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

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Between Nothingness and Eternity

golden-gate

I shamelessly borrow from song titles these days, like this one from my favorite musician- John McLaughlin- above, because I’m truly at a loss for words to describe my life at the moment. And  this tune comes to mind.

My days are filled with the unrelenting minutiae of everyday life, helping create the illusion of being “busy” (or as if moving forward), when all I  really care and think about is being one day reunited with my Mariel. Of course, I try to live my life for our Sammy now. But no matter how hard I try to pretend that there are still more dreams waiting out there for me. My heart, I guess can only be found in another place. It seems that there’s not much left to keep me inspired in that space between nothingness and eternity.  So till then, I’ll just carry on expertly filling up emptiness with “disconnecting distractions”, keeping myself preoccupied till my hopeful day comes.

I love you Mommy, I miss you so very much.

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.

Life without Mariel

proud-mommy

I started writing this post around Christmas but things have taken some kind of a detour.

I’ve been really trying to understand, how the pain I’ve felt with Mariel’s passing had suddenly given way to a deep feeling of emptiness. I tried to keep busy during the holidays especially as Mariel’s favorite sister Joy was visiting from abroad with her family. But after I started failing to return a number of emails, I knew something was wrong and that my life will never ever be the same again.

I had gone through the motions of trying to be hopeful and positive with the coming of the new year but I can’t seem to get the old feeling back. I had never felt lonelier even in the midst of all the celebrations, except maybe for the precious few times I found some  joy in the warm embrace of my daughter Sam and the kind wishes of encouragement from my dear friends Malyn C., Linda, Rhosie, Shadowlands, Robert, Writinggb and Jan. I had even decided recently, to go on an impromptu business visit to China to see if I can find something there meaningful for me to do. But again it has been largely like the proverbial Groundhog Day.

Of course, I know that most people are bound to say that I must try to let go and start to move on. But living life without Mariel can never be easy. Especially if you only knew what it was like to always have a loving and exceptionally caring person in your corner. Or waking up each day to funny, intelligent conversation. Or simply snuggling in bed on cold, cold mornings and dreaming dreams for our Samantha.

Mariel is so missed. And I’m almost sure that it’s an emptiness that can never be filled. But then, I know too exactly what she wants me to do right now. So I’ll keep trying…

I love you Mommy, now and always.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

sunday-at-heritage

I chanced upon this poem while going through some blogs the other night. It had touched something in me, one that I’ve been struggling with this past year. While I’ve always done my best to truly believe that Mariel is in a far better place now, the “human” part of me still craves for greater certainty and more reassurance. I guess I’ve got my ANSWER now. Maybe Mariel even helped me find this one. So I’d like to share this poem with you today. Perhaps you too can find some answers in it.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep–  by Mary Frye

“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.”

(A truly wonderful poem that has an interesting story relating to its origin that probably deserves a separate post.)

Lovely Flowers For A Lovely Lady

“Dear God, The journey has been long and hard. Thank you for being with me. There is still more to do. Please stay with me… Amen”   — Marta Felber, Finding Your Way

The week ended with the yearly commemoration of All Saints’ Day. To just about everyone in our largely Christian country, November 1 has always been reserved for the remembrance of lost love ones. It usually meant bringing the most beautiful flowers one can possibly get for them. I had white ones for Mariel because she had told me once before that she had specially liked them for these occasions. The special day however had made a few more thoughts cross my mind. For one, it had reminded me ever so viscerally that in a few days, Mariel’s and my birthday shall be coming. I’m still very much saddened by these expected anniversaries and celebrations, simply because Mariel and I had always given them a lot of importance and seriousness . I know nevertheless that I must do my best to see them in a slightly different light now. As I even try to start new ways of keeping the memories alive. It’s easier said than done though when your loved one’s not there to make it worth celebrating. However, I must strive just the same because I know Mariel would’ve bravely breezed through these times.

(Now I guess I should be working on putting up that nice Christmas tree for Mariel soon.)

Through the Looking Glass

This week brought me back to where my journey had began. I tried so hard to avoid going to UST hospital this past year but I just couldn’t get out of this one simply because Sam needed to be admitted to the same hospital after having taken some “bad food” at a party and her pediatrician happens to come from the very place too. And much more, the only available room was on the same floor where Mariel and I had stayed a year ago. It was like diving to the trenches anew. Tough luck or providence? You be the judge.

For a time I was of course more preoccupied with Sam who was going through the lab tests and was running a high fever. But still the images and emotions of the recent past had kept hounding me, taunting me to confront my fears and regrets. It wasn’t long before I had finally found the guts to again walk the long, lonely corridor. To relive the days when time had stood still. To return to the valley of tears.

I must admit however that it was not as bad as I had imagined. In fact, I felt a certain kind of peace with my sadness, as I stood outside the door where Mariel and I had shared seven fateful days not so long ago, believing love will be enough to get us through. At that point, some nurses at the station recognized me and remembered Mariel. (I guess very few people really forget her once they somehow get to know her.) They said they remembered most the whiteness and porcelain-like texture of her skin. I’m not surprised though, because I had always known that Mariel had radiated such simplicity and childlike purity. That’s what most people usually grasp, that was the very feeling I had when I met her for the first time at the Gourmet Cafe. She was glowing and almost translucent. It was like old times again for some fleeting moments. And I neither felt afraid nor burdened because I was sure, Mariel was there holding my hand.

Good night Mommy. ‘ Love you.