buhay.”

During one of my trips back in Davao, Mario was still around then, we had dinner in Victoria Plaza. Due to our excitement, we forgot to pay for our meal. It was good that the restaurant personnel knew them from frequent visits. After Mario passed away, I had the opportunity to have time with her. We had a sumptuous lunch and we talked about her retirement career. She wanted to open a sari-sari boutique in her carport area. It now stands half done with a few books for sale in shelves.

Two years ago, I asked her to have lunch with me again and she said she wasn’t feeling well. I told her I will go and see her and she said, “Ay, huwag na. Hindi ko naayos ang bahay. I’ll rest lang.” (Oh, just don’t.  The house isn’t fixed.  I’ll just rest.)  When I came over again, I insisted that we go out. She said, “Hay, anyway, malalaman mo din. May sakit ako. Cancer daw.” (*Sigh*  Anyway, you’ll know.  I’m sick.  May be cancer.)  I asked what treatments she was going to undergo and she said, “I have decided to go for a natural way of healing.” We had a long discussion about homeopathy and the natural way of healing the body. “Sus, ngayon puro gulay yung kinakain ko, hindi ko naman kilalala yang mga broccoli, ngayon yan na ang binibili ko.”  (Jeez, now I’m just eating purely vegetables.  I didn’t use to know about broccoli, now it’s all that I buy.)

In another conversation, she said, “Help me pray na gumaling ako. When I recover, I will go to Cebu and visit you. I will make more lakwatsa now and just enjoy myself.” (Help me pray that I will get well.  When I recover, I will go to Cebu and visit you.  I will travel more and just enjoy myself.) She never got to go to visit me.

Two weeks ago, I called to tell her that I was going to Davao in mid February. She said, for the first time. “Sige bisitahin mo ako.” (Okay come visit me.) I asked how things were. She said, “I’m in pain.” “Dali na…” (Hurry…)

Tuesday last week, I was dead tired from a series of talks and meetings. I got a late night call from Naxxie Ebarle. “Bel, let’s go and see Rose. Tomorrow maybe too late.” We went to see her before midnight. She was already in a coma-like state. I talked to her. Through misty eyes, I talked about the moments of craziness. During one of the faculty retreats, Fr. Randy dropped by my room and Rose. Before we knew it, talks went around that he was in my room late at night. This miffed Rose. “At ako, nandoon din ako, ah.” (And me… I was there too.) She didn’t want to be left out. Since her students constantly forgot to bring bond paper for typing she would sell them one or two pieces. When pay day was coming and we didn’t have much, we would dig up her box of coupon bond coins and get out “plete” (fare) to tide us over till end of the month. Through the challenges, we laughed. We did look funny together. Me, in my high heels, swaying gait and short skirt and Rose with her purposeful strides and practical shoes. We accepted each other. We shared rooms during retreats, we ate lunch together, shared stories I dare not write about now. We were and are, great friends.

I flew back to Cebu Thursday and Friday morning, Mitz sends the dreaded news. Now I grieve, over the loss. Shed tears for times gone by, for times that will never come and the few days I would have wanted to spend with her.

Mitz, you are your mother’s pride and joy. She was happy whatever made you happy. Rose’s body is gone but her spirit lives in you, in me and in all of us.

I love you Rose. Wherever you are, I will see you one day.



Thank you Ninang.  I miss you, Mom.

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From the Outside Looking In: Siblings

I will never know how it feels like to grow up living with brothers and/or sisters.  Being raised as an only child, sibling dynamics (the unspoken bond of closeness, the rivalry, and the long history of memories).  I guess I can just speculate how it goes and will always be a spectator on the sidelines… someone from the outside looking in.

Although I have 3 older half-brothers, my relationship with them is not exactly the kind that most people who grew up with their siblings (on the same house)  have.  And honestly, many factors of the years didn’t do much to bridge the gap I have with them.  Civil, yes.  Comforting, yup… a little bit.  Close?  Not exactly.

