How are you up there? I know you're going to answer me with "Ang ganda dito Issa! I'm no longer in pain. God is beautiful!" Knowing how your eyes used to lit up and your voice raise to high pitch whenever you got excited, I can clearly imagine your exact gestures and tone while telling me how beautiful it is there in heaven.
If you would ask me how things are since you left, it's pretty back to how I would like to call normal now, except that you're no longer in the physical picture. The first six months was really hard for me and more for daddy. For a time, daddy wouldn't do his usual activities, like talk to friends on the phone, call the radio to comment on current issues, and hang out with his other senior radio commentator friends. It was also the first time I worried about his health, the pain was affecting him physically. His blood pressure was unstable as he complained about getting tired faster than before. I felt his devastation when you left. So we all struggled to put things back to normal, but you left such a big shoe to fill in mommy. Slowly, Daddy adjusted to your absence. Having Dandre sleep next to him every night since the first night we all went home after you were laid to rest, helped daddy cope with the sadness. You must be proud of your apo Dandre for volunteering to stay with his lolo. He's grown so big now mommy! For sure, the three of you wouldn't fit in your queen-sized bed if you were still here. I remember how Dandre would always want to stay in your room and sleep with you. Now, he's taking good care of daddy. They both listen to the radio before dozing off to sleep.
Dad's back to his groove now. He started going out again to social gatherings with his friends. He's back to radio commenting on a daily basis. He's now also enjoying his time with his apos. Daddy is in tip-top shape, his health tests show normal on all levels! We talk about you every now and then. How we both miss you and remember you. We talk when one of us dreamed about you. He said he dreamed you were wearing a bikini and was just enjoying your time. I guess that's how it is up there no? You're enjoying your freedom from pain, worries, suffering, rumors, responsibilities, fears, and everything worldly. But in bikini! That's wow!
I am keeping my promises I whispered to you when you could still hear me, when you still responded to what I said, when you were still here, few days before your departure to heaven. But the first three months without you was depressing. I would open your closet and just look at all your stuff, your clothes and accessories I used to borrow, your notes here and there, your mobile phone, the things you last wore or used, then I'd cry. I would sometimes come home really tired and stressed out then think of what we could've talked about, then I'd cry. Every remembrance of you, I would cry. I miss you terribly Mommy. While writing this, I still feel the pain, but not as extreme as how it was during the early weeks. I had to move on, we all had to. That's exactly what we all did.
I'm sure, you wouldn't be happy to know that, your plants aren't as healthy as you left them. I don't have a green thumb that even my new basil plant died on me only a few days after bringing it home. The house had a little make-over by painting it brighter and re-arranging it to make it spacious. I'm sure you would have been glad to use the big space for Zumba or your aerobics steps. But, I admit, it's not as spic and span as you'd had it. The clothes pile up in one corner because I don't organize them immediately. You used to organize them yourself even if you didn't need to, and would get irritated at me for not attending to them fast. Now I know why. The kitchen.... it's still busy, but not as busy when you were still working your magic in it. It's still for renovation because the cupboards are dilapidated and look like they're going to cave in anytime soon. The weekly menu is not as vast as yours, I have yet to learn a lot from the compilation of recipes you left with me. By the way, I plan to make a cook book out of it, I hope that materializes soon.
I'm sure you'd be excited to know that Dandre is already a graduating elementary student and Wes has started schooling. DK still remembers you every now and then and looks for you too. The little ones fight less often and they converse so cutely about movie characters and toys. By the way, I now wake up earlier than how I used to when you would gladly do my duties in the morning to prepare Dandre for school. You let me sleep longer because you knew how dead tired I was everyday. My alarm is on snooze for thirty minutes with five minutes interval until I finally get enough will to get up. I still have to improve a lot on my review time with Dandre when I get home, I don't know where to still get that extra time. Indeed you left such a huge shoe to fill and I'm not even half as close as how you used to do it.
Yesterday, we commemorated the start of your new life journey. The family's complete. People came to our house to pray a short novena as our send-off to you. Then we had lunch and the star of the buffet, the Lechon, was your siblings' treat. We were all talking about you dearly, and had a great time seeing and bonding with each other. It was a mini-reunion, I'm sure you're happy to witness that from above.
Right now, as I write this, exactly a year and a day since you left for your new journey, I'm coping well. We've adjusted to living a new normal which is of course sadder than how it used to be with you around, but it's okay. We all know you're in a so much better place right now Mommy. I also know, that you'd want us to all move on and let you go. You being such a worrier for all of us, wouldn't want us to think of sad thoughts and be depressed at every thought of you. We're getting there Mommy. Slowly the memories of you in the hospital bed fighting the big C are fading. They are being replaced by happy remembrances of you! You being a nagdadalagang Aero-Mom (I used to scan your outfit and make you change if it's too much to handle). You being a upright Barangay Lupon who by the way still holds the record of having the most cases solved. You being a dedicated servant of God as Mother Butler. You being a certified Senior Citizen Organization leader who fought for those who couldn't stand up for themselves. You being the most faithful and loving wife to Daddy. You being the most caring, hardworking, diligent, and proud lola to your apos. And you, being the patient, open-minded, understanding, supportive, strong, loving, and positive Mommy to me and my siblings.
A year without you Mommy, was indeed a tough road, and we're still getting used to it. But knowing in our hearts that you're at peace with your Creator in heaven made it all easy for us to accept your absence and made it lighter for us to move on and let you go.
I miss you everyday Mommy. I'm sorry because I don't think I will ever stop missing you. See you again Mommy... but not soon, please not soon. I LOVE YOU and I FOREVER WILL!