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Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree
I’m comin’ home, I’ve done my time
Now I’ve got to know what is and isn’t mine
If you received my letter telling you I’d soon be free
Then you’ll know just what to do
If you still want me, if you still want me
Whoa, tie a yellow ribbon ’round the ole oak tree
It’s been three long years, do you still want me?
If I don’t see a ribbon round the ole oak tree
I’ll stay on the bus, forget about us, put the blame on me
If I don’t see a yellow ribbon ’round the ole oak tree
Bus driver, please look for me
‘Cause I couldn’t bear to see what I might see
I’m really still in prison and my love, she holds the key
A simple yellow ribbon’s what I need to set me free
And I wrote and told her please
Whoa, tie a yellow ribbon ’round the ole oak tree
It’s been

Tomorrow,  is Ninoy Aquino Day. Ninoy Aquino Day is a national non-working holiday in the Philippines observed annually on August 21, commemorating the assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. 

For so many times since I started blogging and every time this holiday is held I blog  about it. I remember the day Ninoy died at the airport tarmac  when he alighted from the plane going home to the Philippines, the Philippine president that never was.  I  am sure tomorrow there would be more tribute to Ninoy. I couldn’t remember now why the yellow ribbon was chosen to remember Ninoy. Back in those days, we rejoiced seeing people in a sea of yellow.
Every time I hear this particular song, I remember my Mom singing and dancing while swaying either Nissa or my nephew Anthony.  Back in those days, they were just toddlers. I smile at the thought of remembrance. Mom at her age now, no longer remembers probably  but I still do.
Tomorrow is another celebration of a yellow day. 

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I told you, I am on a reading marathon and just finished this much-talked about book, The Fault In Our Stars. I wrote a short review on Goodreads.

I don’t normally read YA books, once in a while though, I read something that makes me laugh or cry. I am not even familiar with the author John Green, this is my first read actually. I don’t even know there is a movie adaptation being shown. What made me choose to read it over all the other books and authors I am familiar with? The subject is so familiar that I wanted to shout, “been there, done that, felt those awful moments while an IV was attached to my arms”. I felt those tingling sensations on my fingers that hurt like hell and those times that I just stared at the ceiling wondering if I will get well. the fault in our stars

There are lots of good and bad reviews on Goodreads. Some rated it five-stars, some were quite so honest that they weren’t even touched by the plot of the story. No crying sessions, they say. Maybe when you have experienced something as life-changing as having cancer then you could truly empathize and relate with the book. I did.

I wonder if the movie adaptation is better than the book. I’ve watched the YouTube trailer but if you don’t know that the two characters are cancer patients/survivors, you would just classify it as another young adult love story.

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Remembering. Always remembering. And it’s like a dull ache that never goes away but just stays somewhere in the recesses of the mind, never forgotten but remembered with joys and pains.

It’s Daddy’s 6th death anniversary today. Every year since I started blogging, I would always write about him during his birthday and his death anniversary. How can you write about the pains of losing someone so loved and cherished in your life?  How can you write about someone who taught you the values of living and taught you how to be strong despite all the hardships that life brings?  Why do you need to remember and cry in pain?  It’s because he will always be a constant presence in my life. 629906-R1-00-20AThe good  and lovely memories will get you through somehow and you smile in remembrance of the long-ago days when you needed to hear life’s stories and words of wisdom, things that somehow shaped your views on what life is all about.

If dad were alive today, he’d be 91 years old. If he were alive today, I know he would smile   and wonder why I am even writing about him. I know he would smile seeing  Nate, his great-grandchild, walk on his own and point to himself and say, “baby, baby”. Yes, Nate has added more words in his vocabulary. I know he would be happy for all of us and would probably say, “there is nothing like a grandchild to put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart”. My children are so lucky having known him as a loving, lovable, affectionate and a caring grandfather. They fondly called him Tatay.

Wherever you are Dad, I know you are looking down on us with an indulgent smile.  I offered a prayer for you today. I still miss you after all these years because you  hold a special place in my heart.