My older half-brother – Kuya* A – came over to visit this afternoon. (*Kuya in the Philippines means older brother.) Normally, we’d just do the usual pleasantries that I’ve gotten used to over the years.  Most often (especially when Mom was still very sick, and during the weeks after she passed on), his visit would include me offering dinner to him and discussing standard matters such as how my Dad’s side of the family is doing.  But this time, Kuya A was very, very talkative.  He was talking about his older brother, my Kuya J, who is now in New Zealand and about the rushed decision in leaving the country.  He seemed very concerned about Kuya J’s welfare overseas with my 2 nieces (Kuya J’s daughters) left to the care of his in-laws in Manila.  Then from that topic, he veered off into recalling his childhood and how they grew up under the care of our Lola (grandmother).

I was keeping to myself the whole time but was honestly fascinated by his stories of growing up.  How Kuya J would cry when they’d be running late for school in elementary, how he would prepare Kuya A’s stuff for school so that they would be late and practically dragging him hurriedly as they walk from their house to the school.  Then to the stories of how Kuya J defended him against punishments dished out by Lola because he came home late or caused a lot of commotion at home.  How Kuya J defended him from their eldest brother, Kuya M when he was being his obnoxious self.  It was only today that I knew about Kuya J’s “violent” side when Kuya A said Kuya M got a nosebleed when Kuya J punched him because of something he did to Kuya A.  After the childhood stories, he continued on to Kuya J’s lovelife and “love” problems with then girlfriend (and current wife).  One thing struck me most… when, after an argument with the gf when Kuya J brought along Kuya A to watch a movie with them, Kuya J said “Mas mawala ka pa, kesa kay A.”  (I’d rather lose you, rather than A.)

Blood brothers.  Siblings.

I saw my half-brothers in a whole new light tonight. It became so easy to see how they grew up to be the persons that they are (behavior-wise and personalityp-wise).  And even if, as adults, we’ve remained pretty close I would never know nor experience living a life with siblings… growing up with them together, sharing stories and secrets of childhood, and truly being comfortable in just being myself to them.

I will be forever mystified by the prospect of the relationship between siblings.  Regardless of how close I may be with my friends and no matter how “included” I may be with their family and however close I may be to their brothers and/or sisters…  And no matter how akin to a sibling-type relationship we may have, it would not be the same.

And I feel I missed out on something very wonderful.

P.S.  If I were to report on Alfred Adler’s birth order theory in class again, I’d cite my Kuyas as example.  However, I think Mr. Adler would have a field day in breaking down my birth order – the only child, the youngest, the eldest.  Have fun Mr. Adler!

A Month Later

It’s been a month after my mom passed away. A month since I’ve come to face the fact that I am now a full orphan.

Still… I can’t find myself to write my thoughts…

Sorry folks.

My Happy Place

Everyone has a “Happy Place”.  Somewhere they can go to when the heart is stricken with sadness, loneliness, and fear.  A place full of possibilities and promises… where acceptance is never a foreign word.  A place of nurturing, of genuine care, love, respect, and great faith in you as an individual plying along the busy streets of life.

When I hear people say “I’m going to my happy place now” I always pictured them transported into a large meadow of the greenest grass… of birds flying along the horizon, flowers blown by the breeze as they dance to the rhythm of the wind, and dream lighting illuminating the scenery.  Then cue an orchestra of sweet music of course.

So… “cartoony” right?  Well, even I couldn’t visualize a more concrete place in my mind’s eye except for that very elementary and surreal picture.   Sure, I consider my home a sanctuary while growing up.  I’ve also made my workplace cubicles, rooms, and office spaces as personalized as I can to give me a sense of comfort during life’s rollercoaster ride.  It gives a momentary respite, yes, but I still end up searching for that place when the little stresses build up into something more.

During one ride home, as I was slowly rehashing another eventful day of the social kind, I was drawn to checking old chat messages from my friends when an epiphany struck me.  Like the sound of echoes reverberating in the deepest caverns of my brain saying “happy place… happy place” – my little crate of worms that I turn to when I need a good laugh, a place to vent, and just be myself.  A small corner in this technologically advanced world that a couple of my friends (some who are very far away) and I made to be able to keep in touch.  And since then, it has become my sanctum – my source of smiles and comfort  when life brings me down.

To clear up the risk of sounding crazy, let me just say that it’s not just that little niche that makes it meaningful but what it symbolizes.  The long-lasting friendships, the endless meaningful conversations, the teasing and bantering, and surprising paths to self-discovery… things that can never be measured.   It is a reminder that no matter how I may feel and regardless where life may take me, there is always, ALWAYS that one place that I can go to for comfort and clarity and set me back on my course.

