"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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Beautiful Memory of a Beautiful Boy

While Jhon watches his World Cup game I cozy myself to write this special entry about this beautiful memory of our baby Marcus. It's been long overdue.

During the darkest moments of our grieving, Jhon and I aided ourselves with helpful reading and journaling. Though the most important aspect of our healing is prayer. We surrendered all our worries and heartaches to God and prayed, foremost for the eternal repose of the soul of our son. Until now we see to it that we pray for our little angel everyday. During the course of our grief we have proudly become prayerful.

When the 40th day of Marcus was reaching (March 17th), I thought of giving our families something notable to remember our son with. It was going to be his Send-Off To Heaven. I did not want him to be forgotten in time. I wanted something that they can keep with them and always remember our son by. I wanted them to also continue to pray for him, as well as to be reminded to pray. That was essentially the remembrance and the gift we wanted to give them of our Marcus... the gift of not just any jewelry, but the gift of prayer.

When Ate Belle gifted us with amethyst bracelets early on in our grieving we were reminded of the healing attributes of crystals. The amethysts truly helped lessen the heaviness of our heartbreak. We wanted to share that healing to family as well. We hoped for Marcus' remembrance to heal them not only through prayer but through the healing properties of precious minerals as well.

Prayer and healing crystals combined led me to the thought of a rosary bracelet. Something that we can all wear as often and will lovingly remind us of our darling Marcus. After much research, we came up with a design that will suit all ages and lifestyle of each family member. We decided to use the amethyst because it is Marcus' birth stone, it represents him perfectly, and its healing properties are appropriate to our needs. The rose quartz because of its particular trait of healing a broken heart.
Power Stone
It is used as a dream stone and to help insomnia. Put an amethyst under your pillow to bring about pleasant dreams, or rub it across your forehead to offer relief from a headache.
Protection Stone
Ancient Egyptians used the amethyst guard against guilty and fearful feelings. It has been worn as protection from self-deception, as well as a protection against witchcraft. The amethyst has long been used to open the spiritual and psychic centers, making it one of the power stones. It is also used as a meditation aid when worn as a necklace.
Wisdom Stone
The amethyst is known as the Bishop's Stone and is still worn by Catholic Bishops. The amethyst symbolizes piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom. It is thought the amethyst is the perfect stone to symbolize The Age of Aquarius.
Healing Properties of Amethyst
Amethyst is a gemstone often worn by healers, as it has the power to focus energy. A healer will usually wear several pieces of jewelry with amethysts set in silver, especially an amethyst necklace. The person to be healed will have an Amethyst to hold while the healing is being done. The healer will place another piece of Amethyst on the area of the body in need of healing, the heart or lungs usually.
Amethyst is used for problems in the blood and in breathing problems. Amethyst crystal clusters are used to keep the air and life force in the home clean and positive.
Amethyst clusters, points or several tumbled Amethysts placed in a window that receives sun most of the day are very beneficial to use in healing and to heal negativity in the home. Place Amethyst clusters, points or several tumbled Amethysts in moonlight and everyone in the home will be feeling calmer. Using an Amethyst as a meditation focus will increase the positive spiritual feelings. Amethyst helps overcome fears and cravings. It also helps relieve headaches.
Your marriage can have more sparkle and fire when you keep a rose quartz under your pillow. You will look younger too.
Rose quartz is known as the love stone. It helps the user feel a strong sense of self-worth, therefore being worth love. Rose quartz is the stone of universal love. It is also the stone of love in marriage. When worn in jewelry the wearer feels a sense of self-worth.
Healing Properties of Rose Quartz
Rose Quartz has a gentle vibration of love for the owner. It gives inner peace and helps in all matters pertaining to love in all its forms. Rose Quartz opens the heart to love. It also helps as a rejuvenator to the skin. It is a lovely stone for a young person.
It is said washing the face in water charged by rose quartz will help fade wrinkles and keep the skin young.
Jhon mentioned to me early on that Ferdi wears a necklace with Marcus' name on it. That definitely touched me and I wanted each family member to carry his name with them as well. We thought to include it with the rosary to make it even more special. Nothing is more fitting than a heart charm engraved with his beautiful name. A detail that will truly make the rosary his own and close to each member's heart.

It was very important to us that this project be flawless and overall perfect. This was to be a memory of our dear Marcus. We knew it was not a jeweler we needed but a skilled and meticulous beader. The timing of Jhon finding Ysa online was perfect, almost serendipitous.

I feel it is suiting to not only to reiterate our journey with Ysa but to offer her with a testimonial as well because if not for her dedication, Jhon and I would not have accomplished this project with 100% satisfaction.

