It’s a little past 12 am of November 6. Around this time every year I’d wake up Mariel to whisper “Happy Birthday Mommy, I love you”. After a short embrace, then its back to sleep for her. It’s not that Mariel did not appreciate my wish to be the first to greet her on her birthday. She just knew that she has to get up early to prepare Sam for school the next morning. As I’ve said many, many times in this blog, with Mariel, Sam is”the” priority. Which was why I loved Mariel even more. She seldom called attention to her own needs. She was happier when she was giving. Birthdays were usually spent having a simple dinner at home. Over Max’s Fried Chicken and Pancit Canton.
That’s why later this evening, it’s her favorite noodles and chicken for us all. Plus, we’ve written her short letters as “gifts” today. I promised Sam not to put up her messages on the blog, its between her and Mommy. All I know is that it was filled with lots of infinity symbols. I will also read some really nice words of encouragement we’ve received through Mariel’s Garden. Thoughtful comments from Linda Riley (mysteryoriley blog), Grace V, cousin Annie, “Writing Grandma”, Mariel our niece, Joy L, Direk Vincent, Hedy T, Susie B, Claire Espina and sis Joy Davy will surely warm our hearts when we most need it. We also plan to offer Holy Mass and prayers tonight. And maybe, if we are up to it, look at some old photographs and remember our happiest times. And many, many happy times together we have indeed shared. But, it can never be enough with Mariel because she had so much to give.
I really wish many more would have gotten to know her better . For Mariel came across as “very private” to some. Actually, she just never wanted to impose on anyone. She was not comfortable being the object of attention. She would rather be giving instead. She was happiest when she made others happy. And she can afford to give so much because her “cup was so full”. She had “everything”, that is why she wanted nothing for herself.
Well, not completely nothing. If there was anything she was a bit selfish of. It was about her daughter Sam (and maybe to some extent, me). Because she wanted almost all the time in this world spent with just the three of us. Maybe she saw it coming. I will never really know. All I know right now however, is that I will be spending all my time in this world trying to make people, and specially our daughter Sam, understand what a truly exceptional person Mariel was. A loving, gentle and very generous person. A person who “found her happiness in the happiness of another”.
Happy Birthday “Mommy”. We will always love you. You will always be in our hearts.