My happy place.  A segue between reality and realization.

Thank you (you know who you are!) for being a part of my happy place!!!

Quick Question:  What/Where’s your happy place?


Since it was a holiday today, I had my day planned out this morning.   Work on my assignments in some of my post-graduate subjects (three backlog assignments to be exact)… finalize my teambuilding module for the Math department… accomplish my bridesmaid duties… catch some sleep.

As I went down for breakfast, Mom and Jeany (my cousin who’s living with us) were talking at the table.  Still shaking off the lethargy in my body, I just quietly sat there eating a piece of bibingka while listening to their talk and contemplating which homework I should finish off first.  Suddenly Mom asked me if I could accompany my cousin in visiting her father along with my other cousin – Pie – who was coming over for a visit.  Seeing that my mom really wanted me to go, I couldn’t say no.  Family would take precedence over my homework especially during holidays.  (Actually… partly procrastination, and partly the call of having reasons in going out).  Jeany had to run some errands and Pie was still on her way so I had enough time though for a head start in finishing off 2 of my homework.

We had lunch by noon and were discussing how to get to my uncle.  You see, he’s currently detained at the City Jail.  Not something major though… domestic disputes that spiraled out of control and the law high on its heels.  Jeany hasn’t gone to visit her father, and it felt like my responsibility to be with her.  Thankfully Pie came along too.  I haven’t been to the city jail…EVER.  So I don’t know where it was to be exact and what their rules and regulations are.  I remembered having met someone – a co-volunteer during typhoon Pablo – whom I befriended who works there.

She gave me these information:

1. Bring valid ID. 2. DO NOT wear: YELLOW or BLACK top, Sando/sleeveless tops, shorts, and tight-fit pants. 3. Foil wraps, knife, and metal spoons and forks are not allowed inside the facility. 4. All visitors are subject for SEARCHING. 5. Visiting hours: 01:00PM – 04:00PM (Tuesday – Friday) 09:00AM – 04:00PM (Saturday and Sunday) No Visits (Monday)

Good thing that I asked.  My other cousin and I wore yellow shirts so we had to change.  We bought food for my uncle then went off to BJMP.

I admit being at a loss when we got there.  Although I expected the jailers/officers to be terse in their interaction, what transpired before we got inside was something you’d only get to see in old Pilipino movies of people who were visiting inmates.  i can accept that everything they do was just Standard Operating Procedures.  I get that.  I have no problems with that.  But it doesn’t change how I felt when they did their “SEARCHING”.  It wasn’t something I had expected really.  And they did it TWICE!!! Pie was lucky enough not to get in (according to the officer’s standards, her pants were capri and therefore not allowed passage inside).  She had to wait outside for us and look after our bags while Jeany and I went ahead.  After a couple more setbacks (and the second “SEARCHING”), we finally got to sat down with my uncle.

Now I’m not particularly close to any of my relatives (on both sides) but I guess time and age allows you to be more observant and sensitive to your environment.  The father-daughter moment unfolding in front of me was… heart-wrenching.  The type you see in movies.  Regret.  Shame.  Uncertainty.  Out of duty.  I felt like a spectator.  I wasn’t sure if they would talk to each other at all if I left them on their own.  I guess, now I know why my cousin brought me along.  To be the icebreaker.

it feels weird to talk about grown-up stuff with uncles.  Even weirder to be placed in their collection of pedestals.  He was pouring out his frustrations and disappointments… and in that moment, I saw a glimpse of my mom’s little brother still peeking through the guise of a golden-aged man.  It was a cry for sympathy, for care, for love.  A cry of regret, deprivation, and self-doubt.  But then again, that’s the unconditional positive regard influence.  I never knew my uncle very well.  Just from the stories and one particular event when I was young.  That’s another story to tell though.

We talked some more about what happened (the WHY it happened), his plans after this adversity, and what to do for the moment.  I asked my cousin to jump at every opportunity during our conversations and was lucky enough to see them reach out, albeit adroitly.  When the signal for 4:00PM sounded, we bid our goodbyes and went on our way.  Thank God they didn’t do their “SEARCHING” anymore in going out.  (Twice the experience is more than enough for trauma to set in!)

Pie was waiting by the roadside eatery.  With so much adrenaline still pumping throughout our bodies, the three of us decided to walk off the energy first until we reached the end of the block.

