Wow, I love the sound of that! If you only knew how often I whisper your name as I watch you from up here—it’s the sweetest sound, far sweeter than the melodious sound of the harps and flutes that we play here.
Heaven is such a beautiful and happy and glorious place, but there’s one spot that I would rather be in. It’s the one spot that, no matter how much time has passed, its memory still lingers with me. It was my shelter, my refuge, my comfort zone. It was my personal heaven there on earth. It was the one spot where I felt completely safe; where I knew that nothing and no one could ever harm me. The one spot where I grew to know only one kind of love. Your love.
Mom, I miss being inside your womb.
I miss your comforting voice and the funny little noises and strange sounds that you used to make when talking to me. I miss the gentle feel of your hands on your tummy each time you felt me move inside you, or when you caress me when reading me a book or when you stroke your belly in time with the tempo of the classical music you made me listen to. I miss your laughter and the animated way you talk. I miss the protective embrace you used to give me when you would accidentally bump into something. I miss everything about you, Mom.
If I could, I would have stayed forever in your womb.
But, then, God had other plans for us.
I was inside you for only three months when your world shattered and all the joy in you vanished. It was the moment you were told that I had Turner’s Syndrome and cystic hygroma. I couldn’t possibly survive those congenital abnormalities, the doctors said, so you were advised to have an abortion. But, no, you were adamant, Mommy. You fought for me. You wanted to hold on to me until such time when God would eventually take me back with Him to His kingdom.
I knew how hard it was for you and Daddy to accept our fate. (I was, after all, your answered prayer – a miracle growing inside of you, the first among your big bunch of future children.) But with your impenetrable faith and continued hope for a divine miracle, you tried to live each day with renewed energy and enthusiasm. For me.
And so, just like with a bittersweet summer romance, you continued to carry me inside you knowing that you couldn’t keep me.
You knew what to expect, but my death almost three months after still left you reeling, crushed and devastated. I knew that a part of you died with me that day.
I tried to visit you in your dreams as often as you would allow me. I wanted to tell you that I was in a better place, to reassure you that I wouldn’t mind if you decided to move on. I would have loved to see you smile again, Mommy.
And, so, when you got pregnant with Veronica, I was ecstatic!
I sensed all your initial doubt, worry and fear, and your relief after each successful prenatal check-up and the doctor’s repeated assurances that everything was fine. I saw how extra-careful you were with Veronica, afraid that one tiny mishap might adversely affect her.
I was excited when I saw all those baby stuff and pieces of furniture that you bought a few weeks before her arrival. And, oh, the baby shower! It was beautiful, Mom, and I was touched by the thoughtfulness and generosity of your friends and colleagues who threw it for you. You must have been a very good friend to them to deserve that.
When you were finally rushed to the hospital due to contractions, I was there with you. And when you opted for a natural childbirth since your insurance wouldn’t cover epidurals, I cringed. I knew that, somehow, you welcomed that chance to feel all the physical pains that labor naturally entails because, with me, you were robbed of that opportunity. But I was also aware of what was to come.
True enough, you were soon moaning and crying and shouting with the unbearable, excruciating, burning pain of trying to push Veronica out of your body. (Up to this day, it still boggles my mind why only moms get to experience all the pains of childbirth. Shouldn’t dads share those with moms, too?)
When Veronica eventually popped out, I too was thrilled to see her. But when I saw your face creased with worry when she didn’t make a single sound, I began to get scared. For Veronica. For Daddy. For you.
Mostly, for you, Mom.
Veronica was turning blue, you were getting hysterical, and the medical staff was in chaos. They rushed the baby to the NICU, and you were left dumbfounded, incredulous and disconcerted. You couldn’t believe that you were experiencing that all over again. I couldn’t either.
At least, with me, you knew what to expect. But with Veronica, you were caught completely off guard.
When we followed Veronica to the NICU, we saw how beautiful, how healthy, and how perfectly normal she appeared—and how pitiful, with all those tubes attached to her tiny body. We learned that she had a congenital heart defect, a condition that could easily be detected during a prenatal ultrasound but was obviously overlooked by your doctor.
You were heartbroken especially since you were not allowed to hold her, but with the doctor’s plan to fly her to Hawaii from Guam for surgery, you were still brimming with hope. I saw how you and Daddy drew strength from each other, and from your trust and faith in God.
Shockingly, though, Veronica left after only about 28 hours of literally fighting for her life.
