I never heard Mariel laugh so heartily, except on the day when I had told her at the UST hospital that I have decided to make her quit her job at the Bangko Sentral, so that she can finally pursue her passion for flowers. I said that she can have her flower shop and maybe her little garden too as soon as she gets well. We were at the hospital because Mariel had just been diagnosed with interstitial lung issues brought about by an undifferentiated connective tissue disease a few weeks back.
Was Mariel’s exuberance out of a sense of relief that she can at last follow her dream career? Or was it simply because she knew that perhaps I was just idly boasting? For she can plainly see that at that moment, I had neither the resources nor the know-how to make her dream come true. And I think it’s probably more of the latter. But I guess I will never really know for certain, because Mariel had passed away four days later on Sept. 20, 2007. She however left me with the only joy of her life and life-long vocation, our talented and lovely daughter Samantha.
Some people would say that no one can live forever. But I know that wonderful memories left behind by someone so special as Mariel, seen through the many stories of people whose lives she had touched, shall always remain with us all.
Mariel’s Garden is the place for this. A place to share or to receive. A place to grieve, because Mariel’s life was much too short for what she can give. To heal, as it could eventually lead to our acceptance of God’s perfect plan for her and us. In Mariel’s Garden, one may find some comfort in celebrating a life that really knew how to love. One which explains”finding one’s happiness in the happiness of another.”
I lost a partner, a teacher, my best friend and exceptionally loving mother to our 9- year old daughter to a strange and cruel illness. But I want the world to know that while Mariel had left us for a far better place, her spirit of giving lives on through her words, deeds and the countless individuals touched by her unwavering spirit of generosity.
Mariel’s zest for life and love of flowers continue to live through this garden. A promise made, a promise kept. For Mariel is just too well- loved to ever, ever be forgotten.