Ysa Yason (The Charmed Life) specializes not only in making bead accessories but most importantly she is a crystal enthusiast and believer who has an expert eye in such. She promotes the positive well-being that crystals represent. When she emailed me the amethyst and rose quartz she planned to use for the rosaries, Jhon and I knew she was the one we wanted to execute our baby's special remembrance.

From the get-go after Jhon mentioned to her how we planned to use the rosaries, she expressed her sincere interest and dedication to the project. Even weeks after their initial talk, she did not hesitate to take on the task.
"Although I have many projects as of the moment, it is my honor to be making this very special project in remembrance of baby Marcus, it will be one of my most special. ... I am very touched with your story and I pray for your peace."
Jhon and I encountered quite a number of challenges during the course of this project. We knew we were going to be as detailed as possible to ensure that each rosary will last forever, if not, at least withstand some physical stress especially since it will be used by our young and very active nieces and nephews. This nagging need for perfection and attention to detail led us to delay the distribution of the rosaries until they were perfect.

We personally chose and bought the more important components ourselves from the heart charm to the Cross and Mother Mary/Divine Mercy pendant. We also made sure that we used sterling silver chains to perfectly match the healing crystals. Ysa's valuable suggestions as to the more resilient designs to use for the chains were very helpful not to mention beautiful.

We appreciated that Ysa addressed every concern with the same meticulousness. She delivered with flying colors. Her attention to detail was evident in each rosary bracelet. From the samples to the finished product it was obvious she took her time working on each individual piece to make it perfect. She honestly exceeded our expectations.

Ysa assembled 29 rosary bracelets in less than 5 days. When we received the finished pieces we felt very excited and relieved at the same time. We were obviously looking forward to finally distributing one of our baby's most precious memories yet we were also very relieved that we were giving away something truly beautiful to look at.

Together with the package that arrived was a personal handwritten note from Ysa. Re-reading what she wrote now, I can't help but feel privileged, her words were warm and sincere and I was definitely moved on how this project truly meant to her. Without disrespecting the personal nature of her note, I would like to share her words for it is a true testament of how Marcus touches people's lives in many ways.
Dear Marjorie and Jhon,
This is such a special project and I feel so honored that you trusted me in making these bracelets.
This was a learning experience for me in many ways and I say from the bottom of my heart that your son is truly an angel, touching so many people's hearts.
You are blessed and I wish you the best.
I thanked Ysa via text message and relayed how very pleased we are of the rosaries. There was no doubt she took extra effort into making each rosary special. It was so diligently assembled that it looked almost machine-made. Her response message brought tears to my eyes.
"... Of course you know this already but I just want to let you know I feel that your son is always watching over you. All I could think about while doing every piece was 'make it nice for them, make it nice for them.' There were many times I had to redo a piece to make it better. I'm thinking now it was your little angel whispering to me to make it nice for his Mama and Papa. I was kind of embarrassed to tell you that 'cause we don't know each other but I just need to let you know that. That's why I included in the note that you're blessed because you have an angel watching over you. Take care."
Even before she expressed her thoughts on this project I already knew I was going to write about it. This project brought about a lot of emotions because it is too special to us. And I was jubilant that it produced such beautiful personalized pieces. Ysa made it happen. I was very thankful for the work that Ysa did that I told her of my planned blog entry. I wanted to keep it mum until the post but I was filled with gratitude that I could not help but tell her in advance. I hope she humors me as I share her response message yet again.
"Oh Marjorie, thank you so much. That made me teary eyed again. This project reminded me so much why I love what I do. Thank you and I truly wish you the best. Thank you for sharing your story through your blog. My heart aches for you, I can't say I understand 'cause I can't even imagine the grief. I pray for you and I know it is but little consolation but please know your son's short time touched so many people more than a person who lived a hundred years. I truly wish you the best."
I opted to share her messages because I feel hers is a sincere expression of how Marcus' magic lingers. I believe our son's life truly touched her and it definitely showed in her work. I shared her messages too to show how good of a person she is and how her honesty shows she has a big heart. I am also very thankful of her because she made it happen not only for Jhon and I but especially for Marcus ultimately.

In truth, we were quite concerned on how to make a handmade piece as flawless as possible. We knew there were a number of limitations when it comes to handmade accessories. We almost came to a point of having them 'finished' by a jeweler. But Ysa put our worries to rest. She saw to it that the components she used were of quality and the construction of each was carefully assembled. It is not surprising she regarded herself as an artist of her craft. This is more than just a business for her, it is her passion. And it showed.

Thank you Ysa. And thank you for acknowledging the life of our Marcus.

