Quite an August Rush

August 1 came and I remembered a very good friend posting the line “august rush” on Facebook.  I clicked on the “Like” button not knowing that August would not only bring a rush with it but a “deluge” of stuff as well.

The floods in Manila, the death of a relative, an open door for volunteering (tutorials, I’ll write about this in a separate post), Secretary Jesse Robredo’s death – our Department of Interior and Local Government secretary, and the highlight of the month:  my first ever quarterly exams with the kids that I’m tutoring.  I didn’t know that would be a tough one.  Good thing we made it unscathed and with a lot of A’s. 🙂

What do I write about first?  I told my sweet blogger friend, Lydia of lifeloveandlydia that the right words still escape me on how to write about an uncle’s death.  This post will be an attempt to do so.  Tito R was my mom’s second cousin.  Her father and his mother were cousins.

He was only 44.  He would have turned 45 this September but one Sunday during the first week of August, death suddenly came creeping and he collapsed while he was biking in the recently held Ironman Triathlon here in Cebu City and was DOA (dead on arrival) at Chong Hua hospital.  The autopsy report attributed his death to an embolism that affected his lungs.

As soon as my parents and I got hold of the news, I was in denial.  “Maybe they just got the name wrong” to “No, his name is not here on the official list” as I was scanning the athletes’ names on the web.  All those “they’re wrong” denial stuff went into my head.

His family and our family were close when my sister and I were pretty much younger – school girls age.  We would spend Christmas and their birthdays at their house and we’d dance and sing for them and their parents.  We had fond memories of Tito R because he was boyishly handsome, warm and very nice to us kids.  They were a very close-knit family and Tito R and his siblings were always nice to us kids even when they were all grown up and working.

When we grew up and went to Manila for college, I guess we drifted apart.  We no longer had a chance to bond with them and the rest of the family.  The last time I saw Tito R was almost two years ago when I had a trip to Manila and he was there at the check-in counter overseeing the luggage check-in.  He was a load controller at Cebu Pacific.

When I got to my sister’s house for our Sunday family dinner we were still hoping the news that our family friend told Daddy was wrong.  It was only until my sister Happy read my Aunt J.’s (his sister) status update that the news was confirmed, “We will miss you, R.”  Shucks, it was him.  No amount of willing that it was wrong could not make it untrue.  He really was gone.

So many questions were running in our mind but the foremost and the biggest question was, “Why him, Lord?”  It was only when my dad, mom and I got home after our dinner and I was all alone here in my room that I finally got the chance to cry and pour out my resentment and my questions “Why did it happen?”

Now, I understand that we don’t really know when our time is.  That incident made me realize how frail life is and how someone we know can actually be taken away in a moment, in a blink of an eye.  As my dad put it, “you can be having breakfast with a person one day and the next hour or in the afternoon that person can be gone from your life.  There are things that are beyond our control.”

Yes, only God really knows our times and seasons.  One thing we can do though is ask ourselves “Am I ready to face my Creator and my God when it’s my time?”  “Have I repented and made peace with my Savior, Jesus, knowing that because of his death and resurrection I can live throughout eternity?

A photo snapped by a friend of Tito R before the incident

Tito R’s burial gave us the chance to reconnect with family whom we haven’t seen for a long time. We finally saw one of my aunts (the one in white blouse) after almost 20+ years after her wedding

While we were reconnecting with family, these two adorables (my nephew and niece) also had a whale of a time running around the memorial park and hiding behind and between the tombs. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic or two of them enjoying their time there just before the heavy rains fell.

About Last Night

Watching a sort of indie film about marriage and relationships starring Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes and Sam Worthington, made me think about this fact:  it is only when we give our checkered pasts, past loves and memories of previous relationships to God and the Cross that we can be totally freed from all these.  Otherwise, we’ll always be carrying a piece and parcel of the past and of former loves. 

Only God can heal a painful memory.  While I was watching the movie, bits and pieces of the past drifted in front of me and one man in particular stood out.  He was G. and he was a co-teacher of mine in the University where I first taught History.  I was young and naive at 22 and at 34, he was 12 years my senior.  I can’t exactly remember the details of our age gap today but I remember it was his sharp intellect and worldliness, so to speak, that made quite an impression on me.  It took me a long, long time to forget him and move on.  Maybe because ours was a complicated story (not a relationship) to begin with and I found it hard to forgive myself for that episode.  BUT GOD.  But God heals. 🙂

It was a jeepney ride last year that showed me that.  I was running late and I rushed into another jeep as the one I was riding had to wait at the jeepney stop for the longest time.  I was without makeup and looked stressed.  In short, I think I look harassed.  Then, I felt someone tap me on my knee.  Right across me was G smiling into my eyes, his eyes twinkling with amusement.  I could not forget how we quickly fell into an easy rhythm of conversation.  A little catching up here and there about his teaching, his research but never about the missus.  I did not ask him about his wife this time.  The last time I had heard about him he had gotten married.  This time I wasn’t even curious how he was doing personally.  Gone were all the tension, attraction and the anger all at the same time that I had once felt when I talked to him after things had fallen apart.  In its place was that comfortable feeling of talking to a long lost friend.

