I have a hard time with the word “celebrate” especially if we are talking about the day my mother passed. How about the word memorialize or remembering… but what comes to mind is that, the day my mother had been called up to the kingdom of heaven is the day of her coming face to face with our Lord. She now has eternal peace and eternal life. No more suffering. As yes, that is something to celebrate! 

I call this “angelversary” for my mother— is now my guardian angel 👼 

This month marks my mother’s second death anniversary. It’s a time for reflection, contemplation and a family gathering to remember her. I think of the last day I got to see her. I think about the last moment, her last breath. I feel sad every time I think about it.

I was not at my mothers side when she passed. 

We were 20,000 miles away from each other. Thankfully with the technology we have today, I was able to see her one last time. 

I had just traveled to the Philippines in the beginning of February of that year.  In my mind these are all borrowed times. And I also knew in my heart that she did not have enough time left. The day I left to come back to New Jersey I kissed her entire face, every inch of her face, her nose, her chin, lips, cheeks, eyes, her forehead, I kissed her hands.

 I try to memorize every inch of her. Every time I left her – my biggest fear was that there would not be a second chance. And sure enough two weeks after my departure from the Philippines, she was hospitalized and got worse. It’s like a movie that keeps replaying in my mind over and over again. 

When I was told that her condition was not going to get better anymore, and that she contracted sepsis in the hospital while being treated for pneumonia, I felt my world crash. I had no choice but to get on the plane again, hoping to be with her and be by her side on her last breath. I was told by the doctor that she didn’t have much time and  that it would be one or two days left. 

So being that it would take me a whole day to travel, I prayed that I get to see her one last time- touch her one last time. 

Before I boarded the plane I said my goodbyes, seeing her face, gasping for air on FaceTime. 

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen so I needed to be prepared. It was a long 17 hour flight!

Strangely during my flight I had a hard time connecting to the planes Wi-Fi. I usually can text while on the plane. I was so exhausted, that when the flight left at 1:00 in the morning, I fell right asleep. 

I woke up after 2 hours into the flight, but still couldn’t connect my phone. I tried and tried to text but no luck. 

Finally when my plane landed in Manila, my phone started blowing up with messages from people I don’t even know! While I was reading these messages, the word “condolences” was all I saw over and over all these messages——letting me know that my mother had passed away!  

I screamed, jumped and kicked the floor. I was not able to get there on time. The person sitting next to me and the others who heard me scream comforted me as I told them that my mother had died and I did not make it.

My brother Raffy and my friend Mary Anne  picked me up at the airport and we went straight to see my mother lying peacefully…so beautiful.. at the funeral home. 

I am not good with situations like this. It took me a day before I could even touch my mother. I was in disbelief.

So I think about this minute per minute, hour per hour.  I think about our last conversation— so on her Death Anniversary, it’s important that I remember her with my family – with the wonderful things that she had done and the wisdom that she had left us all. It’s not only remembering the time she had passed, but all the wonderful memories all shared with her. 

Marking this day, March 5th…. @ 4:26 pm Manila Time (3:26 am EST) …. on her death anniversary we visit her resting place, say a prayer, dedicate a church mass and gather with friends and family to acknowledge her and celebrate her wonderful, colorful life! 

Other ways we remember her would be having her favorite food, looking at pictures, and playing her music. 

I light a candle 🕯 for you mommy…. today and every day 🙏🏻