After having them blessed, Jhon and I gave away the rosary bracelets on Mama Myrna's birthday, June 14th. We felt it was appropriate that day because it was a day of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for yet another blessed year for our Mama (many more years to come) as well as thanksgiving for our little angel Marcus. We wanted to give each rosary personally instead of just having them delivered. It was Marcus' gift to them.

As originally planned in our little angel's Send-Off To Heaven, we distributed each bracelet with our baby's personal prayer card and a note describing each respective healing crystal, all package in a little silver paper bag. After much effort that we put into executing this project, Jhon and I placed a personal note inside each box to express how truly special this rosary means to us with the hope of them treasuring it equally.

Ate Belle who witnessed the process we went through into transforming these rosaries noticed for a fact that they are truly beautiful. Every time I see her, I see her wearing Marcus' bracelet and wristband with pride.

Our Mama Myrna wears hers proudly as well. She does not wear any other accessory but the rosary.

Our sweet niece Daniela girl, wears her bracelet to school and makes sure she keeps the box ready in her bag for safe storage.

Our darling Cielo pie also brings her rosary bracelet safe in its box to school everyday and wears her wristband even to sleep.

Our sweet nephew Miguel, wears his wristband "all the time even when he takes a bath" as he proudly says it. He also brings his rosary to school everyday as they require them in Ateneo.

Our young lady niece Bea never takes off her wristband. When I see her, she wears her rosary proudly and with much care.

Our big boy nephew Jake wears his wristband to school everyday.

Regina messaged me after receiving her rosary and said she will never leave home without it. Marcus' prayer card is kept in her wallet for her to look at always. She lovingly mentioned that "nothing will ever come close to this gift." She messaged Jhon recently and said she has gotten numerous compliments from wearing the bracelet.

Jhon and I continue to pray everyday for our son and for our healing. Though now we pray using the very special rosaries we have in remembrance of our Marcus.

We wish for our families to experience the same healing and hope the rosary bracelet provides us and the meaning it ultimately represents... the loving memory of our dear little angel Marcus.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I am Marcus' Papa

Several days before Father's day, I was at the mall running an errand when I came across a father and son sitting quietly at the cafe. As I made my way pass them I noticed the son was sleeping securely on his father's arms and shoulder. His father holding him with the utmost care one can give his child. He too catches a few winks as they wait for mommy to come back.

I tell myself with a smile and some amount of grief, "that could've been Marcus and I." I carry on about my errand facing another day without my boy.

I smile because I had thoughts that it was Marcus and I sitting on that couch waiting for Mama Jet. Crazy as it sounds, but I do daydream often about Marcus. I always want to remember my son as he were alive. I know in my heart and mind that he is very much alive in heaven waiting patiently for his family.

June 20, 2010, Father's Day. I didn't feel much sadness during this day. Jet greeted me, my family greeted me, I know my son was with me. I couldn't help but feel proud to be a father. I am especially proud because God gave us such a handsome and wonderful little boy. He gave us more than anybody could with his short time here on earth. For that, I am even more proud to be his father.

As the day progressed into the night, I was given the most wonderful gift a father could receive from his angel son. Mama Jet, worked all day and dug deep to connect with our Marcus as they collaborated to create the most beautiful message a son would give his father.

Both joy and sadness filled my heart, the tears fell as I read my "Electronic Journal." It brought back so many wonderful memories and feelings we experienced together as a family, yet it's just Mama Jet, Lola, and I that remain here today... We will always have our moments in which we feel bereaved, that will never go away but we have equipped ourselves with the tools that bring faith to our little family.

The scene I witnessed at the mall meant more to me than just another father and child. It gave me a short glimpse as to what I could expect in the future. It gives me hope that one day I too will be given a yet another chance to be the father I want to be.

When that day comes I'll be ready as I ever will be. And most importantly to always keep and hold his memory safe for the rest of my life, because I am Marcus' Papa...


To my Marcus, Jet and Lola. I love you all!
Papa is always here for you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What I Would Give

Reading through works of a bereaved mother, Stephanie Paige Cole, who turned the loss of her daughter count in a much bigger way, I stumbled upon a poem she wrote that spoke of exactly how I feel about mothers in general.

I have yet to be a mother of a living child though I feel the alienation of a mother with an angel child. I wish for no one to experience this enigmatic pain.

I do not resent mothers who have living children, quite the opposite actually. Lucky is the word I'd use. Oh how lucky they are. I can just imagine the joy and pride they feel for having the chance to nurture and raise their miracles. How privileged they are!

What I would give to experience sleepless nights cradling my child in my arms, lulling him to sleep. Waking up early in the morning and ready him to school. To be there for him throughout his growing years. The future that will never be.