It was a new experience going out with my cousins as who we are right now.  Sure we hung out when we were much younger, but this was different.  Being able to talk about family without having to describe each and everyone and finding out a little bit more about yourself is just surprising… to say the least.  But that’s another story to tell.

Something I [re]learned today, sometimes things don’t go as you planned for initially.  You fall down… make mistakes… face trials… lose sight of yourself at some point… make up for lost time.  But no matter what happens along the way, it’s the process… the learning you gain along the way… and discovering more about yourself – about who you are and what you’re made of.

School Assignments and Helping Out

My cousin is currently busy doing her homework on the next bed. A worksheet, it may seem, on affixes and word definitions. I know I should already get some sleep but seeing her hard at it makes me feel a tad guilty if I sleep ahead. To be honest, I want to be sure that she gets her assignment done before we hit the sack.

She asked for my help earlier. Just to clarify the definition of the word liquify. Thankfully, my vocabulary has encompassed that word in my memory bank. But aside from that, she’s doing things on her own. She’s in her first semester in college, taking up Education Majoring on English.

Strikes me as weird that I am tempted on sharing the sentences that may speed up her process, but what’s most surprising is how I’m reining in the urge to do so. Must be the “educator” in me teaching her to be self-reliant and able to make use of her senses and faculties in the journey of learning.

In comparison, the daughter of our laundry lady has been frequently dropping by every night to ask help in her assignments thus making our home as her study den, and my cousin as a tutor. I think it was last Wednesday that my Mom, my cousin, and I became collectively involved in her assignment – the flag of the Philippines. I assumed it was part of the Independence Day commemoration in their school. For a fifth grader she was quite loud and a bit obnoxious. Add that to the fact that growing up alone there wasn’t too much noise or chatter at home for assignments, it was quite annoying. Nevertheless I let them be. Mom was eager to help her out (she wasn’t feeling any abdominal pains that night), my cousin offered to draw for her while I was listening to their conversations. I had to put my foot down on all the spoon-feeding they were doing. Told her that Mom rarely-to-almost-never helped me in doing my homework, and that she can find what she needs in books and in doing research. Whipped out my mom’s iPad and told her to read. She was still speaking very loudly (negatively) about herself but thankfully she listened.

The next day she was proud to report that her flag was the only one correct in her class. Since then, she’s become a regular visitor at home. Not that I can complain too much about it. At least there’s an extra pair of hands to help mom out at home and a VERY talkative little girl to entertain her during her moments of pain.

Point of reflection: There’s a fine line between helping out and in spoon-feeding learning. It boils down on what you want to develop in a person. Communication is a key to learning. It opens up many possibilities. But you must always be aware of where it leads both the teacher and the student.

For now, I would never have believed it if someone told me. i’d be helping out a fifth-grader on the human reproductive organ nor worry myself over a college student’s adjustment and school requirements. I would’ve laughed. Joke’s in me now.

With Santa On My Lap (A Big Girl’s Christmas Wish)

Above all material things I keep wishing for, nothing can top my heart’s desire that the people I love the most be kept SAFE and HEALTHY… always.  I guess it springs from the need for safety and security.  I think Abraham Maslow could explain this further.

This morning, my mom dropped the bomb on me over breakfast.

Mom: “Naa koy malignant tumor sa akong matris ug cyst sa left side.” (I have a malignant tumor in my uterus and a cyst on my left side)

Me: (fighting back the tears) “What left side?  Ovary?”

Mom: “Siguro…” (Maybe)

Fighting back the tears, we continued our conversation on what’s going to happen next.  Mom has decided not to get operated preferring the natural way in finding a cure.  Since she’s into alternative medicine, some of the doctor’s advise on medicines clash to what she has studied and known for a couple of years already.  Another reason is that our financial status is just enough to maintain our day to day grind (No inputs on how to earn money quick please!).   As for me, I need to read up more, ask further questions, and be more knowledgeable FAST so that I can plan and prod what needs to be done.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell my friends or my colleagues yet.  I didn’t want to have too many questions that I didn’t know what to say.  It’s enough that my nightly fears have been confirmed (how my mom fidgets when she sleeps and my constant checking if there’s still a rise and fall of breath on her chest), I don’t think I can handle the uncertain.  So far I’ve only informed my boss.  But by the time you get to this part, dear reader, you would know about it too.  I only request for understanding and a little space.  If I may seem aloof and distant, forgive me.  It is not you, but what’s going on right now.  I appreciate your concern but please do not smother me.  I will know when I can’t hold my emotions on my own.