(note: this is my 1,350th post at WordPress)

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We stand here encompassed by winter; the barren trees with their fallen leaves, the silent riverbed. Nothing is more certain in life or nature than death. We accept it as the way of things. Perhaps we are able because we have faith in spring. Yet somehow it seems different to us when death comes early. Much as we might bemoan an early winter, we feel robbed of something due. We feel cheated. Sometimes we rage. And sometimes we blame. And in doing so, we say to God, “My will be done, not Thine,” and we forget about the promise of spring. In the cold of our soul’s winter, we bury our hearts. And when we wonder why it is dark and why we feel alone. and we risk spending so much of our lives occupied with our loss and what we have not, that we forget the beauty of what is and what we still have. And this is sometimes, the greater loss. – richard paul evans

A week ago, I cried at the loss of an online friend who has been a part of my life for the past five years or so. We have known each other exchanging comments and views at our Multiply sites  learning life’s angst and lovely dreams of tomorrow.  Bella was so supportive of me when I underwent chemotherapy around the time we were so active at Multiply. We formed a close group, some of whom I eventually met personally.  Even then, she always said that she had a delicate health, she came home from a teaching job in Thailand  and enjoyed gardening and writing about her thoughts on family life, love of music and anything that we could touch under the sun. You might wonder, is an online friendship possible?  YES, it is. My only regret is that, I only talked to her once, over the phone, a surprise call which she appreciated very much.  Reading the outpouring of grief and offer of prayers on her wall at Facebook, I realized that when you are not afraid to reach out to people, those same friends would remember you with fondness and love.

Life is short. We always say  that and it is more felt when we lose someone dear to us, the feeling of loneliness is so acute that you recall your own pain and you cry silent tears of goodbye.  Then you begin to see at some inspired moment that you are lucky you’re still alive, well and kicking as they say. You begin to see that life is a life of second chances. You begin to appreciate the things that you somehow take for granted because they are always there at an easy reach.

What makes one happy?  Friends give us that feeling of being special,  more so when they appreciate what we do and what we share. And no matter what mundane things we do, there is always that feeling of joy because our friends accept us as we are and  give us words of encouragement to go on. Happiness depends on our outlook in life. We could choose to be in misery or always to be happy, because in the end, happiness is a choice.

Life is short, value it. Happiness is sometimes fleeting, grab it. Trite as it may sound, the blue sky is just behind the clouds.

 

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I watched this from beginning to end – the requiem mass, the 19 gun salute, Pres. PNoy’s eulogy/tribute  but Leni’s response as recorded in this video is the one I love best. He was an ideal father, an ideal husband, a  man who loved  his family and found time to be with them despite his being busy with his government post as Secretary of DILG. The President conferred  on him a posthumous Philippine Legion of Honor, with the rank of Chief Commander,  and presented it to his wife, Atty. Leni Robredo.

You can never put a good man down. He will always occupy a special place in your heart.

I salute you SEC. ROBREDO for making us so proud that good governance is not lost in our country. May this be a wake-up call to those government officials who only think of their own selfish motives instead of sincerely serving the people. It’s never too late to put into action what they promised to do and serve the Filipino people with sincerity just like you did.

(Thank you ABS CBN for sharing these videos).

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“Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps 23:6)

The nation mourns, because it lost a commendable and one of the finest servant- leaders it ever had.  You will surely be missed Sir. May our present servant-leaders emulate what you did for our country. Rest in peace and may your family find strength and comfort with the thought that you are one in a million, much-loved not only by your “kababayans” in Naga but all Filipinos as well.

(whoever owns this pic, thank you)

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Death is nothing else but going home to God,
the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity . – Mother Teresa

I lost a friend today. Actually, she is the sister of one of my best friends. She passed on this morning due to cancer. I can’t remember the exact year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I think it was around five or six years ago then lately the malignancy metastasized to her bones and she again underwent another cycle of chemotherapy. They say that bone cancer is the most painful type, but I tell you no matter what type it is, it is not just painful physically but emotionally and financially as well.

I have four best friends since my college days, one is a nun, another one is staying in Canada and the third is a successful business woman. Perhaps you won’t believe if I tell you that among us four, three of us  are cancer survivors.  Yes, two of them are breast cancer survivors and I had  colon cancer.  We see each other almost every year and between those days, we get along via texts and occasional e-mails.  My nun friend said that even in friendship, we have the same illness.

Death reminds us of the things we were supposed to do but didn’t. Death reminds us of the words we should have uttered but didn’t. And always, death reminds us of regrets that we were not able to say goodbye.  Harriet Beecher Stowe has this to say about death and dying; “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” It’s so true, it’s only through death that we vividly remember the good deeds done by a relative, a friend or a family member who left us. We reminisce the good old days spent with them, we recall the times we were so happy when they were alive.  Only God knows when our time will come. Most of us are so afraid of dying so we try to prevent it and prolong our lives as much as we can. We are frantic when we are ill. We worry a lot when someone in the family is dying. It’s human nature to be threatened and to be afraid of something we don’t really know. Death is real, that’s what we learned early in life.