Do you grumble about how difficult it is to be a mother with children to raise? Oh how lucky you are!

Why I Cannot Join A Moms Group
Stephanie Paige Cole

Surrounded by women

With children in their arms

On their laps

Circling their legs

I belong and I don't

I meet the criteria to be in this club

With a little one balanced on my hip

Playing with my hair

It is a typical mom conversation

What foods have you introduced?

Is he sleeping through the night?

Anyone thinking about having a second?

That's not what’s on my mind

There's a little girl laughing in the corner

She would be just her age

Now I am choking on thoughts

That I cannot turn to words

I will not allow myself to cry here

But I miss her I miss her I miss her

You will alienate yourself

You will be the-woman-with-the-dead-baby

You will not make new friends

I repeat it until I accept it

I chat about teething

I go home and cry

Yes he’s sleeping through the night

He likes pears and avocado

And we’re starting to think about having another

But that would be our third.

And you don’t realize how good you have it

There are things worse than sleepless nights

with cranky infants

There are sleepless nights alone

Monday, June 21, 2010

To Papa on Father's Day... From Marcus Baby

Dear Papa Jhon,

I have been thinking for weeks on something special to do for your very first Father's Day. How can I top the special poem, gorgeous flowers, and delectable cake you gave me on my day? We both know that nothing 'just material' will be suffice. I had to be creative.

I hope you liked the animated journal made speaking from the thoughts and words of our little Marcus. I spoke to our baby the whole time, and asked him to help me write the words he would have told you.

I know how special our 7 months together is to you Papa. These memories we have of our baby Marcus is treasured. And I knew Marcus wanted to tell you too how much love he felt during our pregnancy.

We love you very much Papa... me, baby Marcus, and Lola. We are very blessed to have you taking care of us and loving us. Thank you for spoiling us rotten.

Jhon, you are my best friend, you are my life. You know how much I love you...

Happy Father's Day! Love love love!

To Papa on Father's Day... From Marcus Baby

Friday, June 18, 2010

Good Grief, Bad Grief

A close family member told me lately that there are different forms of grief -- various instances where we experience feelings of loss. Since we lost Marcus I have read a number of books stating this same fact as well and I acknowledge it. We grieve when a loved one is lost, may it be through death or broken relationships. We grieve when we lose a job or a business which we have learned to love all these years. We grieve when we lose a business deal. We grieve when we lose material things that we consider priceless and irreplaceable. By definition, loss simply means an end to something. What was once there is now gone, sometimes nowhere to be found.

Interestingly enough, while I jot down these types of losses, one Filipino word keeps on repeating in my head. "Sayang." A very common term Filipinos say when they feel something worthwhile is wasted. With Americans, they usually say, "What a waste."

But what is considered "sayang" anyways? Is it right to weigh these losses into different degrees of depth? Which weighs more than the other?

The most common form of grief that people automatically attach with the word is death. Coming from a person who has lost 2 loved ones in 4 years - 3 in 10 years - and most recently 1 just 4 months ago, sadly I have become an expert in losses. Maybe I could call it a progressive loss, where the pain of losing one loved one at a time gets deeper and more intense each time. And each time, it digs deeper and deeper into the core of my still wounded, barely recovered heart. Ten years ago I lost my Nanay (our nanny) who took care of us siblings since birth, four years ago I lost our Papa Jaime, and just four months ago I lost my infant son Marcus.

So why does grief significantly coincide with death compared to the others I mentioned early on?

Because death is final.

The finality of death is unspeakable. One can't even comprehend the unfathomable despair of death until they experience it themselves. It is more than a closed book, bigger than packing your bags, greater than seeing someone exit the door, more significant than cleaning up your office, more than signing divorce papers, hugely different from surrendering the keys, graver than anything material that one could possibly lose.

When someone loses a loved one through a broken relationship, the people involved seldom reconcile. And when or if they ever do, there will always remain some sort of unspoken bad blood between the two. The bottom line, shouldn't that be considered as "good riddance" anyway? If you were wronged, the emotional baggage is not worth hanging on to. Though ultimately, the person is still very much there. No matter how burnt the bridge is, it can always be rebuilt.

Losing material things is another. When you lose a job or business, a house or car, a business deal -- all of these can be replaced even superseded. The time and effort one has put into acquiring it is greatly considered, yes, and it is a waste. "Sayang." Yet the obvious fact is, it can all be obtained again, in one form or another. The bottom line, it can be fixed.

This does not say that one loss deserves better acknowledgment than the other. Who wants to experience greater grief than the other anyway? I assume nobody would want to be included in this contest. Life in itself is dramatic enough. I seriously do not wish for anyone to experience the extreme heartbreak I currently live through.