I’m sorry my friends, I couldn’t decide on whether to tell you too.  It’s a bummer for this season.  It’s always Christmas that I seem to receive heavy emotional blows.  And I didn’t want to dampen your mood.

For the moment, I’m still processing myself… coming to terms with the possible implications this would mean.  All my topics I’be planned out to post are taking a temporary back seat as I stare into the eyes of my little Santa man on my lap.  How I wish I were young again and ask Santa for the latest toys, or have the lovely drawing set my classmate has, a new bike, clothes and whatnots instead of praying for my mom’s tumor and cyst to go away.

Santa, can you hear me?

My Blue Santa Man

My Blue Santa Man

But Santa is only for little girls and boys.  I doubt if I’m still part of the “nice list” to make the cut.  But I’ll still try.

So I’m slowly putting my hands together, silently sending a prayer not only to an icon of childhood dreams, but to the Lord… please help me get through this…

Food Trip Week with Mom

I should have posted this last week but I didn’t have any internet connection.  So I’m making this tribute post to my only Mom especially since it’s her birthday today – April 7!

Since it’s Black Saturday today and she’ll be attending a vigil tonight, chances are the celebration would be held tomorrow.

Anyway, Mom and I have been in an eat-out frenzy from March 25 – March 30.  Initially we went out just to grab a couple of supplies for our new ice craze variations and snack foods when I asked my mom to have our lunch at Don Beppe.  An Italian restaurant located at The Peak in Gaisano Mall of Davao.

Don Beppe

Honestly, mom and I felt a bit out of place… If my dad was there, everything else would be just fine.  Dad was such a personality that he could feel comfortable anywhere.  Goes to show where I really take from.  Nonetheless, their menu was quite daunting (more like the prices) so considering our budget, we opted for classic dishes with the Don Beppe twist.  I ordered grilled steak, and mom got the tuna… something.  I forgot.  LOL.

Since they had free wifi, I got to check in on Foursquare then was able to go on Facetime with my aunt in Japan (teasing her with our food).

Complimentary Breadsticks

Table centerpiece

View on the outside

the counter

My order


our placemats

Just to humor my mom, I took a couple of her pictures at The Peak.


Our next date was for dinner at the most well-known restaurant in the Philippines… JOLLIBEE!!!

For 2 straight nights, mom and I had dinner at Jollibee.  And yes, we still annoyed my teased my aunt about it.  Mom was constantly craving for their Crispy Bangus (Milkfish) value meal.  Plus, she finally got a taste of their new summer serving: Milo Mix-ins.

Milo Mix-in

Our last stop for the week was last Friday’s dinner at SUMOSAM.  A new Japanese restaurant at Abreeza Mall.

Again, I felt out of place.  It would have been nice if dad was there.

So I ordered our food.  A tonkatsu for me, and a Salmon dish for my mom. I wasn’t sure if they had any silverware for us to use but glancing around at the other customers, they were all using chopsticks.  Thus… mom and I had no choice… chopsticks it is.  Dinner was fun and stressful.  Fun and stressful because mom kept laughing when I told her we won’t be returning there (chopsticks were such a challenge!!!).  And when I was on my last spoon err… stick, she noticed that the customers eyeing us earlier on the other table before us were using spoon and fork.  ARGH!! Talk about late news flash!  Nevertheless, it was fun and a very fulfilling meal.

So that’s it for now!  I wonder where we will be celebrating tomorrow?  Hmm… I better search for other places to go to.  Suggestions anyone?

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A Year After Goodbye

November 6, 2011

A year ago (on a Saturday), at 6:06PM, my father surrendered to liver cancer. The pain of the loss has long been turned into a dull thudding inside me that I could tune out at most times but somehow, in days like these, I still remember the last few moments I spent with him.

Feeling quite sentimental really…

Been typing and deleting words I could use to clearly express what’s going on in my mind, but my brain’s not cooperating. A large part of me wants to share the details of those final moments with him… but another part of me wants to keep it all inside. Maybe its because I’ve shared it before (with close friends) and then repeating it again a year after would make me seem like a broken record. I want to give a tribute to my dad but there’s so much to say and I don’t know where to start yet.

