Forever Young In My Dreams

Dear Mommy,

I had originally called this new post as “The saddest day of my sad, sad life” but your daughter Sam found it too depressing and wont have it. But indeed it was, because I could not imagine being told that morning of Sept 20 that you had passed away. When I had just kissed your feet the night before and I was asked to leave the ICU so you can get some rest. Add to that too, the most painful task of telling your daughter about your passing when she did not even have an idea that you were at all sick. (Just the thought makes me again shiver. I can still hear her anguish)

I kissed you only at your feet that night because I was afraid to give you germs. I’ve always thought germs and you, even just in the same sentence, were completely incompatible. You were after all, always angelic, pristine white and porcelain-like. Remember how I thought you were somewhat “Imeldific” the first time I saw you at Gourmet Cafe? You were glowing in the mid- afternoon blush while I was fidgeting on my chair staring at the Cappuccino. You were so beautiful then and I felt like I had just won the lottery, but I was trying to act cool and nonchalant about it. Remember also that I had told you, before I actually met you, that I sort of looked like Keanu Reeves? (To everyone, that’s a joke that I’ll reserve for another day).

It’s been three year now. But it feels like three weeks or three days or even three minutes to me. Time has not behaved the same way since. I used to find the work week too long because I’d always looked forward to our weekend trips to the mall. You know, discovering that new exotic restaurant or simply browsing at the “tiangge’ with you made me very happy. I liked shopping with you because you always gave in to my “retail therapy”. I was a spoiled little boy, or did you just love me too much? That’s why I miss you so much now. My days look like endless clones and weekends are not much fun anymore. Except maybe when Sam agrees to go out with me on Saturdays. I dread too, the day when she wouldn’t want to hang out with me anymore or have more time for friends. Where will I go then?

But as I’ve told you a lot, I’ll just do my best to keep busy looking after our daughter. I know she needs more space these days, but also I have to assure her that I’d be there for her anytime she needed me. Well mostly today, it’s still about reviewing for her math quiz. I don’t know someday if it’ ll come to talking about “boys”. Then, I wish you were there to hold her hand when that time comes. I’ll just try to wing it at best for now. Perhaps you can help me with some tips?

I miss you Mommy. There are days I imagine how it’ll be when we meet again. I do look forward to that time, but you keep reminding me of  being here for Sam. I’m quite torn, but I know doing it will make you happy, so I submit. I’ve always imagined too that we will eventually grow old together. And hold hands while taking long trips to the beach, when Sam gets to have a family of her own. But alas it will just be another movie script, waiting for a re-run. I will grow old my love all right. But you, my love, will remain forever young, in my dreams. I hope you will not mind though some silver streaks on my hair, when again we meet. I promise to continue where we left off, when we last talked. I love you so much Mommy, there will always be a void in my heart that can be filled only when we are together again.

Watch over your daughter. Pray for me and never forget how much we love you.

Forever yours,

Bong

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Live life and carry on …

I got a note from dear blogger/friend Linda of Mysteryoriley some days ago, which I’d like to share with with you. I hope Linda does not mind, because many of you may have noticed that my last post was almost a year ago and may be wonderin’ where I’ve been all this time.

“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. Love, Linda”

________________________________________________________________________________________

Hi Linda,

Above all, I’d like to thank you again for your loving kindness, your little notes have kept me going especially during the times when the blue funk hits and things just seem to grind to a halt. Yes, you know only too well that the first to go when our loved ones passed on was that linear concept of time. One could get “unstuck in time” as the memories fly and the future do not seem too hopeful to think about. You see, I have never left the “garden”,  as I’m still here almost every single day re-reading the blog and checking on “comments”. It still is my only place for solace. I also pray for you and Owen and our other friends like Robert, Di and Jan and ask that you all are given the strength and peace of mind that you so truly deserve.

I have not written for some time in the blog because I had, at some point, only not- too- happy thoughts to share, and I feel embarassed dragging so many people into my grief and sometimes, whining. I have of course overcome that a bit by resolving to “carry on” (as you would often remind us) for my daughter Sam. You see (in the picture above) that she has grown somewhat since the last time. She is now starting to be her own person and making lots of new friends. I can see so much of my Mariel in her that sometimes I could just smile and heave a sigh. I try to spend more time with her now, like eating out and watching movies and buying her clothes and hanging out at the bookstore because I know she needs me during this confusing teen years. But most of all, I know doing those things with Sam is what will make Mariel really happy. When I’m feeling blue, I just try to do something that I know will please Mariel and that helps to chase the clouds away. I sometimes I even hear her say to me, “live life and enjoy”. I know that day will come but till then, I know there is Sam, who is all that matters to me now. I carry on for her.

Always wishing all the best for you and those you love Linda. I know Owen is with me in wishing you that and more. Take care and see you in the garden tomorrow if you have the time as we remember Mariel’s 3rd year in heaven. She is truly too beautiful to ever be forgotten.

With much love and prayers,

Bong

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.

XOXOXO.

Bong

Lessons on love

Sam's Bday

“You don’t know what love is
Til you’ve learned the meaning of the blues
Until you’ve loved a love you’ve had to lose
You don’t know what love is.”

