"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief... and unspeakable love.” - Washington Irving

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Turning a New Leaf

I noticed my journal that has been sitting on my bedside table while I was getting up this morning. I have a few journals and this particular one is what I wrote on when I was pregnant with my baby Marcus. On top of the journal was a list of 'to do's' I jotted down about two months back... prepping for Marcus' arrival. I was curious about what I wrote and thought to take a short glimpse. Repainting, shelving for Marcus, cabinetry, bathroom baby proofing, ... I ended up opening the journal and began reading my journey with my baby boy.

January 2010 I started writing in the journal. Not realizing it will all end too soon, I should have started earlier. Though in a way I am relieved I still have these memories written down. I will always have with me a very important remembrance of Marcus. It contains my purest and most intense feelings of affection for my son, while he was growing inside me. I spoke of his very active movements, how he loved kicking and exercising. I spoke about my fears - how I did not want him harmed in any way, my worries about my high glucose levels. I noted down every plan I had wanted for him - from his baby things, his room, his future. I wanted the best for him. I was going to spoil him rotten.

Most especially, I wrote down how he had changed my life. Before he came, I was living quite a selfish life. I was preoccupied with 'me.' But when my miracle came along I started to live a purposeful life. He made me a better person, he made my life worthy. I never realized a tiny person could open my eyes to a whole new beautiful world. I started to live a selfless life, I lived a life for Marcus, I lived a life of a mother. It was exhilarating.

My journal has many unused pages. Suddenly left blank, supposedly meant for future memories with our little one. When you look at my journal, it holds a deep representation of my life. How once I was a mother, full of hope and dreams for our son. As you turn the pages expecting to read more, you unexpectedly see blank, white unused leaves. A promise of a future drew to a halt.

I have a few journals. Looking back, it seems to represent different chapters in my life. Why? All of them having a common denominator -- all left with unused pages. Though my journal for and with Marcus, is 90% blank.

A few weeks ago I bought a new journal. I didn't realize that it meant another chapter in my life. A new chapter about living, but living a life without my son.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yesterday, Today

As I was cleaning my laptop, removing and filtering files from weeks and months back, I stumbled upon sites that I bookmarked... while I was pregnant with Marcus. Just seeing a glimpse of the addresses I shiver, from a mixture of dread and fear. I was scared to be reminded. That only a month ago I was searching for baby photographers, baby room wall stickers, furniture makers for our Marcus' bedroom, even for a bigger place to accommodate our growing family. I hesitantly clicked on each saved website and watched... in pain.

Memories rushed back, relived. I stared helplessly. Tears started to fall. Seconds after, I decided not to delete. One by one I moved them into a folder for safe-keeping. A part of me does not want to forget. Why would I erase part of a wonderful memory? A time when I was carefully planning for our baby's arrival, our future. It was bliss. It was Marcus.

I scrolled down. I felt disturbed by the sudden shift of topics I searched for. When I glance at websites I have saved the past weeks, I see articles, support groups, prayers, Bible verses, poems... for grieving and healing. Just 43 days ago. The promise of a beautiful life with our baby Marcus was abruptly halted. The unexpected turn of events just 43 days ago.

This is what I do now. This is my life... 43 days after.

I miss you terribly my baby Marcus. Mama woke up this morning hoping that you were in her arms. I would give anything just to cradle you one more time, my love. Though I am fine, do not worry about me. Everyday I teach myself to live a life without you. Yet I attest to live my life for you. Mama loves you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

40 Days

March 17, 2010, marks the 4oth day since Marcus' passing. Though in our hearts we know he is in heaven already, we celebrate this day to formally send him up to be with God our Father and be with the rest of our loved ones, most especially his Grandpa Jaime.

We offered mass for our dear Marcus, just as my family here in the Philippines and my siblings in France and San Francisco did. Although we weren't all together during this day, our hearts and minds were ONE filled with the Love and thought of our precious little boy.

40 days... I find myself much more emotional and in deep grief whenever I think about our little boy. I feel his loss even more now compared to the past few weeks. I look at his pictures, listen to his music, and recite his prayers and my tears flow like waterfalls. I often have a hard time breathing because the combination of the pain and my asthma make it even more difficult.

After mass, we had everyone tie a small card to balloons with a prayer for Marcus and each wrote a personal note before releasing it. It read:

Oh, Little Angel

Oh, little boy, we looked forward to the day you would be born,
But alas, the Lord left us forlorn.
You didn't leave us without a fight.
You fought to stay on Earth with all your might.
You are now resting in the heavens above,
You left surrounded by your family's strong love.
Our arms are now empty, our hearts are so sad,
You will always be remembered by your mom and your dad.
So to God your tiny soul we release.
We know that your heart is at eternal peace.

It was written by Mary Tetzlaff. What a fitting tribute by a loving parent to her son. We couldn't help but borrow her words to send our darling Marcus to heaven.