Anyway as planned for his 1st year death anniversary, we – me, my mom, a few of our neighbors, and my half-brothers and other relatives – were set to meet up for a short get-together prayer at my dad’s final resting place. And for the whole day I’ve been reminded of my dad. To name a few:

1. Disney’s The Game Plan

The movie was playing at a local channel and although I’ve seen it a couple of times already, I still enjoy watching it. Aside from the fact that regardless of my “young” age I’m slightly addicted to Disney, I remember watching it with my dad. A Daddy-Daughter movie that’s very heartwarming. I’m easily moved to tears when watching a feel good movie, so the waterworks really started with those cute and sweet moments Joe Kingman shared with his daughter Peyton.

God… I miss my dad.

2. Phrases running through my mind

“Kiss ko beh…”

I remember one of dad’s rare moments where he goes sweet on himself asking for me to kiss him. Dad was still able to drop me off to work (a day before we rushed him to the hospital). He came back later in the morning to get his LOA for his check-up (along with my half-brother and aunt) when he asked for his kiss. In retrospect, a surprising request. Dad didn’t get to have himself checked-up that day anymore.

“Surrender na ko… (I surrender)”

November 5, 2010

The day we rushed him to the hospital. Mom didn’t come along at first. It was just me and my half-brother then my other half-brother came along. I still remember the nurse inquiring if whether all four of us were siblings. I guess my dad looked young for them and he was already 63 that time! A welcome comment to distract me from the severity of the situation. I kept thinking “Not again… it’s been less than a year from his ExLap surgery…” plus the fears of a few months ago (refer here). So when the doctor arrived, I was on the edge. And rightfully so! I didn’t know what to expect. So when the doctor said my dad had Liver Cancer and we were just counting the days until he’ll be leaving us, maintaining my composure and keeping my tears at bay was the least of my problems… breaking the news was.

So when my dad jokingly told me “Kapoy na man. Unsa man, surrender na ko? (I’m tired already. So, should I surrender?” It took every amount of my strength to keep me from bursting to tears. He asked me the same thing again, once we were settled on a room. He already knew something was wrong since my response was a sober one. God! Feeling chest pangs…

I never got to talk to him after. When I got him settled with my mom and half-brother looking after him, I reported for work to finish a few stuff. Then when I got back, Dad was at the ICU with a tube stuck on his mouth to aid his breathing.

He was slowly distancing himself from us during his last two weeks. I guess he wanted to show us a strong front and that nothing was wrong. As for me, after receiving the breaking news, accepting it was a process.

November 6, 2010

“Ma’am, if he comes to a point for cardiac arrest, will we be reviving him?”

“So soon? He just got admitted last night!”

Keeping the tears at bay while at the ICU was physically draining and emotionally painful. Since Mom appointed me to make the big decisions, signing of waivers and be the receiver of the doctors’ news, putting up a brave front was the only way to go.

“He might be going today”

The doctor – a close friend of my dad – broke the news. There was no chorus of crying from our party. But there was no dry pair of eyes surrounding my dad’s hospital bed. After the final blessings for the dying, I had to push back the tears and pain I was feeling and be strong for my mom.

Do you know how painful it is holding a bedside vigil? Monitoring the last rise and fall of blood pressure, the slow intake of breath, the last pulse and heartbeat, waiting for the medicines to wear off, grown up guys crying saying sorry to a father who they believe abandoned them, a doctor crying for a loss of a friend, listening to whispered messages and prayers…

I think I need to stop now. I’m sure you get the picture.

3. The Missing Death Certificate

Dad’s DC has been missing for quite sometime now and scavenger hunting for it at home has been more than tedious. Now, it suddenly turns up hidden with a few of my stuff in my room. I don’t know if it’s because my room has been in disarray or something else.

So that’s it. For now.

I still miss my dad. I miss our bonding moments together. He always made it a point to introduce me and talk about my relatives on his side of the family tree. I still feel uneasy with the exposure I get with my father’s side of the family. Eventually, I’ll be more open and comfortable when I’m with them.

The Rockstar that was My Father

Daddy making faces

Share your thoughts? Would love to hear from you. I’ve posted about my dad and his passing here:

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