Oh, Mommy, I wish there was something I could have done to take away all your pain. If only I had the power to bring Veronica back to you, I would. In a jiffy. No parent deserves to experience the agonizing grief of losing a child. Yet, you did—two times in a row.
You didn’t have any other choice but to accept what happened and to offer Veronica up to God just like what you did with me but, for a long time, you remained withdrawn and depressed. There was no life left in you.
They say that, with the loss of a loved one, the pain never really goes away. One only learns how to live with it.
I saw how you strived to get up each morning pretending that you were alright. To the world, you were Strength personified. We both knew, though, how you would curl up on your bed each night and cry yourself to sleep, hoping that it was all just a nightmare that you could wake up from.
When you and Daddy moved to Virginia in 2000, I was one with you in looking forward to a fresh, new start.
So when you received the good news that you were pregnant after consulting with specialists and genetic counselors and undergoing fertility workups, I told myself, “This is it. We’re done with the storms. It’s now time to welcome the bright, brilliant sun!”
When you successfully delivered Aaron via CS, and heard his very first cry, we all cried with him. That time, though, the tears we shed were of unadulterated joy.
Life was good. You seemed like your old self again. You smiled more often, laughed a little louder, moved with springy strides. You found your purpose.
Little did you know that you were about to face another challenge.
You noticed that Aaron was already two years old yet he was yet to speak a single word. He behaved oddly, was prone to frequent and uncontrollable temper tantrums, and was different from other children his own age. He wouldn’t socialize with other kids, either.
Numerous tests on him later revealed that he had delayed language development and borderline autism.
Again, you felt dejected and overcome by adversity. You began doubting yourself. “Am I not really fit for motherhood?” “Does God not consider me worthy enough?” “Am I a bad person to deserve all these?”
But you didn’t allow yourself to be defeated by those paralyzing emotions. You didn’t have that luxury. You had to be strong because someone heavily depended on that strength. Aaron needed you.
Each day proved to be a struggle but you and Daddy were still grateful to God for everything. You knew that He places the heaviest burden on those who can carry its weight, so you felt honored that God considered you among the strongest of His children.
I really admire that in you, Mom. Your faith is simply indomitable and unshakable.
More than three years after, you got pregnant again—and that indomitable and unshakable faith was put to the test once more.
During the third month of your pregnancy, your doctor discovered that, due to a neural tube defect, the baby had no skull and her brain would not develop. She had 0% of survival.
Everyone from both the medical and clinical fields that you happened to talk to agreed on one thing—that you should have the baby aborted as soon as possible.
Yes, that sounded familiar. You were told to terminate the pregnancy too when they learned that I couldn’t possibly make it. But with this little one, your third perinatal loss, even some of your relatives and friends advised you to have an abortion.
You knew that they meant well—they were all concerned that “prolonging your agony” would be too much for you to handle. Well, I guess, they didn’t know you that well, do they?
So like the protective mother grizzly bear that you were, you held on to the precious baby in your womb. You treasured each experience you had with her—seeing her during the ultrasound scans, hearing her heartbeat, feeling her kicks. She was very much alive, and you were her only lifeline. What kind of mother would intentionally cut the connection that was keeping her alive? Definitely, not you, Mom!
You gave birth to Angeli after a full term.
She was so beautiful, Mom, and so was the baptismal ceremony for Angeli that you specifically requested, prepared for and witnessed.
She stayed with you, Daddy and Aaron for just a total of 108 hours, but she managed to leave you with a lifetime of sweet memories. For that short a time, you were a mother to a baby girl, Moml! Knowing you, I was sure that that wonderful experience would stay with you for the rest of your life.
With all four of us, you cried buckets. Your heart got shattered into many tiny pieces. You experienced being thrust into an abyss of doubt, sadness and grief.
God must have seen all that, and so, he decided to reward you. Finally.
Aiden, our bunso, is such a darling. He is sweet, affectionate, obedient and, most importantly, perfectly healthy. I love watching him and his Kuya Aaron together—just two boys having fun and enjoying each other’s company. And how he loves to please you! Imagine joining (and finishing!) a 5K race so as to make you and Daddy proud.
Mom, I know that you’re okay now. But when clouds once again block the sun and threaten to cast gloom over your smooth-sailing life, when you think that you’re all alone and the universe is conspiring against you, remember that I’m always near. Together with Veronica and Angeli, we are your three personal angels keeping constant watch over you.
Take care of yourself, Mommy. I love you and I miss you very much. Happy Mothers’ Day to you!