Monday, November 25, 2013

I Feel Loved! ☻

Never make your home a place.
Make a home for yourself inside your own head.  
You'll find what you need to furnish it -
memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things.
That way, it will go with you wherever you journey.
---- Tad Williams ----

My birthday, April of 2007.

Riverview had been home for us ever since we came to the US, almost fifteen years ago.  We lived in an apartment for that first year before we moved to a rental house, in which we stayed another year before we decided, that for a couple hundred dollars more, we could get a house with the bank's help to make it ours.  We found this little old house with a finished basement and big backyard and I fell in love with it.  After some negotiations and a lot of paperwork, we moved in.  Home! Sweet home!  

Kids playing ball on the driveway.

This house had been home to us for the past twelve years.  But as everything in life experiences change, so does our living arrangement, yet again.  We have traded the comfort and privacy of this house to go back to the simplicity of apartment living.  Now, I have to say goodbye to a house which holds volumes of memories within its walls... the home that has seen so many smiles, tears and laughter... the residence of both peace and chaos... the remembrance of my mommy's last years.  This house was more than just a collection of furniture and wall decor, counter tops and paint colors; this house had been a vessel of emotions and celebrations, our safe haven.  We leave softly and I take all the memories with me and will hold on to them tightly. 

In the kitchen with mommy.

Hello, new home!  
--- Hmmm... strong spice odors welcome me as I enter the building but I know that baby Peepay's smile awaits me when I enter that green door to our suite.  
Baby Peepay, always a delight.

--- It will be Christmas in a month and I have no place in this tight space for the tree.  Well, tree or no tree, Christmas will not skip our home.  And, we welcome Jesus any day of the year. 
No tree this year? :(

--- It has been more than a month since we moved in but I am not yet quite done with putting away our things because the cabinets and cupboards are already full.  But hey, Bong's drive to work is now just a third compared to when we were in Riverview... and when the snow comes, he will just be sitting on the couch watching TV instead of clearing the snow off a big driveway, that is something to look forward to.
Snow day in Riverview, Feb. 2010.

--- Hmmppp!  I need quarters!  But the nice thing about our coin laundry is that, it is just outside our apartment door, no stairs to navigate.  And, our gas bill has been less than half of what we once paid.  Halleluiah!
Outside our Riverview home, still some snow, Easter of 2009.

--- We are on the upper level of the building.  Yup, we have to go back twice, or thrice, down to the car to bring up the groceries.  What hassle!  But I thank God that we always have food to eat and clean water to drink.  What am I complaining about?
Thank you, God, even for the lechon :).

So many memories to treasure... but no matter where we go, we make more memories.  So many blessings to be thankful for... but I know that there is no limit on them, so I will always keep my heart open.  Our new home is a sign that I am loved!  How can I forget?  Everyday, I am reminded.

My daily reminder.  Sign in front of a house across from the entrance to our apartment complex.


Monday, October 28, 2013

I am a Daughter, I am a Niece

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
--- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet ---

 I miss my mommy everyday since she passed away last December.  But even with her gone, I have never stopped being a daughter.   Death ends a life but it does not end a relationship,   Though sometimes, I wonder if  I could have done something different, would she still be here with me? In my prayers, God tells me that there is a reason and a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).  My God knows best and I rely on Him all the time.   

And just as I got used to the idea of my mommy being gone, just when I think it's reconciled and accepted, another loss points it out to me again, and it just hits me all over again.  My dear Tito Danny finally went home to our Creator after his bout with the big "C".  We wanted him to stay yet  we prayed for him to peacefully go and be free of all the pain and suffering.  His fight was not in vain.  He left everyone with a remembrance of gallantry.  He was brave in his battle and I am sure that he left, bringing with him our love, the same love that will keep him alive even after he's gone.

I remember Tito Danny with that smile under his mustache.  People say he looked like Tom Selleck, but for me, he was my fun-loving uncle who was always ready to please everyone.  "Yes" could be his other nickname, but he was fine with just "Danny".  I want to remember him as the uncle who was always proud of me, the one who assured me that I was a good person even when, sometimes, I felt I was not being one.  He used to introduce me as his "brayt pag-umangkon" which embarrassed me, knowing how I got a 3.0 in Calculus or how I repeated my Organic Chemistry.  There, I spilled it!  Not really 'brayt' huh?  Oh well, he will never know now.  

