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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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.

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.

Thank You Mommy!

mariel-at-the-park

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my… mother” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Coming home from school, I asked Sam about the little box in her school bag that had this wonderful Lincoln quote (it was a gift from her grandma). I also wanted to know if she still often thinks about her mom. She just simply nodded, probably thinking it was a rather silly question. I guess I just wanted again to find another excuse to talk about Mariel. (I’ve often felt a bit embarrassed finding myself unintentionally “appending” my beloved into many casual conversations. Friends I think do their best however to “accommodate” this habit). That was when I asked Sam further about what she thought she had “owed’ her mommy with regard to being who she was. I kidded her that I was quite sure that she had “inherited” the healthy appetite from me. She then went on to enumerate the following, as best as a young ten-year old can. ”

“Thank you mommy for”:

– “my good grades” (she believes it’s her mom and rightfully so, who had instilled in her the discipline to take school work seriously and consequently excel in it. Sam works hard at it and I see Mariel’s passion for perfection in our little Sammy too)

– “my nice skin” (Mariel did have that unbelievably flawless complexion. Fortunately too Sam got her’s and not mine)

– “my nice clothes” (I think Sam meant mommy’s fine taste in clothes. Mariel had always been a smart dresser and channeled this passion in getting Sam clothes and accessories almost weekly)

– “our nice house” (Mariel loved to make our home comfortable and beautiful. She was always taking care to decorate it specially during Christmas. I guess I just have to do my best to continue where she had left off)

Our only daughter, in time, I know will come to realize that there are so much more to be appreciated about her mommy  (specially with her mom’s complete love and devotion to her). I have come to recognize more and more each day, that Sam is indeed becoming to be all the best things her mommy was.

I still miss Mariel as much as the day when she had left us for God’s garden. But it eases the pain somewhat each time I get to be with Sam. Because she is truly Mariel’s greatest gift to me, having given the best part of herself through our beloved daughter.

We thank you Mommy for your life of love. We love you!

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.