Monday, March 21, 2016

Oh Mama!

"Love your parents and treat them with loving care. For you will only know their value when you see their empty chair." - from

Mommy, or everyone's Mommy Lolarga or Lola Nene, with her eldest son Junic who arrived Monday last week from Canada to everyone's surprise just to be by her side during her recovery period

I've only hinted about the illness in the house in past blogs, and I hope the worst of it is over. We know Mom won't be the same. At 88 going on 89 and even if her stubborn and hardy heart believes it still ticks like a teener's 17-year-old heart on prom night, she has to move towards acceptance, then serenity, that things won't be and ain't what they used to be. I interpret her illness as her body's rebellion against the beyond-human-limits activities she has engaged in the winter of her life, mainly, home management, keeping the family together and the many details of life that her obsessive compulsiveness can't ignore.

I've always interpreted illness or disease as the body's way of telling you to stop, pause, look, listen before continuing your journey at a pace more kindly to yourself. Many times I've been tempted to shout into Mom's ear that taking care of yourself or leaving something for yourself is not selfishness at all, but it can be a form of altruism, too.

When my siblings and I discuss our individual streaks of stubbornness, we are agreed on where its source is. But a strong will to survive and stubbornness enabled Mom to survive this latest crisis. Now I am an interested observer on how survival will segue to endurance and grace.

As our 85-year-old aunt Choleng ages (seen here with husband, Tito Rene), her Chinese features become more apparent.

Yesterday, celebrated as Palm Sunday in the Christian world, when Jesus entered Jerusalem to cries of "Hosanna in the highest," our clan had a mini-reunion to say "Bievenue" to once prodigal, now extremely good and gentle, son Junic and to be grateful that Mom and her younger sister, my confirmation ninang, Soledad "Choleng" Diaz, are over the hump, health-wise. We thank Lita and Shorty Server for hosting that hosanna lunch and merienda punctuated with so much laughter, the great reliever of stress.

Many people showed their support for our mother and our family in many ways, chief of which is prayer. To you our eternal gratitude! I close this Holy Monday entry with the serenity prayer taught to me by my high school Religion teacher, Auguste Sarte, SPC (I once owned an estampita of this):

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Thanks, Steven King, for taking this picture. This is only about an eighth of the size of the clan on Mommy's side.
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