It’s a little past 12 am of November 6. Around this time every year I’d wake up Mariel to whisper “Happy Birthday Mommy, I love you”. After a big hug, it was usually back to sleep for her. It’s not that Mariel did not appreciate my greetings on her special day, she just knew that she had to get up early to prepare Sam for school the coming day. As I’ve said many, many times before in the blog, for Mariel, Sam is THE priority. That’s why I love Mariel even more looking back. She seldom called attention to her own needs. She was happiest when she was sharing with others. Her birthdays were normally spent having a simple dinner at home. Many times over Max’s Fried Chicken and Pancit Canton.
That’s why later tonight, it will be her favorite noodles and chicken for us. Plus, we’ve written her short letters as little gifts to her today. I had promised Sam not to publish her message on this blog. Sam believes her thoughts are simply between her and her Mommy. All I can reveal is that it’s filled with lots of infinity symbols.
If I can, I will also probably read some really nice words of encouragement we’ve received through this blog– Mariel’s Garden. Thoughtful comments from Linda Riley (mysteryoriley blog), Grace V, cousin Annie, “Writing Grandma”, Mariel our niece, Joy L, Direk Vincent, Hedy T, Susie B, Claire Espina and her siblings, will surely warm our hearts when we most need it most now. We also plan to offer Holy Mass and prayers later, and maybe, if we are still up to it, we can also look at old photographs and remember our happiest times with Mariel. There were truly many happy times we’ve shared. They can however never be really enough, because she had so much to give from her endless wellspring of love and caring.
I really wish many more people would have gotten to know her more. But my Mariel came across as very private, to many of you. Actually, she just never wanted to impose on anyone. She was never comfortable being the object of attention. She would rather give instead. She was happiest when she made others happy. And she can afford to give so much because her cup was so full. She is already complete, and wanted nothing for herself.
Well, on the other hand not completely nothing. If there was anything she was a bit selfish of, it was about her daughter Sam (and maybe to some extent, of me) She wanted almost nothing, but to just spend moments with the three of us, cuddling in bed. Maybe she saw it coming. I will never really know. All I know right now is that I will be spending all my days in this world trying to make people, and specially our daughter Sam, understand what a truly exceptional person Mariel was. A loving, gentle and very generous person. A person who “found her happiness in the happiness of another”.
Happy Birthday Mommy. We will always love you. You will always be in our hearts. Love you to Alpha Centauri and back.