Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'd come running to see you again.

I was ready to sleep through another night alone in the house last Saturday when I suddenly heard someone open the gate just when I was about to alight from my car. It was D!

"What are you doing here?", I asked as he ran into my arms.

"I'm eating dinner here!"

"Really? What are you having for dinner?"

"Whatever you're cooking."

Yay. Our helper was on leave. Good thing he had a weakness for hotdogs.

After dinner we decided to watch YouTube together. His mom warned me that he might try clicking on "non-kid-friendly cartoons" so I patiently guarded him while he browsed through some Lego stop-motion movies. He clicked on a set of videos (see website here), which I found funny. Some, however, weren't really for 8-year-olds. I told D to just choose those that had "clean" storylines (eg. no derogatory or cuss words).

"But, Tita Chrise, the videos are only funny when they have bad words in them!"

He had a point. I figured, he's quite mature anyway, so I might as well just "supervise" while watching with him. It was all ok until we came across one clip and he asked,

"Tita Chrise, what's 'crack'?"

"Uh...hey, let's go to Jollibee and get some sundaes first, ok?"

His face lighted up as I grabbed the car keys and drove with him to buy our close-to-midnight snacks.

Whew. He had more questions in the morning that I'd rather not post anymore, except for one reply to a nosy inquiry:

"Cool. You have an enemy!"

I love being an aunt to this boy. :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

I'll remember.

Allow me to linger on the memory of you today.

In my mind, the first day I saw you is as fresh as the thought of yesterday.

You were radiant as you were simple; gracious as you were serene.

I instantly loved you. I would have wanted to stroll along hospital walkways with you if I continued my studies in that direction. I enjoyed listening to stories of you, especially the early years in Baguio with the rest of the family I had grown to love too.

Your car was my favorite, and only now do I realise that my own car is blue too, like yours.

I miss your thoughtfulness, how you would invite me to eat or check if I have a ride home. Merienda at Jollibee would always remind me of you.

When the time came when you no longer remembered me, I kept on thinking about you. I could not tell you how much I loved you, because I had become an unwilling stranger. Yet I still prayed for you. And I still pray for you.

It has been a year today since you left. Though we were almost but not quite bound as family, you will always be the one I learned the most from. You are one of the reasons why I survive being alone. You were the gentle strength that kept me standing in spite of the crushing difficulties at home. You were the inspiration that empowered my prayers to bring my father back in the pink of health. And you are the silver lining that reminds me to trust God's plan and to see the good in every event that comes -- or fails to come -- in my life.

Thank you, Lola Bella. You will always be remembered and loved.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I found this song on YouTube when I was looking for a nice video for Christmas. It's quite a long track, embellished here and there, which makes it a perfect accompaniment for Final Fantasy X (though I'm not sure whether this was officially included in the game). If you're curious, watch the video here.

I remember this song for another reason, though. I had a tape (retro!) of this album by Kenny Loggins ten years ago, and it was one of those albums I kept in my dad's car for him to listen to. One time we were on our way to fetch my sister from a high school recollection along Tandang Sora, and this was playing in the background while we were on the road. Suddenly Dad noticed the street we were going into was familiar, and asked me,

"Hindi ba't nandito ang bahay ni


"Bakit nga pala hindi na siya pumupunta sa atin?"

"Wala na po kami, Daddy." We had recently broken up less than a month ago then.

He paused, decelerated the car, looked at me and gently said,

"Kaya pala malungkot ang anak ko. Pasko pa naman."

I wanted to sigh and say thanks for stating the obvious, but it was too early for me not to be affected. I was only 19, but was usually expected to act older than my years, and that meant not showing any sign of weakness, especially when it came to boyfriend issues. Yet for a moment while riding on that bumpy road, I was allowed to acknowledge losing a love I tried to fight for. Daddy remained silent, while I shed my tears as clandestinely as I could.

As I listened to it tonight, it struck me again, albeit differently. Whilst a decade ago I was dwelling on how to nurse a broken heart, today I discover that Christmas is when that big, empty space in my heart is given a lot to be filled with. Daddy would probably say the same thing to me now and I would still stop myself from sighing, because now I find that It's not so much of being alone as it is being available for more people in need.

Going home from Hangad's Isabela concert last weekend and from an office outreach activity today gave me a sense of purpose: I, my family, my job and my friends remain, because of the strength of a collective love that is meant to be shared, celebrated, and sung. This love, which began many Decembers ago, is what brings us the hope of sunrise after a dark night.

This season may have a few poignant moments for me, but for the most part I am still overwhelmed with gratitude for everything good that has happened in 2008, and truly hopeful for a brighter 2009.

Happy Christmas, everyone.


Kenny Loggins
released 1998

Once upon a dream
Moonlit wings come into view
Winter casts her spell
And all the world is born anew
A child sees a star through a window
He knows with all his heart
That wonder is coming

Only in December
Are hearts so full
Or feel more alone
Could it be the same
For everyone

Only in December
Can the broken heart
Feel so alive
And the autumn ashes
Become the fires of December
Can I be inside
And out of the cold
Still I know
December always leads me home

I still believe in magic

Always leads me home
And I still believe in miracles, yes
Still believe in Christmas
I still believe in love