Merry Christmas!

Nothing much to say here for now. Just dropping a quick note to greet everyone.

May this season be filled with love and joy and happiness all around. May we find blessings in every gift we unwrap and may we be a blessing by the gifts we give. 

From Zaine and I, we wish you a merry, merry Christmas! Cheers! 😊

Blabber Chapter: Reflections

My grandmother was buried the other day and yesterday, a ritual has been performed by the elders so that the family members can resume our lives, so to speak. I’ll talk more about that in a different post. 

These past few days, I haven’t mingled with anyone else except with family and relatives. And if there’s one thing that I have observed that got me dumbstruck because of being so obvious I haven’t realized it before is that: we are all control-freaks. LOL! Somehow, it was a trait that stood out from majority of the descendants of my grandmother. 

On a more serious note though, death in the family tests out the patience and brings out the solidarity of a family. I’ve seen how each and everyone pitched in to help during the wake. From overseeing the food, ensuring that there’s always hot coffee for the people who came to pay their respects, cleaning up and tidying the kitchens, running to the grocery and the wet market to get stuff needed, and even consoling each and everyone who suddenly felt the grief of losing out grandmother. We may not see each other all the time, we don’t get to spend time all together and only get to do so during family events, but at the end of the day, we all have each other’s backs. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it, I was given that assurance. 

Family is such a beautiful thing. We all have our quirks that may be annoying to some but appealing to others. We dislike someone more than another but we still choose to be together. Those quirks are complemented by someone else’s quirks, too. I’ve learned to give in to a few demands but also stood my ground on others. There were situations that were awkward and annoying that we had to let slide, there were mistakes that we needed to let go, there were things that we agreed upon. 

Having been in a matriarchal clan for so long, I have seen the resilience of the women in our family. I have also seen how our male in-laws wholeheartedly gave their time and effort for the whole duration of the wake and never questioned or even asked for anything in return. I somehow saw a little bit of my grandmother in each and everyone of us. 

Death is indeed a time of sadness and grief. But at the same time, death is a celebration of life. My grandmother’s life was not an easy one but she loved all of us in her own way. Her death has brought upon an opportunity for all those who survived her to spend time with each other, to reminisce the memories we have and to strengthen the bond. 

Nobody welcomes you home so warmly like a family, even in death. 

Blabber Chapter: Running on Caffeine

December 1 – We are on the sixth day of my grandmother’s wake. Tomorrow, we say our final goodbyes as she will be laid to rest on her final resting place. She will be buried beside our grandfather who passed away almost 20 years ago. 

Anyway, since we arrived home last Sunday evening, I’ve been running on caffeine. And I think I am not the only one. My siblings and cousins and basically the direct descendants of my grandmother were all running on caffeine, too. Well, coffee drinking runs in the family, so to speak, so no surprise there. LOL!

Today, my aunt will be arriving. My grandmother’s children are complete. It will be a long day since it is going to be the last day. So many things to be done, so many stories to be heard. 

A handful of people are still here and I can hear them singing. It is good. As for me, the last coffee I drank is making me sleepy. Guess I need a few hours’ sleep to prepare for the multiple tasks ahead. 

Soon I will share a glimpse of the highland culture and traditions. I am learning a lot. For now, pardon my more or less incoherent thoughts. 

Okay, off to neverland for now. G’night, y’all!

Blabber Chapter: Life Passes…

I woke up early this evening from nap to find about 15 missed calls from family. My maternal grandmother, who has been confined in the hospital since last week, has passed away peacefully this afternoon. She was 89 years old.

Right now, I cannot still fully grasp the news. I guess growing up seeing and watching my Lola bounce back from everything, I was expecting her to bounce back to good health this time, too. But even the fact that she was no longer as strong as she was, I was actually hoping that we will get to see her and spend this year’s Christmas with her. The news that she has passed on is still a shock.

Life is indeed full of surprises. One day you’re great, the next day, you’re not. You’re happy on some days, you’re sad on other days. One day you’re laughing your heart out, the next day, you’re dead.

89 years is a long time. And I am glad that we were able to spend such a long time with our Lola. She may have not been a favorite but she was family and she was a great provider even to us, her apos, and I am forever grateful to her. I am glad that she got to know my son and was able to spend a couple of years watching him grow before I brought him to the big metro with me. She loved meeting new additions to the family. She valued family in her own special way.

I am still in a daze hours after learning the news of her passing. I have yet to start packing our things as we will be going home to be with family tomorrow. My mind is going blank. I still cannot believe that we won’t be going home this coming Christmas to find our Lola and hear her scold us for being out in the cold at night. I could not believe that I wouldn’t be seeing her toothless smile and shout my answers to her questions because she had a hard time hearing already. I couldn’t believe that I would no longer hear her say “Kaasyan daka ti Apo” (“God bless you”) whenever we would bless to her (as a respect to elders) when we arrive home and when we leave to go back to the big metro.

