Mariel, My One and Only Love

Getting together for Mariel

“All days are nights to see till I see thee, And nights bright days when dreams do show thee to me” -William Shakespeare, Sonnet XLIII

Dear Mommy,

It’s your 2nd Birthday in Heaven. And I did my best to make today’s celebration of your life  complement your simplicity, love and spirit of giving.

I still miss you every single day. I also still have this gaping hole in my life that may never be filled. After all, you’ve very much made up for my many shortcomings and that void may have to wait till we meet again. I’ve often wondered too how an extraordinarily beautiful person like you can fall in love with someone so “ordinary” like me. Was it the cologne? (he he he). You once hinted that you loved “smelling” me. I guess I never really asked because I’ve always assumed we will be growing old together. And that there will be much time for those conversations. But alas it was not meant to be.  You however will remain forever young and beautiful in my memories, as I must admit that I look kinda “older” in the picture above. The last two years have not been very kind to me. That is why I have not really been putting out blogs of late. Because my thoughts have been mostly morbid and negative even while I’m in your “garden” every day. In fact, our dear friend Jan had caught that mood one time. So I waited a while for all the usual pangs of regrets to give way to some feeling of hopefulness.

I now see that hope being served with my developing a closer relationship with our beloved only daughter Sam. She needs you most during these days of emotional roller coasters as she slides into adolescence. And you know very well empathy has not been my best suit. But I’ll do all I can to learn newer ways of communicating with her because I know it can please you. Also, she needs me most now because her “ordinary” dad is all she has got in this world. I promise you though that I will make you someday prouder of me by nurturing our daughter to be like the extraordinary loving person that you were.

By the way, as I earlier talked about your spirit of giving. I had made sure today to get together your siblings here in the country for your little day of remembrance. I know it makes you specially happy that they are all in touch and supporting each other. I must carry on for you. So Ate Marge, Ate Gertie. Kuya Billy, Jay and Chinkie were there with their families. From across the miles, Kuya Sonny, Annie, Zave, Jenny,  lovely friends Joy L, Grace V. and Ivy A. send their best wishes and prayers. Did you also like that Sam and I wore your favorite purple color today? And that she sang one of your favorite songs.  It’s your day so I was hope  you enjoyed it especially well.

I’d like to end for now with a short video collage of our blessed days together and maybe address the usual well-meaning-but-nagging question, could there be another person in my life ahead? I guess the tune quite simply says it all, “My One and Only Love”.

Good night Mommy. We love you always.



12 thoughts on “Mariel, My One and Only Love

  1. Dearest Bong,

    There is nothing ordinary about you. You have coped with the impossible, dealt with the pain and difficulties that followed, coped with the loss of your beloved wife whilst at the same time being an exceptional and wonderful dad. During all this time you have also kept the memory of Mariel alive and unfalteringly declared your love. You are NOT ordinary ~ you are wonderful. Mariel must be so proud of you, and Sam. Neve doubt yourself. I am quite sure that Mariel sensed these qualities in you right from the start ~ and she was right too.

    How grown up Sam is looking too. Quite the beautiful young lady. Give her my love and best wishes ~ she must miss her mom a lot.

    I love the video memories ~ the wedding day pics are really special.

    A brief poem for today:

    “Those we love remain with us
    In the whisper of the wind
    In a soft rain that falls from Heaven
    In each sunrise
    In every single star that lights the night sky
    In every single memory we hold with our hearts”

    By Mary Chandler Huff

    very best wishes and namaste,

    Love Jan xx

    1. Thank you very much Jan for your kind words. Please come back to the garden from time to time as there are still some more I’d like to share about my beloved Mariel and my journey. And I guess it’s best to just face life one day at a time, inspired by my wife’s love and fidelity to duty. I can do no less.

      I wish you all the best and pray for God’s blessings for you and the family always.

      Warmest regards,


  2. Well done on getting through this second anniversary, Bong.

    Time falls desperately hard sometimes, but another year is real progress behind you all the same. Spirits up, and best wishes from London.

  3. Hi there, Bong,

    It has been a while since I wrote, but you are never far from my heart, from my mind. I think of you and Sam often, and I know that your sweet Mariel is with the two of you always.

    We are indeed, better, stronger, more human for our grieving – we would not have wished this to be the case, but it is. The dark days will continue to come, the dark moments visit us daily, yet we wake to the new sun with the hope of finding more hope. With Sam as your guide, I know you greet each day with gladness. She is a precious reminder that you are not ordinary, and that the love you and Mariel share is everlasting. Lucky you, my dear friend, Bong.

    Sending you the biggest, most heart-felt hugs,

    1. Dear Linda,

      I also truly think about you and Owen too. I go to your blog and stare helplessly at the “What happened to Owen?” topic. And I feel a gigantic lump in my throat each time

      And you’re right to say too that “dark days will continue to come”, they have and I just somehow trick my brain into thinking Mariel is just somewhere near. As I know she is because she still guides me all the time.

      I know that our lives have been changed forever and but I know too that somewhere there will be a happy ending OR beginning. Take care my dear friend, remember that we are praying for you always.

      Warmest regards,

      Bong& Sam

  4. Dearest Bong and Sam,

    You haven’t posted for a while but I haven’t forgotten you ~ you are both often in my thoughts. So I’ve popped over to the garden to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas, and a wonderful new year.
    I know that you will be missing Mariel more than ever at this time of year ~ but I also know she will be close and smiling on you. I hope the hapy memories of Christmas past can sustain you both.

    Blessings always from Jan xx

    1. Dearest Jan,

      You have held our hands thru our journey. We have some ways to go and we know you’ll be there for us even as we oftentimes stumble.
      Bless you and your loved ones and we wish you too all the happiness in the year ahead.

      With all our love and gratitude,

      Bong and Sam

  5. friend

    I too have Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease and am just getting over Interstitial Lung Disease caused by it. 16 months ago after every medicine they knew of, the doctors told me if it got any worse than it already was that I would not be able to fight it and gave me a year left. I am a wife and mother just as your Mariel was. I have young children and the thought of leaving them and my husband was unbearable. It was truly a miracle that it began to lift. My lungs started to heal themselves little by little. I still take heavy medications each day and a chemo drug weekly but my lungs are so much better now and are healing. I wasn’t nearly as ill as Mariel and I am so grateful and blessed to still be here. I am so sad for your loss, and feel your pain with how little known this disease is and how even doctors seem so unaware of how to treat it. My specialist even said that it is always a hit and miss, you never know who is going to benefit from the treatment and who won’t. I don’t know why I lived and she didn’t, I know it can come back any time and may still take my life but for each minute I still have I am thankful. Your story about Mariel helped me to remember to be always grateful each and every day. Thank you and may God bless you and your family.

    1. Dear Friend,

      I’m truly glad you are much better now and on your way to recovery. I’m sure God has a perfect plan for you despite how things may seem now. In my case, my heart had been opened to understand so many things I had neglected before Mariel’s sickness and passing, like her courageous and loving role in our family and our daughter’s need to relate to me more deeply. I have since “learned my lessons” and I am hoping to become a better person. Maybe this indeed can be Mariel’s final legacy.

      I pray that you will be even better in the days to come. You family is counting on it far more than you can imagine. Take it from me, I still miss Mariel every time I seem to have misplaced my toothbrush. All the best to you and please drop us a note at Mariel’s garden from time to time as your battles are also our own.



  6. Hi Bong,
    Has it really been a year since you posted here? I was hoping to see how you’re doing these days. By the date of this last post, I’m hopeful you’re doing well, and that you and Sam are well into your new lives, though never the same in the absence of your dear Mariel. Please take care of yourselves.

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