When the day drew to a close, I asked Jet, "Where do we go from here?"

Jet calmly replied, "We move on."

I can sense she was trying to be strong for the both of us, because I'm at my weakest right now.

Marcus left us but he didn't leave us empty handed. Although he isn't with us physically, he filled our hearts. He left us and filled our hearts with our Love for him. He left us and filled our hearts with Love of family and friends. He left us and filled our hearts with Love for one another. A gift of love that will never be broken and that will strengthen as each day passes when we think of him, always reminding us.

I thank the Lord and Marcus, for filling my heart with love that is even greater than ever before. Love for my parents, my siblings, my sister's husbands, Alexis, the Torres family, Lola, our friends, and most especially Jet.

To my darling Marcus, I love you and your Mama more and more each day!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

2 Loves, 2 Losses

30 days ago we lost our son, baby Marcus. 4 years ago we lost our father, Papa Jaime. Yesterday, March 6, the family gathered at Heritage Park to remember the greatness that was Papa Jaime.

The loss of our Papa is still very much felt within. Going on his 4th year, it was just starting to become easier getting by without him. But now I grieve for the loss of 2 loves.

When I lost Papa, I thought that was the hardest and most painful experience I ever had to go through in life. I thought wrong. Losing our darling Marcus is more heartbreaking than ever.

"When a parent dies we lose a piece of our past but when a child dies we lose a piece of our future." - Fathers Feel Too by Andrew Don

Fr. Santos, the priest at Marcus's memorial service was specially requested by our Mama to celebrate Holy Mass for Papa. We feel a certain connection with Fr. Santos. He was the one who anointed baby Marcus and the one who baptized him that fateful night. With him having witnessed our plight, we feel that he relates directly to how we feel and what we are going through.

He asked immediately after seeing us, "How are you?"

The last time we saw him was during Marcus' memorial service. There was comfort in seeing him again. We have been wanting to seek spiritual advice and guidance from him.

I told him that he might have mistaken us for another couple when Jhon called him for an invitation a few days ago.

"No, of course not, I always remember you. I can't forget the two of you," he assured. "I have been waiting for your call actually. I forgot to get your contact nos. before. I wanted to check up on how you two are doing. But I prayed for you everyday."

I mentioned how difficult it is for me to realize that I am now grieving the loss of 2 people I love dearly. He was out of words. All he can say was to always pray and remember the good times we shared with Papa, and that our baby Marcus is now our angel in heaven.

We plan to visit Fr. Santos soon and sit down with him. It would be refreshing to hear advice from the perspective of an apostle of God. He is a missionary priest who left his home, India, to serve the Filipinos, 15 years and running. For Jhon and I, he is untarnished. His spiritual wisdom will truly help ease our hearts from desolation.

We do our best to cope each day. One of the things that help us get by is the confidence that our little one, Marcus, is now resting in peace in heaven - and that Papa is there with him.

Friday, March 05, 2010

1st Month With-out Marcus

When I look out the window it is evident that the world below is going about it's day, doing it's normal routine. Might be selfish, but it's hard to stomach the fact that the world outside is not grieving alongside with me... each and every day.

And today is much harder to accept than usual. Today is our baby Marcus' supposed 1st month birthday. He would have already lived for 30 miraculous days. Looking back, I remember cousin Rhoda suggesting to me that day I delivered Marcus - before the toughest night of Jhon and I's lives - to do a monthly celebration for our little one as a thanksgiving. The supposed celebration has now transformed into deep sorrow.

Last night I was searching for books that might help me and Jhon get through our grieving process much easier. When I was going through various book synopses, it was comforting to know that we are not alone. Many parents are also silently grieving like we are. We grieve in silence because the outside world seem to have a hard time empathizing with bereaved parents like us. Though meaning well, most people see our story as "not much of a loss" as compared to a passed adult loved one. There just aren't enough memories to mourn about, they think. They find it difficult to sympathize for they have never met or seen our little one. "It could've been worse," they say. "Imagine if you lost him after a few months."

Though my Kuya Ken said before, "A loss is a loss... It doesn't make the situation less important or less painful just because Marcus only lived with us for a few hours." Kuya Ken and the rest of our immediate family members tell a different story. We are lucky to have such a supportive family. They feel for us because Marcus is their blood too.

But sometimes I think that I might be getting mad. Am I overreacting? Melodramatic? Masochistic? Am I supposed to move on much easier? Am I not allowed to grieve so deeply for our darling baby Marcus just because?

Knowing that parents just like us, who lost an infant child, go through the same arduous ordeal is a bit reassuring. What Jhon and I are going through right now is perfectly normal. We are not going crazy. No one can dictate us and say "just get over it and move on." For I believe in my heart that we will never truly heal. In time the wound will just seem less raw but it will never disappear.

