Showing posts with label the Mama's final party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the Mama's final party. Show all posts

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Mama


Today marks the anniversary of the first year of the Mama's spirit roaming through the universe.

This photo was taken a week before the Mama's final adventure of life begun. I'm glad that the Husband, Molly the Cat, and I got to go through that last amazing trip with the Mama. One of these days I'll tell the tale.

Sweet cheers to the Mama!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Flight


On the afternoon that the Mama died, the Husband, Long-time Friend Kathy, Molly the Cat, and I sat on the patio and ate our lunch. The Mama's apple tree and her butterfly bush gave us shade from the warm Spring sun. The sky was blue. The Mama's roses, daisies, and other flowers were in bloom. The birds serenaded us. The Mama's bedroom window faced the backyard. I like to think that she could see, smell, and hear the day as we did and that she enjoyed listening to our relaxed cadences and tones.

At one point I leaned back in my chair and gazed at the sky. A crow was lazily flying back and forth. It was like a photo, the crow framed by the foliage of the Mama's trees and bushes. As I watched the bird, I felt like I could see the Mama's spirit flying up towards the crow and dancing alongside it.

When I finally looked away, I saw a white butterfly fly out of the Mama's garden by the  rose bushes. That was the first white butterfly I saw that day, which, ever since the Daddy died 34 years ago, represented the Daddy saying to me, "Hello. All is well."


At the Mama's rosary service, I read this short tale that I wrote three years ago. I had posted it on June 5, 2013.

The Girl That Did Fly

Once upon a time, in a far away place, a little girl wished upon a star, "I wish I could fly."

Unlike other fairy tales, Midge's wish did not come true. So, she thought.

One morning, Midge woke up, thinking, "Ah, today is the day I shall fly."


She flung off her blankets and jumped to her feet.

Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

With each bounce, Midge hung in the air higher and longer. Nearly three-quarters to the ceiling, she turned somersaults and back flips, cartwheels and spins.

She bounced and she bounced until her grandmother opened her door.

"Very good, my dear," said Lola Sue smiling so proudly. "You're getting to be quite good with the triple flips. I do believe you take after your grandma."


Lola Sue jumped onto the bed, and together they bounced.

Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!

Holding hands, they bounced even higher and higher.

"I think it is time," Lola Sue said."Are you ready?"

"Yes! Yes!" exclaimed Midge, although she knew not what it might be.


"Then let us go!"


Midge and her Lola Sue bounced once more, hung a second, then flew around the room. 


"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," said Midge. "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee."

"Hold on tight," said Lola Sue, as she lead the little girl out the door, through the house, and out a window into the Lola's garden. From there, they soared up through the banana plants and into the big, blue sky. 



Today is the letter F at ABC Wednesday, a wonderful meme with awesome bloggers from around the world. Click here to check out these other bloggers, and maybe to join in yourself.  Thanks to Roger, Di, Melody, and all of the ABCW team for giving us a place to share ourselves.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Rosary Snapping Mama


"Does Manang have a rosary?" asked Helen, a friend of the Mama's. (Manang is a term of endearment for a woman older than you. It means sister.) We were standing before the Mama's casket on her funeral day, waiting for it to be closed and taken to the church.

"I can give you one," said Helen.

"It's in her purse," I said, pointing to the blue cloth clutch embroidered with bright red and white flowers next to the Mama's body. It also held the Mama's favorite compact, which the Only and Older Brother gave her when he was 12 or 13, reddish-pink lipstick, two large scarves, and one or two other things that I no longer recall. I like to think the Mama's spirit might enjoy having them.

"Did you break the rosary?" asked Helen.

"Am I supposed to?" I asked, feeling a panic coming on. "Mama only told me not to put it in her hands."

When I had researched about what Ilocanos do with rosary beads for the dead, I found articles stating to place a broken strand of rosary beads in the coffin, but no instructions on how to break the necklace. I admit I was nervous about breaking the Mama's rosary, and I didn't really want to because the rose petal rosary that I bought in Florence for the Mama was so pretty. After two ties at trying to break the beads with pliers, I gave up. After all, the Mama only said that it was bad luck for a dead person to hold a rosary.

The Mama had no shame at rosary services when she saw that a dead person's rosary was wrapped around his or hand. Either before or after the prayer service, the Mama would get right alongside the casket and patiently tug and pull at the rosary until it was free from the dead person's hand, then she'd carefully fold it and place it next to the body. After which, she'd go up to the decease's relatives and tell them what she did, scolding them a bit for their faux pas. 

That's the Mama. Go ahead and chuckle. I get a good laugh thinking about it. The funeral guys who toke care of the Mama's remains definitely got a good laugh out of the story.

"Manang always took the rosary out of the dead person's hand and broke it," Helen said, looking at me with very sad eyes.

"I didn't know that."

"She said it was bad luck."

I took the rosary beads out of the Mama's purse. "How do I break it?"

"I don't know," said Helen.

Oh, gee.


At certain points of the rosary, the beads are separated by bits of chain. I looked for one of those parts. Holding the beads firmly in each hand, I pulled at each end of the chain.

SNAP!

