No Other Love #MondayMemoirs

#MondayMemoirs…

The whole weekend, even the week before, I kept thinking what best to share. I could not decide, and the WiFi was acting up, and there were lots of drama with the kids. Sunday went by without me posting anything.

This Monday is especially relevant to me — it’s my mother’s birthday. Yesterday, as I was to go back to our house, a beautiful butterfly flew around me. Here, many believe that departed loved ones make their presence known by presenting themselves as butterflies. People, especially non-Filipinos, will think it’s just coincidence I saw that butterfly. I would like to believe no. This sort of thing has been happening on the right occasions. I told her aloud, “No, I didn’t forget you.”

In the evening, I lit a candle. Normally, it would be gone after almost an hour. More than an hour passed, I incidentally turned to where the altar was and the candle was still burning, hardly got shorter. Almost two hours, almost three hours…I finally forgot to check, then I remembered and saw it was almost gone.

I’d like to think it was her letting me know she’s there still loving me, supporting me…

I never forget. And so I’m going back to this post to pay tribute to my beloved mother…

Mahal kita, Mame.

The End Justifies the Journey

September 18  was supposedly my mother’s birthday. Well, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO), that is, which we found erroneous because how could she teach for more than 30 years, how could she start at all, if she claimed to being born on July 18 and her birth certificate then said otherwise (of course it said July 18!)? And she just found out after retirement?…One of those government glitches, for sure. In fact, they gave her another name that I teased her with every time it was July or September 18. “Hey, Teresa, isn’t it your birthday?” She was never a Teresa.

She was a Luningning, meaning brilliance. She was brilliant. Longing to prove herself, she persevered in school and got rewarded with high grades. Finding herself struggling with Math, she faced the challenge and proved her mettle, ironically thrusting herself later in the field of Math education. It was…

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No Other Love

September 18  was supposedly my mother’s birthday. Well, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO), that is, which we found erroneous because how could she teach for more than 30 years, how could she start at all, if she claimed to being born on July 18 and her birth certificate then said otherwise (of course it said July 18!)? And she just found out after retirement?…One of those government glitches, for sure. In fact, they gave her another name that I teased her with every time it was July or September 18. “Hey, Teresa, isn’t it your birthday?” She was never a Teresa.

She was a Luningning, meaning brilliance. She was brilliant. Longing to prove herself, she persevered in school and got rewarded with high grades. Finding herself struggling with Math, she faced the challenge and proved her mettle, ironically thrusting herself later in the field of Math education. It was a feat neither my sister nor I could ever emulate when Geometry and Trigonometry seemed all too-Greek to us, and they still do.

Not only was she brilliant academics-wise, but she was a radiant light put on this earth. If only I knew much earlier how much light she had shared to those who needed it. You never really know how much impact you have on others and, sadly, those you’ve shown your brightest become too blind to appreciate it while it is there. I am sorry I was not able to show my appreciation until it was too late.

Before she passed away, that was when I realized just how much impact she made on others, and how much impact a teacher could/can have on her students if she only did/does her work with a sincere heart and dedication. How I got the much-needed financial help for her medical and hospital expenses in her last two to three months is another story worth another post. But I can tell you it was an outpouring of love, even though she was not anymore aware of the things around her.

Having taught for more than 30 years, my mother built many friendships with fellow staff and teachers, and especially with her students. I threw away pride and sent messages to a few of her old friends, asking for financial help, and that led to communicating with more of them. To make the long story short, their contributions, as said, paid for medical bills and, eventually, for the funeral expenses. In fact, I was even able to pay for the balance we still owed another funeral home, the one we got when my father passed away two months prior.

You should have seen her wake. Visitors kept pouring in to give their last respect and my heart swelled with pride, hearing many of them speak of her fondly, about how she inspired them or helped them or even changed their lives in some way. She was a favorite. When the day of the funeral came, some called it a “blockbuster” for it was one of those where many people attended.

Because I am starting to tear up, let me stop here and share my parents’ theme song, No Other Love. I never knew this song until I asked her sisters. I was glad I had the chance to sing it with her and make her happy even for a little while.

Mame, please wait for me, I promise to sing this with you and Dade when we meet again.

  MAME, PARA SA IYO. MAHAL KITA. ALAM KO ALAM MO NA NGAYON

For YOU Who Were Most Special

It’s the love month and I decided to write about stuff that I love or has to do with love for the whole month. So I had an idea and was looking for an audio from my computer archive. For some reason, it wasn’t working the way it used to. I also came to this page because I was going to check how I was able to post videos before. Then I realized that this should be my first post in relation to Valentine’s. I had decided on a theme last week: love in various forms. Now I realize this is exactly the correct way to start.