I will miss Tito Danny, but for now, I say, "Farewell, my beloved Tito.   I will forever remain your niece, just as Rhazel, Ethel, Ana Lisa, and Darrel remain your children and Tita Edith your beloved wife, just as Tita Clavel, Tita Dia, Tita Julie and Tita Ophelia remain your sisters, and Tito Dodo and Tito Edgar remain your brothers.  We send with you our love.  And when you see my mommy Fe and my sis Sybil in heaven, please give them a big, big hug for me."

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd."
--- William Shakespeare, Hamlet ---

Twinkle for me tonight!  I love you, my Tito Danny.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Red Tulips

The brown patch of ground just outside my kitchen door, after some time of barrenness from the coldness of winter, has suddenly burst with color.  The red tulips never fail me.  They are the first to announce that Spring has sprung! 

This is the first spring without my Mommy.  These lovely reds would have kept her company while waiting outside for her ride to dialysis.  Even behind the bush, she would have noticed them and admired them.  Just like how she would notice if I had a new haircut or a new pair of shoes, she was always ready with her approval.  Tulips are tough, after being under the harshness of all weather, they show off their vibrant colors come spring.  My Mommy was tough.  She handled all of life's tests very well and came out triumphant.  And during her last few months with us, she was in and out of the hospital but she never complained.  Nothing could break her spirit.

Like my red tulips, my Mommy was such a beauty, inside as much as outside.  She was always with a smile and a kind word to others.  No wonder everyone who ever came to know her, be it for a minute or 10 years, loved her.  She was kind and gentle, and  loving and caring.  I miss my mommy.  I miss her sitting on that cream-colored recliner in the family room watching TV.  I miss her welcoming us home from a hard day at work.  I miss her in the kitchen making dinner even if she was tired from dialysis.  I miss listening to her worry about people other than herself.  I miss her being mad at her taxi service driver for picking her up so late for her dialysis.  I miss her reminding me to fill-up Bong's and my pill cases.  I miss seeing her hug my kids whenever they are around.   I miss her thoughtfulness.  I miss her good humor.  I miss her smile and her quite laughter.  I miss her hugs and her kisses.  I miss my Mommy.  :'(   

Tulips are said to symbolize perfect love.  My red tulips are for my Mommy for she loved me so perfectly.  Sooner or later, I will be a grandma and a mother-in-law and I worry if I will be a good one.  I asked Bong.  He replied, "I know you will be.  You will be just like your Mommy". 

Happy Mother's Day, my beautiful Mommy!  
Mother's Day May, 2012

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Mommy, My Best Pal

Monday, exactly a week before the eve of Christmas, I had the most difficult task of having to tell everybody about Mommy's passing.  Saying goodbye to her for the very last time was even harder and having to witness Daddy let her go was just so heartbreaking.

Was this the Christmas miracle I was hoping for?  Probably.  Not how I envisioned it, but yes, Mommy came out of all her pain and suffering... forever.  In time for Christmas, she went home to see Jesus and I am sure that Jesus is very pleased with her.  She fought a good fight and and left us with so much treasure... not money, but education; not gold, but the best of life's lessons.

Mommy was not a hard person to please, neither did she have a hard time pleasing others.  Everyone loved her.  Everyone is going to miss her. 

I will miss her but I will remember her...
... Every time I take care of family, for she taught me how
... Every time I need to help others, for she was my best example
... Every opportunity to be kind and generous, for she gave me this heart
... Every time I am called to be modest and respectful, for humility was her best virtue that I hope she passes on to me
... Every time I have to fight for love, for she showed me never to hold back on it
... Every time I see my children and all the other grandchildren, for they were her life.

I will miss her but I will never forget!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Christmas Miracle

Waiting... Seated comfortably on a couch with my legs stretched out to the unoccupied end, I was letting time pass by playing with my iPhone,  My dad, on a separate couch next to where I was, eyes closed, was probably trying to get some sleep to disregard the anxiety that comes with waiting.  One by one, each family was summoned to the front desk until the waiting room was almost empty, except for one family and us.  Finally, our wait was over,  The lady nurse in light blue scrubs told us that the surgery was done and we can now see her.  Room 114B of the Henry Ford Hospital in downtown Detroit, there lay my mom. She was looking so much better without that NG tube sticking out of her nose.  Hope springs!  With the PEG tube now in place, she can be fed better.