Just like that.

It's as if the Mama made sure I didn't break the rosary until it was time to forever close the door on her coffin.


It's the letter R at the ABC Wednesday, a weekly meme started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team.  To join in and/or check out other R posts, please click here.

 



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Forty Days Has Passed


Religious rituals throw me off guard. Do I adhere to them? Shall I disregard them? What would the Mama want?

Today marks 40 days since the Mama scampered out of her body. I like to think she gave a big sigh of relief and smiled grandly at the Daddy who took her hand and they danced into eternity.

The Mama did not have to sit around in some holding space just beyond reality for enough people to say the right amount of prayers to move her forward into heaven. It's not like how that guy who recited prayers at an auntie's rosary said, "Now we know that Sister's going to heaven, but we need to pray for her so that she can get a better seat next to Jesus."  Really! I made sure he did not recite the rosary for the Mama.

When I was planning the Mama's funeral, one of her friends reminded me to get in touch with the church to request a nine-day novina for the Mama, which is nine straight days of praying for the Mama's soul after she has been buried. Yes, right. The Mama told me to do that, and I did.

Then someone asked me about the 40-day novina. After I stopped freaking out about that, I researched what it was all about. I'm still not sure if it's a church thing or a Filipino thing. Maybe it's both. The gist of the 40-day novina is an informal mass (as in friends and relatives) prayer for the decease's soul to ensure that she has found her way into heaven. I guess it's like that last extra shove into a door of a crowded subway.

Do I measure 40 days from the day the Mama died or when she was buried? Actually I don't care to know what the rules, or guidelines, are, if they're any. Just like I do with recipes, I have adapted the 40-day novina to soothe my soul.

This morning, I lit a tea candle at the Mama's and Daddy's grave site, while I arranged the last of the Mama's roses from her garden and some sand dollars that I gave the Mama years ago.  And, I simply hung out for awhile.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Qualifying the statement.



"No more grandma," said an old woman who I've seen at Filipino parties but never met. The Husband said she greeted him the same way when he welcomed her into the house for the Mama's post funeral service reception.

I imagine the stone-faced woman thought her quip was quite comforting and witty. She reminded me of once-upon-a-time visitors to our home when I was a kid who talked about how fat I was in their language not knowing that I understood what they were saying.

We stood in the backyard. Smiling, I held up my arm and waved at the Mama's garden in full bloom throughout the yard. "Mama's here," I said. "Always."

The woman looked at me, queerly. No doubt she thought I was crazed. After all, I requested "I've got the joy, joy, joy joy down in my heart" for the procession song as we rolled the Mama out of the Catholic Church.


It's the letter Q at ABC Wednesday. Thank you, Roger, Di, Melody, and the rest of the ABCW team for this fun weekly meme. 



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Mama's Motley Crew of Pallbearers

Photo courtesy of Rosalie Phillips

Except for a few instructions from the Mama, I had carte blanche to plan her funeral services. Would I follow the traditional way, which I regard as much too somber, tight-lipped, not a crack of a smile, and full of smelly moth balls? Or, would I follow my heart and let loose with the joy that is life, living, and, most of all, the deep essence of the Mama who denied it so often while she lived?

Was there any doubt that I would do the latter?

At times. Especially after freaking out when I read the what should be's when it comes to funerals, in particular, Ilocano funerals. One superstition, or tradition, is that no family members shall be pallbearers. Bad luck would be theirs otherwise. Before I read that, I had decided to be one of the Mama's pallbearers. I wanted to go the whole nine yards with the Mama. But, maybe I ought to pay attention to the superstition. Then I recalled I was a pallbearer for Uncle Frank several decades back. Did bad things happen afterwards? Sure. Good and wonderful things happened, too. It's called living.

So, I was one of the Mama's six pallbearers. I asked the Husband if he'd like to be a pallbearer, but he declined for reasons neither of us can remember. While we were milling around the mortuary on the day of the funeral, waiting to head to church, the Husband asked," Do you have enough pallbearers?" I told him to check with the funeral guy in charge of our party, who made the Husband an honorary pallbearer, meaning he could walk with us and help with the casket when needed.

Being a pallbearer is very different today. I think the most carrying and lifting that we did was down the steps of the mortuary and then several feet to the hearse. It was possible that the coffin was placed on a gurney-type thing after the steps, and then we wheeled it to the car. I don't remember. We did wheel it from the hearse to the church and back again. I think we, pallbearers, may have taken it by hand from the hearse to the grave site, which was only a few feet.

I'm glad I was one of the Mama's pallbearers. Mostly because I was physically doing something rather than sitting and observing the casket going from one point to the next. I would've found it difficult to merely sit and not to suddenly leave my perch. As a pallbearer, I had a task to complete. I was not going anywhere to cry.

The Mama's spirit was happily surprised, I like to think, that her pallbearers were four guys and three gals. Spring chickens, we were. The Mama loved and respected each and every one of her motley crew of pallbearers—Ernie, Kathy, Jennifer, Dave, Thomas, the Husband, and me.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Treziak

It's the letter P at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly meme begun by Mrs. Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team. Click here to check out the P fun.