It’s a reblog, but I still want to pay tribute to my parents who loved me and my sister. I still cannot believe that it’s almost two years. I still remember them like they’re in front of me. But I am happy in the sense that they do not anymore have to suffer and that, even through the hardships we are facing in this world, they are guiding us. Maybe some people who know them and would be able to read this would just mock this tribute, but we cannot do anything about that. We cannot change people. We can only change ourselves…

To Mame and Dade, Happy Valentine’s!!!

We love you!!!!

The End Justifies the Journey

It would have been a given if I wrote about them already. As a writer, it would have been natural, normal, and expected that as a form of tribute, I shared my feelings or thoughts then, maybe my feelings or thoughts now, or maybe talked about how they had been as parents. That had been my intention for weeks, trying to find the right way, the right words so that I could give them the best tribute I could.

But very honestly, losing my parents recently — one followed the other after only a span of two months — writing such a great tribute would be something of a feat for me as of the moment. Not because they don’t deserve it but because I might never finish writing with the tears clouding my eyes. Grief does that to people. Yes, I know the Five Stages of Grief, and yes…

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For YOU Who Were Most Special

It would have been a given if I wrote about them already. As a writer, it would have been natural, normal, and expected that as a form of tribute, I shared my feelings or thoughts then, maybe my feelings or thoughts now, or maybe talked about how they had been as parents. That had been my intention for weeks, trying to find the right way, the right words so that I could give them the best tribute I could.

But very honestly, losing my parents recently — one followed the other after only a span of two months — writing such a great tribute would be something of a feat for me as of the moment. Not because they don’t deserve it but because I might never finish writing with the tears clouding my eyes. Grief does that to people. Yes, I know the Five Stages of Grief, and yes, I did more research on them, and yes, regardless of the surprisingly strong person I seemed to friends, it still does hurt me till now. I’ve asked once when people’s  feelings of grief go away and others who have been there provided the answer: THEY DON’T, NOT REALLY. But what we do is move on. Not really forget, just move on. In a way, to not forget also offers some kind of relief. Loved ones are too special to forget.

Going back to writing, I think I have found the best way to pay tribute to these two noble teachers with this short piece I wrote years ago. It is funny in a sad way that most often, we only learn to appreciate, understand and get to know our loved ones more when they are gone…

WE LOVE YOU, MAME AND DADE

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The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder –

a waif, a nothing, a no man.”

(Thomas Carlyle)

            Many of us go through life wading in the water, creating only the smallest of ripples, afraid to go even farther and deeper lest we drown. We are so much afraid of taking risks only to find ourselves failing. Therefore, we are contented just being safe – too safe – that we do not leave our comfort zones to find and explore what it is that God has laid out for us. We are men without direction, without purpose, without living. We simply exist.

            Fortunately, there are still a few good men (and women) among us who dare to defy the norm. More fortunately, there are those who dare to do more than defy the norm. They change the world for the better, living not only for themselves but for others as well.

            Truly, heroes are those who first think with their hearts. They are made for a mission after all and that is to save lives. Rick Warren’s (The Purpose Driven Life) words seem to reflect what their purpose in this world is all along: “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness.”

            So what sets a man above the rest? Instead of ripples, he creates the waves that get him to his destination. For all of it is heart. You see, it’s the heart that makes the man.

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A few videos from YouTube, especially for those who lost their parents as well (the last is in Filipino / Tagalog and shows no lyrics so I am sharing an English translation I made years ago as well):

The song Ugoy ng Duyan, literally translated to “the swaying of the hammock”, was composed by Lucio San Pedro and the lyrics were by Levi Celerio. Versions have already been recorded in the past by Lea Salonga, Regine Velasquez and Aiza Seguerra.

LULLING CRADLE

Those good old days, I pray won’t fade
When I was young and in Mother’s care
Oh, to hear dear Mother’s lullaby again
The song of love as she rocked my cradle.

In my deep and peaceful slumber
The stars watch over me in vigil
Life was like heaven in the arms of Mother
Now my heart longs for the lulling cradle.

Those good old days, I pray won’t fade
When I was young and in Mother’s care
Oh, to hear dear Mother’s lullaby again
The song of love as she rocked my cradle.

Lull me, Mother, in my dear old cradle
Oh, Mother.

 

Translation Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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DISCLAIMER: The translation above should not, in any way, be taken as an official translation. It is only a translation I made so that people would understand the lyrics. However, please do not just copy off and not give credit or link here. Also, I am mentioning this as I am finding out that my version has been copied and being mistaken as the official translation. It is not and is probably not even the best translation. To not confuse you, I used to own a Multiply account using the ID “lildovefeather”. Many of those who shared this translation do give a link to the page, but the problem now is it’s not existent anymore. They can either link to this page, or to THIS…Thanks for understanding.