Letter to Mariel, August 28, 2008

Dear Mommy,

These past few days have been particularly tough. I’ve been really missing you a lot. I don’t know if its the anticipation of your coming “anniversary” next month that has been weighing down on me or just the relatively bleak weather this week. But I’ve really been thinking about you so much (and crying more than usual). Mostly it’s about feeling sorry about how the world has been robbed of your beauty and kindness by that cruel sickness. And also about being caught unawares by it all.  Yes I know I’ve been through this internal conversation many, many times these past months. But still, I cannot get over the fact that I’m here, and you’re… there. It was never like anything I had planned or imagined for us. I’m sure you’ll ask me to PRAY more right now. I think I really need to do that. And that’s why I guess you’re the real angel and I’m not. (Ok, let’s just say, I’m still a “work in progress”). I’ll maybe just need to hold on to all the wonderful memories we had shared.

By the way, I tucked Sam in bed the other night and I just can’t help but realize how much she has started to look like you. I mean many people say she is little Bong (or “Bang” as Lola Mommy would often call her). But to me, she is absolutely little Mariel. (and fortunately too, she has your nice skin). And she is really growing up so fast. Her “Ninang” Alma tells me she had to get her new size 8 shoes. I know the big feet came from me and her big “brain” from you. But I’ve now come to realize even more from where she got the big “heart” from. Because she never has anything nasty to say about anyone, much like you.

Lately, Sam has been into the music of young performers like the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato. (Yes I had to catch up on these stuff and watch with her those music videos on youtube so we can have something to talk about. I’d do anything for her, remember?). She has been doing well in school and I’ve been working too on making her more “independent”. Being able to think for herself and make decisions guided by the values you’ve brought her up with. I know I wont always be around so I’ll just have to equip her for life. She will always be our baby, our “Sammy”.

I promise not to revisit right now our travails at the hospital around this time last year. The memories are still way too painful to recollect. It still breaks my heart every time. Although I will someday try to visit those who had helped comfort us then at UST, like Dr. Lanee, and the others. If only to say thank you for their care and kindness. They did their best but God had other plans. I know He knows what was best for you most especially. I’m sure He loved you very much. So that while I still cannot fully comprehend what had happened, I will just try to humbly accept things. And pray that He will also grant me the chance to be with you again one day. I look forward to that time as the night longs for the first light of dawn. For only you can make me whole again .

I know you hear me now, Mommy. And though I was never good at telling you about these things then. I just like to tell you again that I love you so very, very much, just in case you still don’t know. I cannot find anyone else like you ever to complete me. So I guess you’re kind of stuck with me whether you like or not.

Please wait for me. I love you.

Eternally,

Bong

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I Still Can’t Say Good-bye

It’s often said that “Time heals all wounds”. But I can tell you now that after almost a year, I ‘m still nowhere near the so-called “moving on” thing. I guess I’m just not ready to say good-bye yet. Maybe I never will. For Mariel is very much a part of my life today as she has always been. In fact, there is nothing I do now where I don’t find time to try to “share” with her. She is even there when I go through my moments of musings and daydreams.

One of our many “dreams” was to someday see the famous castles of Europe. To walk along the storybook land of princes and princesses. “To gaze awhile among the fields of barley”. I’ve often imagined myself as some knight out to save my “damsel in distress”. And because Mariel and I are incurable romantics, tonight I offer her this song from Sting and Eva Cassidy– Fields of Gold. To tell her that one day she will have her wish. That I promise that we will then, forever walk “among those fields of gold”.

I miss you Mommy and I love you so much.

We Miss You Mommy

Sam as Hannah Montana
Sam as Hannah Montana

Dear Mommy,

I can’t believe that it’s almost 11 months since you left for God’s garden. I still miss you so much every day. In fact, many times I even half-expect that you’d be there when I get home from the office. And when those “tough days” come too, I wish so much that you’d still be there to listen to my lamentations. I miss having you tell me to take things in stride, with matching hugs and “Daddyyyy” trailing in the most pleasing “decrescendo” tones. Now I am lost in limbo hoping to wake up from some bad dream. But I know only too well that this is for real. And that my life will never be the same again. Or whole again.

Yesterday I had to accompany Sam to Joanna’s 7th Birthday party. I miss your having to dress her up for the “Rockstar” party theme part (Of course Alma and Mama made sure she got her costume). I miss your being there for her for the “Bring Me” game (you and Sammy always won). I miss that big smile from you when Sam had performed that short dance number with her cousins. I miss your coming out in your usual “best-dressed” style. I miss your being with me in “entertaining” the guests. You always knew how to be gracious and make good conversation. Now I just try to sit in a corner and pretend to take photographs. I miss coming home with you after a long day and just watching TV and snuggling on the bed. I miss your “reminding’ me to get up for Sunday mass or service. You know I miss just everything about you.

And I look at our daughter Sam today and I miss you even more. Because she is growing up to be like the fine and beautiful lady that you were/ are. I will miss you still eleven months or eleven years or eleven centuries from now. And I love you still so very much… We miss you Mommy.

With all my love,

Bong

Back To The Garden

They say that it’s time to go home when you start to look like your passport photo. I think I might have actually outdone myself. For the past three weeks have not only taken me away from my beloved “garden” but had literally robbed me of all energy to write even a couple of lines. Singapore moves at such a frenetic pace that it allows almost no room for introspection. The city is totally about commerce and completing that ever-present “to-do” list. I’m sure Mariel would have fared better because she was always organized and was unfazed with those corporate skirmishes. I however feel that I may be getting a bit too old for these “games”. And as some would say, “I’d rather go fishing”.

Being away however has made me again review my priorities. Why do I even have to sit staring at my computer in another nameless hotel room toiling on that to-do list. And more than ever, I had come to realize that it is simply all about my Sam. She is after all Mariel’s “life’s work” that I must today dutifully continue. She is all the best things her mother was. She is my life and my only hope. And I now must make sure she gets the best chance at life.

So while I’d really prefer to be somewhere else “fishing”, part of it now is just invariably working on that “list” and of course being away sometimes for Sam. At least I’m sure Mariel is never really far behind.

Good night, Mommy. I’m home.