I usually wonder why some people see it that Jhon and I should be over our grief by now. Is there a time limit to grieving? Is 4 months enough time to finally lock up our emotions and treat life as if we never lost a child? Is Marcus' short life easier to get over compared to a person who lived a hundred years? I wonder again, if people looked at themselves during times when they were in deep grief, would they have told themselves to stop feeling? Scathing, yes. Pun very much intended.

Grief does not have to be altogether bad. Grieving does not mean you are weak. Grieving and being true to yourself does not mean you are dwelling. Jhon and I have reached a point in our mourning where we are learning how to live with it. The fact of the matter is, it is the additional stress and external forces in life that compound the affliction.

The vital detail that needs to be addressed is how you channel grief into something monumental, something positive.

Good Grief.

Grieving does not automatically define us to be sulking and sinking into deep depression. Our 4 short months of grief has taught Jhon and I to better ourselves. We are fortunate enough to have found books that aided in our healing. These books paved our path to acceptance. During times when we could not articulate the emotional roller coaster of it all, these books shed light into every perplexing feeling we experienced. Expert advice of clinical psychologists who specialize in neonatal loss and grief; stories of other parents who went through the same experiences we did and offered learning 'modules' into understanding grief and channeling it into meaningful actions. We are still very much grieving though we do not see wrong in that. Our grief does not cripple us, it empowers us.

The short life of our son taught us to live a more meaningful life. His memory fuels us into doing good for others. Every time I have an epiphany for a project to honor Marcus it lifts my spirits knowing that because of him we are living a life not only for ourselves but for others as well. My heartache and loss is channeled into something positive.

"Sayang?" I refuse to believe that the loss of our son has gone to waste, in a matter of speaking. His short life is not "sayang." Our grief and intense longing for him is "not a waste." The magic of Marcus has turned a gruesome negative into a momentous positive. This is a pivotal time in our lives and we consciously decide to utilize it for others.

Marcus' love has catapulted us into becoming humble benefactors to select recipients, one Baby Step at a time. His love emanates. Hence, The Love Of Marcus Fund.

A labor of love to honor his memory and to make his short life count through outreach projects. Simple and pure. It is not bound by selfish reasons or illusions of grandeur. Pure love, pure assistance.

The Love Of Marcus Fund.

Friday, June 11, 2010

We Remain Grateful... Thank You Dear Friends

Roughly 4 months ago, Jhon and I received some very touching messages. Without consciously knowing that we needed it, we felt truly overwhelmed with the outpour of love and sympathy we got not only from family and close friends but from unexpected friends and acquaintances.

Mostly throughout the span of our pregnancy, we chose our miracle to generally be a 'need-to-know' basis. Though we were not hiding our blessing, we considered it as privileged information. It was our intent to keep the whole experience of our son, our tremendous joy -- pure and untarnished. We did not want any negative energy hovering around us during the whole course. We wanted only happiness and positivity surrounding our Marcus.

When the quiet news went around that we have lost our son, Jhon and I were flooded with thoughts of sympathy and prayers. Some even considerately mentioned that they had no idea we were expecting and were truly devastated for us. It was all unexpected.

Outright we want to acknowledge the love and support of our closest friends who came to Marcus' service. With only a moment's notice (1 day) through text message, they went out of their way to be there for us, took time off their busy workday schedule to pray with us and offer support as we laid our beautiful son to rest.
Jinno Rufino, Mike Thio, Anna Puey, Hubert Tan, Leo Capinpin, Mark Chua, Celine Robinson, Ghengis Enrique, Angela Valenton, Nic, Greg Anonas, Trixie Reyes, Patricia Malay, Mela Vicente, OJ Maliuanag

One of my best friends, Trixie, flew straight from CDO to witness the beauty of our Marcus and was at our side while we cried tears for him.

Jinno's message of support was touching. “Jhon, you know I’m always here for you. I have been before and will continue to do so for you both. I’m just a call or text away. I know you will continue to be strong and one day raise beautiful children. God bless you both.”

Mike's sympathy was moving. “Jhon my heart pours out for you and Jet. I am so sorry you had to go through this and it makes me sad knowing that such great people have to go through so much undeserving pain. I am always here for you whenever you need me. Please call me anytime. You are always in my prayers.”

