about sickness and death

as i am writing this note, i’m here in the funeral homes at my lola’s wake. well, i volunteered myself to stay here to be with my lola for her first night since some of our family members needed a rest after a long and tear-jerking day because of lola’s death.
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i am not a good nurse. ask my relatives, they know every story of my failed moments of being a nurse to the sick people of my family. i like taking care of sick people but don’t ask me to change their diapers nor help them vomit; coz i’m sure that i’ll be the first one to throw out before the patient does. that’s why i didn’t take nursing even my mom wanted me to take it. di ko kaya.

when lola and mom were sick in the hospital, i was tasked to take care of them. but during those times that they asked me to assist in changing their diapers or when they wanted to throw up, my stomach couldn’t take it so i get to throw up first most often. kaya inis mga kapatid ko sa akin. they always tell me na maarte ako. pero di lang kaya talaga ng sikmura ko.
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the other day, when i learned that mom is sick with stage 2 cancer, i asked God: “what should be my state of heart at this moment?” He answered my question by allowing me to remember a friend and co-missionary, VL Ramos.

VL’s dad died of sickness last week. but weeks before that, (even months before, i think)  when his dad got sick, i never saw him sad nor even a hint of weakness in him. whenever i saw him in the office, he’s always the jolly and ever-helpful VL. and whenever i ask about his dad’s condition, he always says “ok naman siya. si God na bahala sa kanya”.

so during the wake of his dad, i was expecting to see him sad and lonely for his dad’s loss. but what i saw was the VL i knew – the jolly and strong VL who’s trust in God never failed during and after his dad’s sickness and death.

and that helped me to be strong during my mom’s sickness and lola’s death now. just like VL, i am just happy knowing that my God, my ever-faithful and loving God is taking care of the 2 of the most important women in my life. so what should i worry about?
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when i was in costa rica and learned about lola’s sickness, i prayed to God that if ever she will die, i wanted to be able to see her, visit her and even sacrifice my time to be with her for her wake. and i thank God for He allowed me to be with my lola days before she died, even serving her and giving her a bath and now, being with her during her wake.
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i learned during my lola’s death this morning that the true strength of a person’s character is most tested during trials. and i praise God, yes i glorify Him, that He has prepared me for this moment.

i thank God coz during the time that everyone was going hysterical about lola’s death this morning, someone still has a sane mind, and that’s me. being a cry-baby, i was amazed for staying focused and didn’t have a breakdown. i was thinking if i have a heart of stone for not feeling the same way they’re feeling. if it’s weird that i’m not crying or wailing enough because of our loss. but i guess, God has given me so much peace in my heart that during the family prayer that i led before we gave her away to the men of the funeral homes, i only got to praise our God coz the tragedy of losing our lola gave our whole family the opportunity to be united once more (just as she wish). the strength that He has given me gave me the initiative as well to help my relatives fixed lola’s memorial services, death plans and be a source of strength for each family member, especially my lolo, whenever they feel the loss of our dearest lola.

as i am writing this, i’m wondering if i am mourning for my lola’s death. and i feel peace coz in this way of serving my family members and being with my lola is my way of mourning for her death. yes, i still have those crying moments, not because of the loss but more of remembering the good memories i had with her; all her funny stories and how she was a good lola to me, to us.
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i know this is a long entry but allow me to share about my lola for the last time.

i am her favorite apo. yes, she said that to me. i know that our lolos and lolas shouldn’t play favorites with their apos but probably i’m an exception. hehe anyway, one of my favorite memory with her was during the time she took care of me after my operation. actually, i didn’t like the idea since she just got back from the hospital months before and was still recuperating. but she insisted, telling my parents that she should take care of me since she missed me during my 2-year away from home because of mission. she cooked my food, helped me go to the bathroom to pee and take a bath, watched tv with me, touched my hand when i was in pain, and even had a bonding session with my friend Roxy when she slept over there. at 85, and still recuperating, she still had that strength to do those things for me, her favorite apo.

you will be missed lola ipay. but we’re very happy that your suffering is already over. and you are already in God’s embrace, face-to-face with Him and Jesus and Mama Mary and all the angels and saints. tell them to take care of us here. tell them to embrace lolo right now that he misses you. and yes, you will always be remembered: how you made good meriendas; how you took care of your children down to your great grand daughter; how you have taught me to do make up and always remind me to do my face; how you inspire me to be at my best, to reach my dreams and support me to be a good teacher and missionary for God. yes, i feel sad of losing you. but i’m more at peace knowing you’re with our God. and you’re taking care of us now.

i love you lola. and thank you for everything.

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