i write because . . .

i write because
naked feels indulgent
like my bare skin on crisp white linens
in a luxury hotel room's bed
my body's fibers
reach out
to feel the bones of

i write because
i am exposed --
my lover sees
through me
and with his feathered ink stilus --
scripts his way
into my heart's depth

i write because
it keeps me honest
with myself.


Make a wish

a moment of silence
holds me captive
i wish
to feel 
my Dad's
his gift to me
this Christmas


Door Boys

waiting for "door boy" (yes, that's the company's actual name!) garage installers, 7-8.30am (did i mention al & i left parlin before 6.30am to beat any possible snow & traffic?)

mom's brand-new garage (six hours later)

turbo blend - finally (six & a half hours later)

. . . & that's how i spent my snow day.


10 + 1 (things to note before/after your Dad dies)

1.  Confirm date of death with Social Security & Pension funds, and make sure they have actually noted it in their records.  Most likely, you'll have to follow up more than once even if you have completed all of the forms. 

2.  Reassign all bills (after) / bank accounts (before) / home-car-health insurance policies (after) to the appropriate individual(s).

3.  Change the outgoing message on the answering machine.  (Of course, your natural tendency is to save it because it's probably the only recent recording of your Dad's voice.)

4.  Destroy & cancel all credit cards.

5.  Cancel all magazine subscriptions, and on the bill, write 'DECEASED.'

6.  Cancel all memberships, and on the dues, write 'DECEASED.'

7. Cancel Dad's cell phone.

8.  Do not use any return address labels with your Dad's name on it. 

9.  Mom likes to sign off on any written communication -- Lina & Amante (RIP)

10.  Keep copies of your Dad's death certificates.  Lots of official folks need proof.
11. Keep in touch with Dad's friends . . . makes you feel closer to him.

Though I've been unemployed for a few months now, unending matters around Dad's affairs constantly pop up.  Just when I think I've already made the calls and have completed the right paperwork, someone still doesn't have it right in their records. For some reason, he's still living in their records.  And I have to confirm and reconfirm that he passed away.  So much fun to constantly rehash my Dad's death in my mind.  And the hospital bills?  We're receiving explanations of benefits from procedures my Dad had in March!  Apparently, it takes nine months to process those.  I have to admit, I'm willing to deal with all of it, just to spare my Mom any more grief than she continues to experience. 

Mom is taking care of some business in the Philippines, including attending to Michael.  Sad news, another family member passed away from cancer -- Uncle Moring (Corrales), Dad's brother-in-law's brother.  Like family, I suppose, since they're all from the same hometown.  We'd last spent some time with him when we were all in CA in April.  He returned to the Philippines to die.  Not sure how many more death notices I can handle in 2008.  

Since Mom's in the Philippines, she had the opportunity to visit with Uncle Moring in the hospital.  She'd mentioned that he cried when he saw her, knowing that he would soon be meeting Dad.  I hope that Mom isn't too overwhelmed with Uncle's funeral services which she'll be attending.  Al's mentioned in the past . . . Dad must've known how it would agonize Mom & me to have to endure a wake/funeral ritual, which is why his directives upon his death were so specific and included cremation.

Thanks, Dad, for thinking of us.


BIG catch

in my moment of anxiety
he comforts me
like the calm before a BIG catch

I in !PANIC! mode --
am flushed 
he sits across from me
solid like his favorite ocean's jetty

he is my strength
he is my rock
he is my BIG catch


Opening new doors

Yesterday started with two missed calls on my cell phone. Not recognizing the 551 area code, I finally picked it up.

Mom's upstairs (pregnant) tenant parked in the driveway and accidentally left her car in neutral.  The car then went through the garage door. Fortunately, Mom's RAV4 in the garage wasn't damaged, but the garage door was.  $2,000 worth.  I located Mom's home insurance policy.  A lovely Manalapan resident, Ron the adjuster, came out promptly and walked me through the situation. The insurance company will cover the damage, including a brand new garage door and tracking system which will be reconnected to the automatic garage door opener.  And our upstairs tenants have graciously agreed to pay the deductible. What a day.  Al & I are realizing what a task it is to maintain three homes at once!

On a much better news front, a very dear friend of mine -- after 30+ hours of labor -- gave birth to her !third! son, 9 lbs, 6 oz.  No name just yet.  Her husband kept us posted minute-by-minute via twitter.com.  Seems to be the new thing!       

Congratulations, Erin & George.  To your third miracle.  Their oldest son, 8-year-old Theo, was so excited to go and see his new baby brother that he put his clothes on backwards!  And now 6-year-old Aram gets to be a big brother too. 