It is a sad day for the family indeed. However, we are happy that she is no longer suffering and no longer in pain. We know that she is now in a better place, getting reunited with our Creator and our Lolo who had passed away years ahead of her. We will truly miss her.

 

 

Li’l Brave Hearts…

One of the common conditions that children with Down syndrome have is heart issues. Even my little Z has been diagnosed to have ASD or Atrial Septal Defect. You can read more about it here.

His last check up with a pediatric cardiologist was last year wherein it was found that Z still has a small hole in his heart. Though no medication was given, he was to have another cardiologist consult a year after to check if the hole will close on its own. I was not able to schedule Z for his check up this month but we should be able to visit the good doctor next month.

I am grateful that Z didn’t need surgery or anything else to fix his heart. And I am hopeful that the hole has now closed, too. But there are cases wherein babies with Ds need to have heart surgery the soonest time possible so as to avoid further complications along the way.

Talking with other parents of children with Down syndrome, I have learned that there are babies and toddlers out there that are in need of immediate financial assistance due to urgent need to undergo surgery to correct the heart problem of their kids. Here are some of their stories:

This is Carl Angelo Cristobal, 2 years old. He has Tetralogy of Fallot and is scheduled for open heart surgery by September or October of this year. He is currently on medication to make the veins in the heart thinner which would make it safer for him during surgery.

Carl Angelo Cristobal, 2 years old

Carl Angelo Cristobal, 2 years old

This is Ashley Oreiro, 1 year old and has been diagnosed to have PDA or Patent Ductus Arteriosus. Doctors suggested for open heart surgery at PGH this coming August.

Ashley Oreiro, 1 year old

Ashley Oreiro, 1 year old

This is Johnrey Bonaobra, 1 month old. from Bataan. He has an imperforate anus, with PDA & PFO or Patent Foramen Ovale. He has already undergone 2 FAILED operations for colostomy. Has has gone through a third operation on July 23, 2016, and is currently in ICU for close monitoring and observation. As of date, Johnrey has already gone through his third colostomy but already out of immediate danger. He is still confined and under observation.

Johnrey Bonaobra, 1 month old

Johnrey Bonaobra, 1 month old

Johnrey Bonaobra, 1 month old

Johnrey Bonaobra, 1 month old

Jaden Lopez, 9 months old, has AVSD or Atrioventricular Septal Defect and has undergone cardiac catheterization but still on oxygen because of hypertension. Given that the case is high risk, doctors are still assessing if they will proceed with surgery.

Jaden Lopez, 9 months old

Jaden Lopez, 9 months old

Jaden Lopez, 9 months old

Jaden Lopez, 9 months old

Cardio consults plus lab tests are expensive. Imagine the cost for surgery as well as maintenance medicines afterwards. Depending on the hospital, 2D-echo test would cost around Php3,000 to almost Php 7,000 already.  There are a whole lot more tests that these kids go through and it is draining emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially.

These stories really break my heart. And it has broken the hearts of the other parents in our Facebook chat group. And these stories have been the trigger to create Li’l Brave Hearts.

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Li’l Brave Hearts is a store created by several parents of kids with Down syndrome to raise funds to help finance the initial hospital downpayment for the surgeries of these kids as well as to purchase immediate medication required. The idea to come up with a fundraiser came from one of the mommies, which got the ball rolling. A few other parents followed suit, providing their time, effort and resources to fund the project.

As of date, the store was able to raise funds which were used to purchase medicines for the recipients as well as other medical expenses needed. We still have a long way to go to raise more funds to be able to give these wonderful warriors, as well as a lot of other children who are in need of medical attention, a chance to live a comfortable life.

Should you, my readers, want to purchase T-shirts to support this cause, please do like the page and send them a message. Each shirt cost Php 450 each. The sale goes to the funds for medical needs of these kids.  You may contact the following for more details:

Sheila Ann Gimeno
Mobile: 09178666725
Email: sajgbiz12@gmail.com

Sheryl Soriano
Mobile: 0922-2926902
Email: sherylcsoriano@gmail.com

Donations are also accepted and should you wish to donate financially, please contact Sheila Ann or Sheryl on how to proceed.

Also, don’t forget to  visit the Li’l Brave Hearts’ Facebook page for updates on these little warriors.

 

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Note: photos posted are used with permission from the parents. 

 

Hello? Still there?

Yep, I am still here. Haha!

Geez, I haven’t realized that it has been more than a month since my last post. Where did all those time go? Anyway, I am just dropping by (yes, I am dropping by my own blog, yeesh) just to say I am still alive and very much kicking. LOL!

It has been a very busy time these past few weeks and I will be sharing some of the things that have kept me busy in the next coming weeks. I will definitely make time to blog, I promise. Well, apart from being busy with stuff, I think I had a writer’s block (maka-writer, wagas!) and I just can’t come up with words to write and I always end up with a blank space in front of me. #stresspamore

So, again, I just dropped by to say I am still here and working on a few posts hopefully within this week. So sit back, relax and chill. LOL!

Can’t wait for this weekend’s event, though. Who’s going to Blogapalooza? See you there!