Friends of family who we did not expect to come but did through the kindness of their hearts.
Aisha Jaafar, Saladin Jaafar, Faricia Jaafar, Frances Deocadiz, Carol Hoese, Alex Campbell, Suzette Ledesma
Others extended their sympathy through text messages and Facebook.
Billie Roche, Norman Velasco, Rico Robles, Fatima Angela, Apple Arboleda Delfin, George Olarte, Geoff Chen, Rudolph Ganzon, Mike Sy, Angela Garcia, Hansen Nichols, Dru Baltazar, Paul Limjoco, Miguel Blardony, Abby Sunglao, Adora Cantillon, Erica Ilacad, Diana Fonseca, Katrina Primavera, Tollo Bote, Sharmaine Cantillon, Mary Ann Nicolas, Marge Enrique, Fayinna Zaragoza, Korina Nevada, Trina Salavante, Paul Genato, Jona Bagadion, Rhea Lin, Sarah Meier-Albano, Aina Sun, Ate Aida Sunglao-Canlas, Mayi Teodoro, Trina Mears, Greg Chua, Ate Gaylie, Fatima Jaafar, Abbie Manlapaz, Mila Salazar-Bruan, Mitch Ramirez, Jerome Tan, Gerald Ganzon, Bong de Ocampo, Paul Olarte, Paulie Yllana, Kathrina Cantillon, Camille Santiago, Gimo Asuncion, Kristine Tan Liao-Williams, Justine Perrine, Dra. Lyra Clemente-Chua

Our friend Billie, weeks before we lost Marcus, bought booties for him - all the way from Houston - as a welcome present.

Grace Carlos, who I will forever thank for reaching out during our lowest moments and offering words of love and prayers. I will always feel a special connection with her. “I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I was so touched with the blog you created for him… ... ...I can just imagine what you are going through… God will pull us through.”

Jhon's family friends from Jersey, Kuya Romer and Ate Christine, sent a sympathy card through mail. The personal touch of receiving an actual card through traditional mail is sincerely heartwarming.

My high school classmates:

Trisha Martinez-Reyes, Jenny Vergara-Selga, Olga Cinco, Maureen Ava dela Cruz, Ade de las Alas, Andree Lou Kintanar, Rachelle Ruan, Melody Cortez-Rayala
One of my oldest friends Trisha, sent her love from New York, "Hi Jet, Just found out what happened to Marcus. Omigosh I feel so sad right now. Hope I was there to console you. I wish I was there talaga. Be strong ok. Kaya mo yan. We will be praying for Marcus. Just remember that everything happens for a reason. Pareho pa sila ng name ng inanaak mo his real name is Ralph Marcus. ... ... ... Believe me I know how you feel. Basta be strong ha and just keep on praying no matter what. I know sometimes sobrang malulungkot ka pero you have to fight it. Be positive always. Believe me things will be brighter again.....it will come just be patient. I maybe thousand of miles away but I'm here for you. Anytime you need to talk to me just email me and I'll call you. Take care my friend."

Ana Interino-Cezar, another good friend from high school, "My deepest condolences to you Jet and to your family. This blog brought tears to my eyes. My prayers are with you. Be strong, my friend."

Claire Mercado-Obias, a high school classmate, who although we never got close, sent a genuinely sentimental message that I treasure. "My Dearest Jet, I'm sending you a big hug today. I know it's not much but I want you to know that you are in my thoughts in this challenging time in your life. The slide show and blog that you started for Little Marcus has touched me (and I'm sure has touched a lot of people, too) and I want to say thank you for sharing your feelings. I know that writing down your thoughts, and most especially being appreciative of all your blessings, will help you & Jhon become stronger. There's this saying that goes, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." We may not understand why God has taken away a very special blessing, but that doesn't mean He doesn't love you. Keep the faith and hold onto His hand. Little Marcus will be in my prayers. I promise. Take Care & God Be With You Always, CLAIRE."

Ricah Ramos-Maramba, another high school classmate who I never thought would extend her sincere support and prayers to us truly moved me. "Hi Jet. I am so very sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your husband that God may give you strength thru this challenging time in your lives. Always remember that you have a friend in me. Message me anytime if you need anything!!"

A few old friends from NHC:

Carla Zensen Erazo, Samantha Novales-Floro, Charlie Tsai, Vicente Pajaro
Joshe Romo Leroux, another NHC friend who I haven't seen and heard from for a long time was one of the first ones to message from thousands of miles away, "So sorry my friend.. God works in mysterious ways and it is not for us to judge his decisions. I will pray for you from the distance and be sure that this will pass. God has something bigger for you.... Love, Maria"

Our close family friend and spiritual advisor, Fr. Patrick Guru sent his personal message of love and sympathy from Indonesia. “Gud pm John and Jet. I have heard about The Little Angel Marcus from Mache. I was happy for both of you that Jet could deliver a baby Marcus. We do know the plan of God for us and for him. He is now with God and becomes your guardian angel. I feel sorry to hear that he has gone. I do pray for him and for both of you. Condolence. God bless you all. Fr. Patrick Guru”

From Jhon's good friend Phil Lirag, “Jhon, I am SO sorry to hear the worst news a person can ever hear.... My condolences to you, Jett, and family. There are no words to say, nothing can be done to give you the satisfaction, but I do pray for Marcus, and hoping that time can heal your pain.... Again I’m so sorry to hear about your loss... God bless pare.”

