Light from the Darkness

Mariel and Sam in Baguio

Bong’s Note: It’s 8 years since. Feels like only 8 weeks, or even 8 seconds sometimes. It will never be the same again but I’d like to believe that some light can be drawn from all the darkness. Thus, I share this short piece from Sam which she had written for the required ‘personal statement’ in her College application. Yes, she’ll be going to college next year, but she will always be our baby. We love you Mommy forever, more than any blog can imagine.

How Darkness Can Bring Light
(An Essay by Samantha Bianca F. Bello, August 2015)

“In the early morning of September 20, 2007, I received the most devastating news of my life – one that probably changed me permanently, and defined what I am today.

My dad woke me up to tell me that my mom had just died. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. Ten days earlier, she was just fine – the healthy, loving, and doting person she always was. She had been stricken by a rare and cruel sickness called Interstitial Lung Disease. This was a kind of autoimmune disorder that was impossible to predict and didn’t seem to have any cure. I didn’t know this at the time. All I knew is that she had some kind of flu, and that we’d be going home soon. However, I was horribly wrong.

Just like that, the light of our home had been extinguished. It wasn’t easy dealing with this. In fact, the days that followed all seemed to be a blur. There was a kind of void created in our lives that can never be replaced ever again.

The first thing I learned from it all was the value of the acceptance of God’s perfect plan. We may not know why things happen the way they happen, but we have to trust in Him anyway. No matter how bad things get, He cares for us through people and circumstances that come into our lives.

I also learned humility. In the days that followed, I was cared for by my grandmother and my aunt while my dad was grieving. I learned to receive help from other people with gratitude. Through this, I learned we cannot do everything ourselves, and we must realize our human limitations. No matter how self-sufficient you think you are, there will always come a time that you will have to rely on your neighbor to get you through.

I’ve always thought that my mom would be around forever. I thought that she would be there to provide for my every need. However, things had to change. I had to understand that I had to do certain things on my own. I was proud of myself for receiving academic honors, but I was so sure this would come to an end because my mom was no longer there with me by my side. Somehow, I was able to keep my class standing through hard work, persistence and the belief that my mom would be proud of what I’ve done on my own. I actually did it for her.

Then, there is courage – the strength to carry on even when we are unsure that success is guaranteed. I have learned that nothing comes to you easily. There will be challenges, but these challenges can be overcome through a strong faith in God and hope that there is something better for us if only we push ahead. There was a time when I was frightened to go back to school, and I constantly wanted to go home and avoid activities that normally reminded me of my former life. However, I was able to conquer this by focusing on each day as it came, and it’s been 8 years since that fateful day.

I learned to value family, friends, and the time we spend with them. Some things are temporary, so I find time to hug my dad every day and thank him for the love and care he’s shown me every step of the way. I also learned to say thank you to my cousin, Trisha, who has learned to be more understanding of my teenage ups-and-downs. I cherish my friends, and the time we spend together watching movies, laughing at almost nothing, and telling stories about each other. I love them all.

I am an only child. I had never been good at sharing – until one day, I realized how much I had received in my relatively young, but eventful life. I consider myself lucky for having so many blessings that when the time came to organize something for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, I felt free to give away some of the precious little things I’ve collected over the years. I know this is a small step, but I promise myself to give more and more whenever I can.

I have so much more to realize in life, but if there is one thing I really believe from all I’ve gone through, it’s living life for a purpose. I used to think I was so unlucky, but then I now see that all the unfortunate circumstances I’ve been through were meant to prepare me for something bigger than myself.

I am not completely sure about why God had decided to take my mom away at my young age, but I’m pretty sure that all the challenges that came after that gave me the strength to pursue my dreams and to discover my real purpose in life – which is to make God and my mom proud.”

2 thoughts on “Light from the Darkness

  1. Annie Vicente

    So proud of you Sam! Your Mom will always be beside you, guiding you and keeping you safe. And we are always here for you. God bless you and your Dad.

  2. Dear Sam,

    I learned of you, your dad, and your precious mom after my son died and I began writing at mysteryoriley. The Internet is an amazing communication tool that can bring the whole world together in good times and bad.

    I am so grateful for your dad’s blog posts in the early days after your mom passed. I am now so gratified to see your words from last year on

    Your dad is an outstanding human being, for bringing your family’s story to the world. Love like you have experienced and still do to this day is a beautiful testimony to family relationships.

    I wish you every success in life, Sam. You are richer in life through your survival of the unbelievable pain of loss than you might have imagined before your beautiful Mommy died. She would be so proud of you and your dad. I love seeing all of your family photos on this site.

    My mom passed away at a much older age than your mom, and I still miss her every day. She was one of my best friends, had a caustic sense of humor that brought such joy to my life, and was only interested in doing whatever she could to show me her love. I know this is true of your Mommy, too.

    Love to you and Bong,

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