I realized that day that I had already moved on.  God allowed me to see that through that jeepney ride.  When I got to school though, I could not help but bemoan the fact that of all the mornings that I had rushed out of the house that was the day that I had no makeup on.  lol!  But then, it did not really matter that much this time.

In my opinion, it is only God who can heal traumatic memories, a broken heart and can truly end an unfinished business with someone you shared something with.  Without Him making all things new, bits and pieces would still have stuck to our hearts and souls.  But God heals and deals with it thoroughly. 🙂  For a time, I was wondering how I could move on from that memory.  I looked at moving on that time as nothing short of a miracle.  It only took forgiving myself and him, too, to move on. 🙂

CHOICES

The film is also about the choices that we make that lead or take us farther from what’s right and true.  Will we give in to the seemingly harmless and small temptations thinking that we can resist falling into the pit?  Or at the onset make the right decision to run away from every temptation whether they be big or small?  I remember that episode with G and how my mom warned me about him the first time she saw us together.  We were checking our emails at an internet cafe in the mall.  That time there was nothing going on between us but my mom warned me because she saw something that I, in my youth, did not see coming. 🙂  Looking back, I should have heeded her word of advice.  Instead, I replied:  “Mommy, we’re just checking our emails!”  hahahaha Oh, the folly of youth!:)

When we can thank God for the part others have played in our lives, we can be confident we have been enhanced by knowing them—and we’re ready to embrace love again. – Embracing Grief, Focus on the Family article

Let the Healing Begin by 4Him

I’m tired of these walls
That have held my captive heart
And I’m ready for the change
To come and reach me through these scars

I long to hear You speak
Sweet peace into my soul
Reach into the depths that no one knows
Let Your healing waters flow,
‘Cause I’m…

CHORUS
Moving on, to better days
Let the healing begin
Up ahead, I can hear You call my name
Let the healing begin
Let the healing begin

Your love for me is deep
And Your mercy is so wide
Somehow you reach beyond the boundaries
Of all my foolish pride

So come and wash away these things
That have held me to my past
‘Cause Jesus You’re the one and only one
that can set me free at last, ’cause I’m…

CHORUS

Let it rain down (whoa let it rain down on me)
Let it rain down
Don’t you know it’s time for me to be

CHORUS

costly mistake

In May of last year, I wrote “It is when you brave the heat of the battle – instead of running away from it – that the victory comes.” For weeks now I’ve been trying to understand why this is relatively easier and lighter compared to what happened in the past.  The circumstances may somehow look the same but what’s happening in the inside is far different.  I can only attribute it to God doing a good work inside my heart.

What keeps running in my mind are the words:  Jesus is my Champion!  Wow, if you’ve got a bouncer and a backer like Him, you can really go the distance.  He gives us supernatural strength and wind to soar beyond what we alone can reach. It still blows my mind – how awesome God is and what He is doing.  I can only wait in expectation and wonder at what He’ll do next.  I’m sure it’s gonna be AWESOME.

Some lessons from that costly mistake:

1.  Accept reality with grace and learn from the mistake. FORGIVE YOURSELF.

2.  There are times that we stumble but it is utterly NECESSARY TO GET UP AGAIN.

3.  Time does not heal wounds BUT JESUS HEALS broken hearts and makes them as good as new.

4.  From Tita Ayen:  “Whatever happens to us is part of our training and equipping.”

5.  This one is really yehey and hahaha:  “What the enemy meant for bad, GOD CAN TURN IT AROUND FOR OUR GOOD AND FOR HIS GLORY.”

6.  Knowing who we are in Jesus is so important in overcoming trials.  We must believe and confess that we are accepted in the Beloved, overcomers in Christ Jesus and that His will is good, pleasing and perfect.

making peace


  You might be wondering how you can tell if you’ve moved through grief to embrace love again. One sign is gratitude. When we’re grateful for the good that was given to us from God in our past relationship, we can be confident that emotional healing has happened. And when our desire to embrace the future overshadows our desire to hold onto the past, we know that we have said good-bye with grace. When we believe that God can fill our hands and heart with mutual love again, we know we have grieved well and that we have entrusted our heartache to Him. When we can thank God for the part others have played in our lives, we can be confident we have been enhanced by knowing them—and we’re ready to embrace love again.

*2010 was the year I finally made peace with my past with G after a long time.  I realized this when I bumped into him in a jeepney going to Talamban. 🙂 awesome!

Focus on the Family’s Embracing Romantic Grief