Jo Tuazon-So, Jhon's friend whose sweet gesture donated to March of Dimes in the name of Marcus. “Read Regina's status. I didn't even know u guys were having a baby. I'm really really sorry, I can't imagine what ur going through. I'm preggers with a boy right now and we had a little scare that he was gonna come out at 26 weeks. Condolences Jhon. My prayers to u, ur little one, and the fam..”

Ana Miren Achaval, another good friend of Jhon who lives overseas messaged, "Jhon, I received a text early this morning here in LA about Marcus being in the NICU. I sincerely prayed for him. I'm sooooo sorry for your loss! My condolences and prayers to you and your family! I'm wishing you everything you need to get through this difficult time. With heartfelt condolences, Anami”

From Chris Gaisberger, "Jhon, I wish I had the words to take the pain away... But Life can be very unfair. You have a strong head on your shoulders and a good heart. Let this guide you to brighter days. I love you brotha!”

From Simon Corr, “Jhon, No mistaking this is going to be a really difficult time for you. Just to let you know my thoughts are with you... much love, Si”

From Michelle Tagle, "Your little one touched many hearts, mine included. Jhon you and your family are in our prayers, take care always.”

From Mj De Jesus Diaz, "Hope you're doing ok John... Be strong, God has His great plans for us, we may not see and understand them right away but trust in Him for He only has the best plans for each and everyone of us. God bless you and your family!!! Our condolences.”

Ate Belle's friend, Chiqui Soriano together with her family Eric and Mingy, extended their sympathy by sending mass cards.

Ate Mache's friends sent text messages of sympathy and prayers.

Walter Tolentino, DeeDee Deborah, Pac Quinsay, Raysh Reyes, Joyce Bangayan, Baby Tugbang, Rely Fajardo, Tita Marissa Serrano
Alain and Gina Duminy offered their precious time to help Ate Mache edit Marcus' pictures and create the slideshow for his service. They stayed up till after midnight and offered their labor of love for baby Marcus. Two weeks after his service, they gave us a small prayer book to aid us with our grieving.

Ate Remy Bantigue drove around till the wee hours of the morning looking for the perfect urn for baby Marcus. A special little urn for tiny babies.

Extended family members and loyal staff who stayed up almost the whole night to prepare for a flawless service for our baby boy.
Tita Lily Montealegre, Rhoda Maderazo, Gina Magluyan, Joey Torres, Alvin Torres, Tito Lando Montealegre, Inday Torres, Jimmy Bactol, Juret Torres
Hazel, Heritage Park's funeral director who extended her help to organize and lead Marcus' solemn memorial service.

Jhon ultimately obliged everybody with message of heartfelt thanks. While I still could not muster to communicate my thoughts and feelings to others, Jhon pulled through for us yet again.

Occasionally, we hear from friends to check up on how we are doing. We appreciate that they respect our privacy and space during these times while at the same time making sure we are holding up well.

Our dear friend Patricia Malay, who never gives up on us. “Jet, Jhon – was just praying and was moved to text you this: 1 Peter 4:12-13 says – dear friends, don’t be surprised at the painful trial u are suffering but rejoice that u participate in the sufferings of Christ U ARE BLESSED for the spirit of glory & of God rests on u. I’d just like to comfort u both that although we will never know why God allows what he allows, He does use even heartbreak & painful loss to show u that He is there to bear ur pain with u. And He promises comfort & peace despite the sadness. We just have to hold on to Him. The Lord uses these situations to show us that if we submit even our pains to Him, He will take care of us. So through pain, just hold on. He is there. And how blessed u are that ur family & friends are too. I pray for u constantly and also for baby Marcus. I love u both.”

On Valentine's Day I received a cherished and loving message from Trixie, "Dearest Jet, Happy Hearts day! I know you would have wanted to spend it with your Little Marcus physically, but God has other plans.. . For now you will have to be strong for your little Angel, who is cheering you on as you struggle with the toughest time in your life. I know what you are feeling is incomparable but I feel like my heart's been squeezed so hard and tears just fall off my eyes when I think of what happened to you, Jhonny, and Marcus. I didn't want to bother you by entertaining me, after little Marcus' cremation because I knew you and Jhonny were tired and you needed your alone time... Take care of yourself Jet and Jhonny baby. I know this Valentines day is a special one still because you have Little Angel Marcus engraved in your hearts :-) love yah J."