What do we know of  Beyond? We can never guess the time we will be leaving this world. And before it’s too late, let us show our love for everyone precious in our lives. Don’t wait for the last-minute to say, “I love you” when you can say it loud and clear to them now. When was the last time you called a friend just to say  hello? When was the last time you hugged your kids? When was the last time you said to your parents that you are grateful for everything they did for you? When?

And let me end this blog with a quote from Stephen Grellet:

I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now.  Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

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Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. – Pope Paul VI

Much has been said about the three Filipinos who , a few minutes ago met their death by lethal injection at the People’s Republic of China. Sally, Elizabeth and Ramon died because they were found guilty of drug trafficking. They might be your typical overseas Filipino workers  who sacrifice their lives, balancing the act of being away from their families and earning a few dollars in far away countries. Were they  tempted with easy money promised by drug dealers or were they innocent victims? Some people say  that the  Philippine government did not do well enough to defend them and they were not provided enough help while undergoing trial. Some people say that PROC is too strict in implementing its laws of death sentence to those found guilty of possessing drugs. Drug traffickers found guilty of carrying at least 5 kilo of marijuana  or less than two ounces of cocaine are punishable by death. Some people say that if not for the big drug syndicates freely flaunting their trade in Philippine shores, these should not have happened.

Where are those people who made Sally, Ramon and Elizabeth risked their lives in carrying these prohibited drugs? Were they caught or are they still roaming around looking for new victims? I heard from reports that there are around 72 more Filipinos sentenced by life imprisonment and death in China. We could not entirely blame China for what happened because in the first place, it is following its laws and who are we to interfere? Even its own citizens are not spared from death penalty. But really, we have no right to take a life except God.

I grieve for the loss of our kababayans and sympathize with their families. I was thinking, what if , one or two of them were just innocent victims?  Let this be a lesson not just for our government but for all of us. It’s about time we enact laws with more teeth and it’s about time that we let everyone know that we mean business. Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate foreign relations committee said that “the Philippine government must not be a nation pleading to other nations not to execute its nationals.” She said further that there is a need to strengthen our anti-trafficking laws and make sure that Filipinos leaving the country initially as overseas Filipino workers  must not be doped by these illegal drug syndicates.

Guilty or not  or victims of circumstances, it is still painful to see their families suffering and in pain. The whole Filipino nation is one with you in prayers.

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I searched for you

In my dreams you were there –

Watching me

Smiling

These dead leaves give that eerie sound

As I crush them on my feet

Where are you, I cried

But the silence  is deafening

In the far distance

I could see the greens

It’s summer now, you see

It’s your favorite season of the year.

Will I see you smiling again?

Or will I just live in dreams?

(for dad, I miss you!)

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I am a regular reader of this lovely blog, Lady Prism  who is always quoting Mary Oliver.  Why have I missed  this writer all these years?  Reading some of her works, I am reminded of   Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I didn’t even know her name until a few months ago. Sometimes, her words touch you to the core.

“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”

Wow, these words made me think and ask these questions? Am I happy with this life I am leading?  Is there something more that I want to achieve?  Am I just freely flowing with the tide, slowing down one moment and rapidly making waves the next?  When you think of life, you think of your Creator and this world is so vast you wonder if you are making even just a dent on it. Will you be remembered the way you want to when you are gone?

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Yes, every one of us probably dreams of one legacy to leave behind. Were you, are you,  or will you be the good example that people would remember?  I know we will always want to be remembered doing some good deeds for our fellowmen than just being a name in the obituary page. Morbid you say? In the end, it would not matter if we lived a life but it’s  how we lived it that counts.

Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”

I definitely agree – one finds happiness in simple things and it is amazing how everyday, we encounter  something that sometimes changes our attitude towards life

itself but the thing is , we are not aware of it because we are not attuned to our feelings.  Hello world…I am here!

“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”

Everyday is a blessing .  Let your five senses feel – God is near! Have you ever had that feeling  of oneness with the universe while you are admiring a beautiful landscape or watching a child smile and curl up her tiny hands in yours? Were you ever excited waiting for the sunrise and seeing a beautiful sunset?  Amazing isn’t it that even a simple bloom would make you swoon and say, what a beautiful life. At one point, we reach some crossroads and we feel afraid to take the untrodden paths. God leads us anywhere we want to go though sometimes, we are afraid.  Trust me, He says and we should. He will hold our hands and carry us even when we are afraid to take another step.

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