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 big hug, it was usually back to sleep for her. It’s not that Mariel did not appreciate my greetings on her special day, she just knew that she had to get up early to prepare Sam for school the coming day. As I’ve said many, many times before in the blog, for Mariel, Sam is THE priority. That’s why I love Mariel even more looking back. She seldom called attention to her own needs. She was happiest when she was sharing with others. Her birthdays were normally spent having a simple dinner at home. Many times over Max’s Fried Chicken and Pancit Canton.
That’s why later tonight, it will be her favorite noodles and chicken for us. Plus, we’ve written her short letters as little gifts to her today. I had promised Sam not to publish her message on this blog. Sam believes her thoughts are simply between her and her Mommy. All I can reveal is that it’s filled with lots of infinity symbols.
If I can, I will also probably read some really nice words of encouragement we’ve received through this blog– 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 her siblings, will surely warm our hearts when we most need it most now. We also plan to offer Holy Mass and prayers later, and maybe, if we are still up to it, we can also look at old photographs and remember our happiest times with Mariel. There were truly many happy times we’ve shared. They can however never be really enough, because she had so much to give from her endless wellspring of love and caring.
I really wish many more people would have gotten to know her more. But my Mariel came across as very private, to many of you. Actually, she just never wanted to impose on anyone. She was never comfortable being the object of attention. She would rather give instead. She was happiest when she made others happy. And she can afford to give so much because her cup was so full. She is already complete, and wanted nothing for herself.
Well, on the other hand not completely nothing. If there was anything she was a bit selfish of, it was about her daughter Sam (and maybe to some extent, of me) She wanted almost nothing, but to just spend moments with the three of us, cuddling in bed. Maybe she saw it coming. I will never really know. All I know right now is that I will be spending all my days 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. Love you to Alpha Centauri and back.
7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Mariel !”
I’m very sorry to read about your loss.
Birthdays and anniversaries are desperately difficult, but the next one will be easier, I promise.
All best wishes to you and your family from here in London.
There are two greatest days in your life–the day you were born and the day you discovered why.
Happy Birthday, Mariel!
Yesterday, Nov. 6 was the b-day of Mariel, our beloved sister; she would have been 46 years old.
I always like to remember her as a small girl, all peaches and cream with those almond eyes running around our house in Tarlac. She was never afraid of work, she accomplished all of her given chores in week-ends in no time at all and seldom complain. We”re poor, but that didn`t stop her from reaching her star, to be what she was in her career and family life.
I chose her to be the godmother of my youngest, Jinno, so that some how her virtue of perseverance would guide him and it did. He is now in college and I know and pray he will be a professional like his ninang someday.
We are 5 girls in the family and up to Mariel’s last days, our bonding was something, every time we meet we were like school girls with a lot of catching up, “talagang ang daldalnamin ay non stop time was never enough “
I know you are happy up there with mommy and tatay, this is not good-bye but so long, we hope to see our captain when we cross the bar.
Happy birthday my dearest friend. I sorely missed you yesterday. We used to tease each other that we are again a year older, and I would always make “tawad” that you are four months older than I am. We “celebrated” your birthday yesterday (Nov.6) by attending our noontime Mass here at the office. Then at 3pm we had a simple pancit and cake “merienda”. Yesterday was again a trip down memory lane. I shared with them our funny stories…alone. Before, we take turns in sharing our funny experiences together, always ending with tears in our eyes as we laugh at our silly mistakes. Now, I have tears in my eyes as those memories flash one by one. There are so many stories of life-learning experiences that I would like to share, most especially with Sam. As I find time in this busy workplace, I will jot down some notes about you again.
For now, I wish you God’s grace of peace and happiness as He lovingly embraces you. Happy birthday!
(I try to write three to five pages everyday in my morning journal. Yesterday, Mariel’s spirit inspired me to finish eight pages. Chores, however, prevented me from editing my random scribbles to this readable form.)
Today is Mariel’s birthday. Bong should have gotten up early this morning to plant a romantic kiss on his loved one’s lips. But he woke up to an empty bed, nursing an aching heart, tears clouding his waking vision. It would be the forty-ninth day dearest Samantha would be roused from sleep, though not by the one who has been doing it every morning for most of her eight years.
No birthday food is being prepared: no fragrant spaghetti sauce, or the crackling hot oil of frying chicken, or the rhythmic chopping of vegetables greets the senses. The pots and pans hang on their hooks, the antiseptic scent of lemon dishwashing soap hovers in the air.
Sam would likely skip school and Bong, the office. Father and daughter shall bring orchids, lilacs and roses to Heritage Park. Sam will be at her cheerful best: “Happy birthday, Mom!” Bong would try to play along: “Happy birthday, Mommy.” Though his cracking voice would belie his pain, teardrops escape from the corners of his eyes.
My dearest friend has to be strong for Sam. Good thing Bong is strong. Our good friend Albert Borrero says Bong is a “take-charge guy.” When others around him get rattled by work or life demands, count on Bong to be the one to sort things out. He will calmly give the orders: “Kiko, call the supplier… Dong, withdraw from the bank… Teddy, go jump in the lake.” (Bong does have a sense of humor.)
As Mariel was wasting away with every passing moment on the hospital bed, no doubt every pore in Bong’s body was raring to take charge. But this was not the usual workaday crisis that could be solved with a timely call to the client. This required a hotline to God. The drugs were not doing what they were supposed to be doing: cure Mariel. The six or so specialists have tried every solution found in their medical books. And yet, nothing seemed to work—Mariel was getting worse by the day. Then she was gone.
Who was in charge?
Life was. Life IS in charge.
By most accounts, Mariel was close to being a paragon of perfection in the roles she played: wife, mother, homemaker, colleague, sister, auntie, cousin, godmother, you name it. She was selfless, thoughtful, caring, compassionate and loving.
Such is the fate of those who channel Life’s goodness and virtues: they either serve Life on Earth for a long time—or are called sooner for a higher calling. Life is in charge, and Mariel its dedicated and faithful servant. In our humanness, we mourn her departure. Life, however, couldn’t be happier to have someone like Mariel do its miracle work.
Happy birthday to a new Life, Mariel!
To my two scorpion friends, belated happy birthday Mariel and advance happy birthday Bong!
It is definitely now a habit to open Mariel’s garden every time I get a break from work.
I always get the urge to join in but something else always gets in the way. Today, however, I read a beautiful message that I can’t wait to relay to Bong. I know this is nothing new but reading it over and over again will hopefully ease some pain.
“When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate and know that the will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you”.
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