Jenny, one of my high school best friends, never forgets to cheer us on. "Jet, I'm praying for you guys especially baby Marcus. Take care... God has special plans for you both. I'm just here anytime you need me. Love you Jet, God bless. Always be strong."

Mela Vicente, our friend who even though far away sees to it that we hear from her. "Hey sweetie! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your blog. Thank you for your honesty. I wish I was there with you and Jhon. Write to me whenever you want even if you just need someone to listen. You're always in my prayers, Mela"

Now four months after the passing of our son, we remain grateful for all the love and support we received from everybody. Despite our reservations and maintaining a low profile during the course of our grief and loss of our precious Marcus, our considerate friends still made sure they offered some thoughtful words of sympathy.

We knew that in time we will find enough strength to thank everyone. We have not forgotten, we have not taken them for granted. Now we are ready, now is the time.

Though we know it is long overdue, we thank everyone. Thank you for showing you cared. No matter how awkward it was for you. Even though unsolicited, you went out of your way and conveyed support. We are very thankful. Our hearts overflow.

And our special thanks and gratitude to Fr. Santhosh who cancelled his various scheduled appointments to celebrate Holy Mass during our Marcus' service and on his 4oth day. He continues to pray for us and most especially for baby Marcus. Though he said his goodbye to us yesterday to go back to India, we will never forget him. We promise to stay in touch. We will talk to you soon Fr. Santhosh. We have so much to tell you.

In truth, we have more than a handful of friends who we, sadly, did not get to hear from. Friends who we expected to be the first ones in line to offer their sympathies. We are saddened by this turnout of events. Although it is their prerogative and we respect their distance. Death is an uncomfortable topic, more so if it's an infant who passed away. What more should we say? ...Though you won't hear us saying, "we understand."

But more importantly, thank you to you who were there, and to you who continue to be there for us. You are indeed invaluable instruments of our on-going healing and long road to acceptance.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Butterfly Mommies

May 14, 2010:

I was surfing around Blogger reading entries of other parents, mostly mothers, from blogs that they have started for their precious little angels. While browsing Footprints On Our Hearts I saw a link button appropriately named Butterfly Mommies. I knew right away this is a site I appropriately belong to.

Butterfly Mommies

Butterfly Mommies was visualized by Kristie Verret and Katy Larsen. Two mothers who themselves have babies living in heaven. They came together and offered a place for butterfly mommies to share their respective stories to one another and hopefully, for the general population to understand better the gravity and intensity of a mother's deep grief. I see it as a safe-haven for mothers with babies in heaven.

Katy and Kristie opened their site to any butterfly mommy willing to share their journey with others. With no second thought, I found myself sending an email to Katy and stated to her how an honor it would be to share our Marcus' story to their readers.

May 18, 2010:

I received a response email from Katy saying that she had included our blog in their list. Her email was uncomplicated and warm. The message of sympathy was heartfelt.

Their synopses for each blog list is very personalized and I was expecting for her to ask for a picture or some kind of a layout I would want used for the link. When she did not detail this in the email I immediately checked what they have come up with. I was excited.

I loved the way they incorporated Marcus' framed picture with the title of his blog. They kept the background white, which I truly appreciated. This simple gesture of creating and arranging a personalized abstract for my son's blog is very moving to me. I'm very thankful.

I responded to her email and thanked her for the very thoughtful gesture. I wished her and her family well and offered my prayers.

I wish Kristie and Katy the best in all their endeavors. These two butterfly mommies go out of their way to reach out to people who have experienced great loss. Among others, they have started a ministry called Anchored By Hope (www.anchoredbyhope.com), an "online Bible study and Christian support ministry for those suffering pregnancy and infant loss." Right when I read the mission of their cause from their website, I was instantly given comfort that I was understood and that God is there walking my journey with me.

The lead that Kristie and Katy take makes me stronger in my faith to accomplish my personal projects for my Marcus. I find that I am certainly on the right track to paying tribute to the wonderful memory of my son.

Though my child is not with me, I have experienced more than most mothers ever would. Being a butterfly mommy (or butterfly mama as I call myself) indeed gives us a higher purpose in life after our tragedy. As Marcus' mother, I vow to make my experience a stepping stone into something truly worthwhile; to reach out and help others, to make the mistakes done to us right for others. I vow to make the memory of Marcus undoubtedly count.

My eyes are wide open... I see things in a different light. This is my journey.