Diagnosed with a condition called Achalasia, for months now, she has been feeding very poorly.  As a result, she lost a lot of weight and much of her strength.  After a couple of weeks in the hospital and a battery of tests/examinations, Achalasia turned out to be something more serious.  A cancerous mass growing outside of the LES was pushing it shut, hence, the rejection of food.  With the PEG, we have high hopes -- that she will now be fed better, regain her strength and be ready for the next step, fight the cancer by radiation therapy.  Now, we wait.... again.

But isn't Advent all about the waiting?  Much like the three wise men, waiting patiently for their journey to end, alas! found their Miracle in a manger... or the shepherds, humbly awaiting the good news, were led to their Miracle... or Mary and Joseph, obediently waiting, and the Miracle happened to them.  The Christmas Miracle!

I believe in the miracle of Christmas.  A clear picture in my mind of my mom getting out of this difficulty with a big smile on her face, this is the Christmas miracle I am claiming.

I will be patient.  I will be humble.  I will be obedient.  I wait.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Life As I Know It

There are three persons inside me. These are them: 
(Awesome illustrations by my awesome daughter, JAS)
1 - Casilda, a.k.a., Dang, Mommy Dang, Ate Dang, 'Nang Dang, Sis Dang, Danggit, etc. She is wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. She talks a lot, laughs a lot, cries a lot. She always wants to do the nicest things... she tries, although sometimes in vain.

She can cook... that might be what everyone thinks... but if she gets in a pickle, ready made food can taste just as good. She is patient, always trying and trying, until... yey, success!... well, not all the time, and she can get really frustrated and angry when things don't go as she would want them to... but, oh well, nobody's perfect!

She is the one to call when you need a little advice on how to sew, embroider, cook, craft, or whatever else... she might not have all the answers but a little chit-chat with her can be fun. She's not rich but she'd be happy to share with those in need.  She is what everyone expects her to be.

2 - Super "C". She is what everyone expects her to be...  and MORE.

She can definitely sing and dance at the same time.... that is, in her own private time and place. She is a multi-tasking, confidently calm, do-it-all, she-can-do-it, she'll-find-a-way, go-get-her, she-knows-what-to-do, she's-here-and-there-all-at-once, never-tired type of a gal.

Though, sometimes she needs help with something she needs from the upper shelf of the cupboard. This is because, it's really no big secret, she has yet to learn how to fly. She asks people to wait and be patient because, it's really no big deal, first things first, then on to the next.

She can remove any type of stain from any type of clothing... or can she really?  She can do laundry while she's cooking the perfect dinner and do a little embroidery on the side... how hard can that be?!  Whew! that is quite a task in one normal day.

3 - Casilly-dilly. She is a little girl who loves to have fun. Being silly and disorganized is her specialty.

She can be very forgetful that she cannot even remember being angry with anyone. She is afraid of being alone in the dark and much more, of scary movies.

She gets a little cut here, a little bruise there from being so sloppy with doing things... but there's nothing that a band-aid and a little XOXO can't fix.

Beautiful things in display windows at the mall make her eyes twinkle... ahhh, dreaming makes them hers.

She doesn't like making her bed or cleaning the house... but that's what mommy Dang wants. Sad movies make her cry... even sad songs make her cry. She can't help being sluggish sometimes, she just wants to curl up on the couch and watch TV. She does not care about everything that's happening around her, she's just so happy and thankful that she is being loved.

Super "C" and Casilly-dilly do not get along well, while Casilda just sits back and watch this conflict. But in the end, they have got to somehow be in agreement with each other, otherwise, you know where to find me.

This is my crazy existence, I call LIFE. What is yours like?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Golden Boy!

Half a century!  Bong celebrated his 50th birthday a year ago today.   We were in the Philippines for Thaad's graduation and this is how he spent his birthday...

 Waiting for his guests, the less-fortunate kids of Nonoc.

 Please fall in line....

Packed Spaghetti lunch for each kid.

 A little sometin'-somethin' for each one.

 Bong's little buddies, helping with the drinks.

 KB Kaye, in-charge of the guest list.
 Psssttt.... focus on the guests, not on the camera.

 ... more guests,  will there be enough?

 No child left behind... everyone gets a present from Tito Bong.

 Even the little helpers had fun!

 Not even the rain could stop the party.

 JK and Jojo, errand boys.

 Hungry helpers did not mind left-overs.

That was a milestone marked with a lot fun... and love.  Today, he celebrates another birthday.  I thank God everyday for the gift of his life.  Happy Birthday to the man who makes my life special... Happy Birthday, my darling, Bong!