I was listening to Kevyn Lettau’s version of this tune from her recent “What is Enough” album when it just struck me that I’ve never really learned to love till Mariel came into my life. Love for me before that was a hedonistic quest for fairytale endings, with me mainly as the beneficiary. Of course, Mariel had changed all that.

For she had shown me that love indeed is serving something greater than yourself. It means as I’ve said before, “finding one’s happiness in the happiness of another”. It’s doing good without expecting anything in return. It’s about setting aside one’s ego and also about “being firm” sometimes with those you love, when you’re sure you have only their best interest at heart. It’s about tenderness and unwavering support. It’s about planning to grow old together. Mariel was all these to me (and our daughter Samantha too). And now it’s our turn to share these lessons with others so that they do not have to one day sing songs “about- what- love- is” and have to live through regrets.

We love and miss you Mommy so much. Good Night.

(My thoughts tonight especially for dear friends Linda S, Di and Jan M. Thank you for all your loving kindness)


Letter to Mariel, May 31, 2009

Sam at Lexington Clubhouse

Dear Mommy,

I went to the mall again today, trying to get some of the old ‘excitement ‘ back. But then even in the midst of a great sea of shopaholics, I still find myself so alone. I’m missing those times we would be there trying to hunt for ‘ great bargains’. Yes, you would have loved the Power Plant today, there’s the usual cakes and pastries exhibition and your beloved Marks and Spencer Sale (of course, I’m usually the one happily at the receiving end of this). I even watched a movie- Angels and Demons– alone. It was quite engaging till the end credits when I again realized that I  have much more time on my hands to fritter away this day. I’m really sorry too, especially to my dear friend Jan and ever-caring niece Mariel if I have to sound again to be a bit on the gloomier side. You see, I just can’t help it because I still think a whole lot about you all the time. (But you already know this too well)

It’s been about one year, eight months and ten days since you were called back to the Lord’s garden. And I just feel so lonely today. It’s the way things are, after the kind offers of sympathy, comforting calls and messages had to give way to life’s  more “pressing realities” for many of our dearest loved ones and friends. I know that it’s not that they don’t care anymore. It’s just that like most people, they just have to move on. (Oh, the moving on thing again). Well in my case. I’m pretty sure that I cannot ever if it will mean living my life without you. And I want you to know that you will always be part of  my life, my “reality”.

Because you will always be part of every little birthday party we celebrate for our Sammy. Will always be there when she gets that recognition from school. Will be there too watching all her musical performances. Will be there with me when I buy those new shoes or clothes for her. There  for her own lovely wedding some day.  And surely there every single day when we wake up or go to bed at night, it will always be– “We love you Mommy”. You will ALWAYS be with us.

I love you Mariel. Don’t worry about Sam because she will grow up to be like the wonderful and loving person that  you were/ are (I’ll make sure of that). And I know she misses you too very much. Good night 🙂

With all my love,

Bong

A Bleep In My Heart

Mariel and me in San Francisco

It was on the Ides of March that  I had first “met” the person who had changed my life forever. She was to be my wife, my best friend, cheerleader, soulmate and ultimately, my redemption. For with her passing, she had made me into the infinitely better person I can only before dream as possible. For she had taught me how to really love. To love unconditionally and to find one’s happiness in the service of something greater than one’s self.  (I also believe that she continues to offer her faithful guidance to our only daughter Samantha today.)

To my dear friends who had followed this blog… our story, I wish to again reiterate my eternal gratitude for your having been a part of my journey. I am so thankful for the comfort you had shared with me. It may seem too that I had been away from the garden for sometime now. Trust me when I say that I’m still always there EVERY single day. Only that I have chosen to bear my pain in silence. For Mariel is too beautiful to ever be easily forgotten. And greatly missing her is just something I’m doing my best to try to live with, until our next reunion .

Not long after the fateful day in March I had told Mariel that, “you were once only a bleep on the (computer) screen, now you are a bleep in my heart”. For me, those words and moments shall remain frozen in time till eternity and that she will remain always my one true love.

I love you Mommy, you are not just a bleep now, you are my heart forever.

(Allow me to share this tune from Chick Corea and Return To Forever called “Crystal Silence”, which just like Mariel’s love is both wordless and sublime.)

All Roads Lead Home

“All Roads Lead Home” was a tune written and performed by musician and dear friend Noli Aurillo in his latest “Noli” album/CD. He had asked me to listen it when we met again last year, after having lost touch of each other for like “centuries”. Noli had found out about what had happened to Mariel and consoled me with this song. Perhaps to tell me that Mariel is in a far better place now, or that someday I will have her again in my arms when we meet in our heavenly home. I’m just guessing though because we never really got to talk about it. But then it’s been said that “what is given with the heart should be taken with the heart”, so I will just let the beautiful music speak for itself.

(I’d like to share this inspiring tune with you all tonight, and most especially to my dear blogger friends Robert , Linda and Jan who have always had a special place for music in their own journeys.)

To Noli, thanks again, bro

To my love Mariel, this one’s for you Mommy. I love you so very much.