I look forward to receiving the books I ordered. I anticipate reading about how other parents memorialize their little angels. How they cope with celebrating significant yet heart-wrenching dates such as birthdays and anniversaries, for we do not want our little Angel Marcus to be forgotten in time.

This blog that we started is more than just an online journal of our thoughts and journey through it all, but more importantly, this is a memorial for our darling Marcus. We want to share him to the world the best way we can. We want to proclaim our love for him and declare to the world the wonders he has done for me and Jhon, and those who have witnessed his beauty one way or another.

Our little Marcus has been an Angel in heaven for 30 days now, and counting. I believe that is something worth celebrating for.

This is how Jhon and I picture our little Angel Marcus in heaven. We love you our darling baby boy. We miss you more and more each day. God bless you and rest in peace.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

We Speak This Poem

Each day I search for different sites that will help us cope with questions in our hearts. I look for people... parents who also experienced the loss of a child. I seek Bible verses that will help us get through each trying day. Just now, I stumbled upon a site that focuses on bereavement. What a beautiful site. It had a tab especially for babies, which included preemie bereavement gowns just like the baptismal gown our little Marcus wore at his service. It also had a poem, a bereavement verse for loss of a child.

This poem touched me so deeply, I immediately had Jhon read it. Jhon and I share the same thoughts... it's like the author opened our hearts and wrote down our feelings for us. Verbatim, these are the words we want to convey about the loss of our son, Marcus.

God, Take This Child...
by Nancy Scott

Sweet child whom we never really got to know,
It's hard for us to let you go.
We waited and we wanted you.
We had so many dreams for you.

We think of smiles we'll never see.
We think of events that will never be.
There will be no first steps and no first teeth.
There is only a void and our own grief.

We planned to take you to places far and near.
We yearned to keep you safe and free from fear.
We hoped to show you much of the new world.
We wanted to teach you as your life unfurled.

It's hard to understand why you, our baby, died.
We feel so numb right now, many tears we've cried.
We have so many questions and no answers seem to come.
We tried so hard to save you; nothing could be done.

God, we stand before you broken-hearted
and ask you to heal these lives that must be parted
from this little one we can no longer hold,
who will always be part of us, even when we're old.

God, take this child in your loving arms.
No more can he suffer any harm.
Bless him always and bless us too.
Be with us and help us make it through.

We love you, our little Angel Marcus. We miss you so much.

Monday, March 01, 2010

God Saw You Getting Tired

God saw you getting tired,
And a cure was not to be.
So He wrapped His arms around you,
And whispered, "Come to me."

With tearful eyes we watched you
And saw you pass away
And although we love you dearly
We could not make you stay.

A Golden heart stopped beating
When He gave you rest.
God's garden must be beautiful;
He only takes the best.


Family and Friends

March... already seems like an eternity. I probably wouldn't even notice the days going by if I don't look at the calendar.

The last two to three days of February were kind to Jet and I. We found comfort in the company of each other as well as Lola. Our puppy never fails to give us something to smile and laugh about even if it was just temporary. Of course, the never ending support of our family and friends who are always there for us.

Friday night, Mike Thio, one of my best friends was throwing a party for his 31st birthday. Yet, he did not forget to invite Jet and I even though he knew we weren't going to make it. I know he was always thinking about Jet and I. We haven't seen him since Marcus' service.

Last Saturday, a dozen Crispy Creme donuts were delivered with some wonderful mangoes, strawberries, and home cooked food from my Mom and siblings. The night before, Mama sent cooked food from Conti's. Makes preparing food much simpler for us as we are still not 100% percent.

Later in the afternoon, Ate Belle and Miguel joined us for church. After church we proceeded down to CPK to have dinner where Jet and Ate Belle had some alone time while Miguel accompanied me to National Bookstore. Mama arrived soon after with Bea, Cielo, and Daniela. We were looking for Mica but she was still on her way home from her camping trip. We all shared dinner together, taking our time as we spent a nice evening together.

Yesterday, our dear friend Patricia sent us a wonderful message. She wrote:

"Hello, my dear friends. I've been busy and would like to spend time but work is crazy. But you're in my thoughts & prayers, just like today. I was moved to send u this - 1 Peter 5:7 says "casting the whole of ur care [all anxieties, worries, concerns once & for all] on Him, for He cares for u affectionately & cares about u watchfully". Be sure that even God hurts when u hurt, that ur pain is His pain, too. He doesn't like seeing his children cry. But He is also (in Psalm 6:26) your salvation, ur ROCK, DEFENSE, FORTRESS. When u can't He can! God loves u and I love you both. I'll see u soon!"
Jet and I can't thank our family and friends enough for the never ending love and support we receive each day. Not once, did any of them forget to message us, ask how we are doing, and to see that we are getting through okay. It makes coping with our loss easier.

I'm sure our Marcus is extremely proud just as Jet and I are, to have such loving family and friends.