It’s Sunday, Nov. 4. and I brought Sam to Holy Mass, as her mom always made sure on this the Lord’s day. It was off to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Mandaluyong, which is about a block away from our house and I really struggled to get through the Mass. For Mariel wasn’t there beside me as I’ve grown to cherish all these years. It was particularly tough when I had to “hold hands” with Sam for the Lord’s Prayer and the reassuring, familiar warmth of Mariel wasn’t there. Even harder was not feeling her affectionate embrace at “Peace be with you”. Most of you reading this may find it hard to imagine the aching pain that comes with these moments. It’s a terrible, terrible sadness that makes time stand still, or at least move it utterly slow. I even wished I were just dreaming and will at any time wake up to find Mariel by my side (and break into laughter at my silly reverie). But of course, we all know the cold reality. Mariel will no longer be there to hug me tenderly. No longer there to tell me everything will be okay after some problems at work. No longer there to unceasingly look after Sam’s happiness. Mariel was my giant shoulder to cry on. No one can replace her in my life and beyond.
It was also the first Sunday of November and the priest requested all those who will be celebrating birthdays this month to come forward for a special blessing. I asked Sam to walk up front for her mom, as Mariel would’ve celebrated her forty- something birthday in two days. Sam got a religious “bookmark”. I know Mariel got her special blessing too. I just wished there was a special prayer for me to be able to make it through the day. For time has stopped and I don’t know what else to do.
Moving through warped time and space, I brought Sam home and found my way back to the mall. I wanted to grieve alone midst the “impersonalness” of the crowd. There I can be no one. For a few hours, I did not have to hear the words “you have to move on”. Because I wanted time to be stuck at that moment when I had said “Peace be with you” Mariel. And she then replied with a smile filled with innocence and compassion.
Peace be with you, Mommy. I love you.