2nd and 100th

We celebrated Al's 2nd healthy heart anniversary and Dad's 100 days with an intimate dinner with our friends, Ray & May, last night.  I made Al's version of pizza (flax flat bread, tomatoes, olive oil, low fat cottage cheese) as appetizers, and our meal included Ray's colorful salad (spinach, strawberries, mandarin oranges and almonds); steamed first, then grilled barbecue chicken; and lentils & brown rice topped with crispy onions.  For dessert, my homemade apple cobbler.  I've discovered honeycrisp apples are the secret.  

And to top the night off, three hours of karaoke!  Ray rocked out with his guitar-hero versions of his favorite songs, and Al tried all night to score over 50.  Poor guy, he's always just a half note below when he sings a tune.  May finally warmed up after witnessing Al's tone talent.  And me?  I realize I need to sing more . . . I'm so out of practice!  No doubt Dad would've been completely disappointed in my low scores.

Yesterday morning, I awoke to a dream about my Dad -- my first one since he's passed.  We were at someone's house celebrating. Lots of family and friends came over, including Tito Frank's family. (A longtime family friend, Tito Frank passed away Memorial Day weekend this year.)  I believe Tito Frank was enjoying himself too. Dad encouraged everyone to get on the rollercoaster.  My dream then shifted to an actual rollercoaster ride, and Dad was on it! Having fun, enjoying himself. Guess he's in a good place?  I don't have to read so intensely into my dream to know what Dad's trying to say.  I find myself feeling like I can finally start getting into the holiday Spirit & celebrating the advent of Winter Solstice. 

Knowing that it was Dad's 100-day death anniversary, I'd wanted so much to touch base with some of Dad's friends yesterday.  To Dad's good friends:  Please do keep in touch as it comforts me to know that you shared such wonderful friendship & brotherhood.  I know how much Dad treasured his good times with you -- mah jong, golf, poker . . . just hanging with his buddies.  Thank you for being in his life.


A family story

baby stories on TLC
adoption stories on Discovery Health
i witness them all
story of our own


Happy anniversary

Al's second year healthy heart anniversary is on December 7.  I realized that I was living my Mom's life the moment the doctors told us that Al, my then 38-year-old relatively healthy husband, would immediately have to undergo a quadruple bypass.  

This upcoming weekend is a big one.  100 days since Dad passed away.  Al's heart anniversary.  I realize that this year, the months of August and December are of tremendous significance.  August is the month Al & I met, and it's the month Dad died.  December is Al's heart's milestone, and it's also Dad's 100th day death anniversary.  So yin-yang.  

100 days.  I'm not sure why 100 is so special, other than some Buddhists believe the spirit is reborn then. And I'm not sure that Catholics place more significance on the 100th day over the 40th day.  In any case, this 100 days weighs heavy on my heart . . . in more than one way. 

So much so that around this time of year, I feel little jabs and pangs in my chest, which I always attribute to anxiety around Al's 'second life.'  I've been scheduling my annual physical around this time of year, and I insist that my doctor do an EKG.  Like last year, today's was normal.  Thank goodness.  My cholesterol levels have been exceptional.  And still, I ask my doctor if I need to see a cardiologist.  She thinks I'm cute.  But I'm actually paranoid . . . I'm bound to die of either heart disease or cancer.   Dad lived with both, and both ailments run on both sides of my family.  Acckkk!  

I remind myself, I need to meditate just a little longer each day.

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful & at ease.
May I be happy. 
Tat tuan asmi.  Shanti, shanti, shanti. 


Getting over it

I'm told . . . You never really get over any major loss such as the death of a loved one -- an (unborn) child, a parent.  You just try to move on.  You just hope that time helps you to move forward.   

I'd been having trouble trying to contact my Mom in the Philippines.   Apparently I had the wrong phone number, but now I have the right one. She seemed to be holding up okay.  Auntie Libing, Dad's sister, still doesn't know that Dad passed away.  She looks at my Mom, asking for my Dad.  And her family won't tell her that Dad died.  They have their reasons. 

I have been moving slow with each day.  And I've yet begun to move forward.  I know that time continues, and so must I.  But I've been taking my time.  To grieve.  I want to stop replaying the images of my Dad on his deathbed because I know that those were only a small part of his wonderful life.  His cancer was not the essence of who he was.  I pray that the year's turnover will bring peaceful and happy memories as well as new and meaningful career opportunities (for many).