Posts Tagged ‘death and dying’

I lost weight worrying about Alden’s health before he died. It’s been 32 days since he left us. Everything is still vivid in my mind.

My cousins visited us during our 9-day novena to join us in prayers. They took some shots when we were at one of my cousins’ place. I can’t post them all here because they eat up my free space.

Our barangay is the highest place in the whole town.
Overlooking the town proper.

A few days after Alden’s funeral.


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Last week I received this sad news that our neighbor and friend in Kamuning before passed on. The family live in Australia. Mama Julian was 98.

I remember those days with fondness when we were living in the same place and the same compound. Almost every night, Mama Julian would bring his ukulele to our place and dad his guitar. They would play music together and I would just listen. They could pick chords of several songs without even looking at anything. During lazy days, the four of them – my mom, Nana Mina, Mama Julian and Dad would play cards called Entre Siete in our place. Mama Julian and dad would partner together and they had this what they call dentoy, movement of their heads, sway of their hands and other such nuances which they do together to let each other know what cards he had. Nana Mina and mom could not defeat them. Mama Julian was the godfather of my youngest brother.

His youngest daughter told me this: Arlene, I felt warmed when I hear these very precious moments in the life of your dad and mine. I remember these too.

She said further that truth be told, your Dad was the only true and loyal friend to tatay. He’ll have his memorial service on Sunday via Zoom and that happens to be Dad’s 100th birthday.

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I don’t know what is happening. Everyday on my newsfeed on Facebook, I see death all around. Today, it was the former secretary of DSWD (Department of Social Wefare and Development). The other day, a professor from UST died, a few days ago, a student and a nurse died too. I wonder if all of these were caused by Covid because sometimes, the news does not mention it.

I was listening to Fr. Aly’s homily this morning. He told the parishioners about the importance of these Covid vaccines. Not everyone is sure that the pandemic won’t catch up even if we are fully jabbed. I remember my exchange of thoughts with my friend from Canada who told me the news of Fr.Eli’s death a week ago. She said that if the former was vaccinated, it could have triggered his death. He was operated on a few years ago and had a pacemaker. Then she sent those articles that vaccines are not safe. I got confused so I asked if she and her husband were vaccinated. She said at the end of our conversation that it is not polite to ask that question. She told me it is a private choice. More confused.

Going back to Fr. Aly’s homily, he said that one doesn’t know if she/he would be affected. A strong immunity is very important. I agree. Mostly, those hospitalized haven’t been vaccinated yet. There are people who are found positive of Covid even if they are fully vaccinated. Where do we go from here? How long will we have to endure before this pandemic is out of our lives for good?

Morbid you say? I guess it’s not.

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Covid is busy catching lives. One of my friends from Canada just informed me that one of our priest friends during our younger years died of Covid. He was 70.

Almost every month, I see some familiar names of priests, some I’ve known when I was still in UST, some I met through their online masses. I watched Fr. Eli’s homily last August 14 on YouTube. I guess that was his last.

It is sad to know that old friends whom you haven’t seen for a long time suddenly leave the scene.

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That was a very lonely and touching experience for me this afternoon. A friend who is also a neighbor suffered a stroke. Only her daughter was with her when I arrived at their place. She seemed asleep but was still breathing, her snore was so loud. Jom, another neighbor came by too and they called an ambulance.

May I ask for your prayers please? Her name is Mercy Jarque, 81 years old. She is like a mother to me and I am so sad to see her suffer.

I learned a while ago when her daughter came back from the hospital that she was DOA. The daughter is bipolar, sometimes she is not her usual self.

This is quite devastating, someone losing her life in this time when movements of people are limited, when you can’t just go out to condole with the family for their loss. Jill does not want her mom to be cremated so Aling Mercy would be transferred to a funeral home tomorrow morning.

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And here I thought I would be able to maintain blogging every day this September but it’s not to be. I missed writing  posts for two days.

I went to the  wake of our neighbor who had heart attack. I almost got lost finding where the Loyola Memorial Chapels was. Wrong  info/direction from  his daughter.  Anyway, I reached the place correctly when I inquired from the church workers at St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Taytay, Rizal.  The place was clean, so wide and away from traffic.

It was an unpleasant surprise finding your neighbor who is dead at the age of 77. He was too young to die. And speaking of dying, there is always that unspoken  grief that you feel when a loved one dies. One cannot quantify the loneliness you feel that you wouldn’t be able to see your loved one again except in memories.  Good memories are kept in your heart. The photo album may not suffice, spoken words of sympathy may not be enough but we go on with life in the long run. The pain maybe lessened  but it would always be there.

There are stages of grief that we have to go though.  First there is shock and denial. We could not readily accept that it happened. Then comes the pain and guilt. You wish you could have told them often how  much you love them. You wish you could have talked  to them about their problems  The anger at what happened comes next then depression or loneliness and these depends how strong you are to face such.  Acceptance follows after a while. But some of us do not always experience these stages. We go through life like our right arm is gone. We go through the days remembering, always remembering the good times.

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” 

I remember that line when I read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. It was one of the best books I’ve ever come across. Emotional but inspirational as well.  And “once you learn how to die, you’ll learn how to live”. 

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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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