It’s almost mid-March and it’s only now that I had the free time to write about my February highlights. Last month, I was busy with work and occasions left and right. Although the turn of events happened too fast in February, they turned out to be the most emotional and life-changing as well. I was pressed with several realizations but those also paved the way to open myself to recognizing my flaws, my weaknesses, the things I am capable of, and the things that are beyond my control. Lately, I’ve been suppressing myself from admitting them, pushing them under the rug which only resulted to unresolved self-issues and deeper hurts.

It was liberating to feel that the series of happenings last month became instrumental in opening myself to other people, my true emotions which I’ve tried to bury for so long in the fear of judgment or misconception. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught me, it is becoming self-reliant and resilient on my own, but I realized it can be good yet at the same time scary too. February allowed me to let my guard down, let loose of those denials, and gracefully accept myself for what I truly feel.

My Dad’s Birthday

This is the first time we celebrated dad’s birthday differently. Instead of the traditional celebrations at restaurant buffets, we remembered his memories at the cemetery. I was on the verge of breaking into tears on the way to his grave, but tried to control it so as not to affect the other members of the family. Grief is something you’d have to carry for a lifetime; you just learn to divert yourself to other things as time passes by. The intensity of pain varies in time, but the gaping hole in your heart will always be there. All of us in the family are close to my dad so each one has different degrees of pain and ways to cope. I would always remember how protective my dad is of me, and losing him was like losing your sense of security especially in times of need. He would always look after my welfare, my personal needs. He’d often drive me to work even if he was sick. He would cook for me whenever I go home late from work. He’d often call me to remind me to go home safe. Adjusting myself to the absence of those things and his absence in my life in general takes time.

Anyway, for his birthday, we visited my grandmother in Marikina where we had a mini gathering with my relatives. I ordered food from Hotdish, and my cousin Tin prepared Lasagna and banana muffins. It became an instant bonding and reunion with my family especially with Mamang, whom we have not seen for almost a year now because of the pandemic. She was not directly informed when Dad passed away because of her health condition, but I think she knows it already. Her mother’s instincts are too strong not to feel it.

In the coming years, we’ll be used to this type of celebration, but one thing will remain constant — his memories will live forever in our hearts.

Valentine’s Dinner with Family

For the first time, we went out again as a family. Birthdays and other occasions were celebrated recently at home because of this virus so it’s quite refreshing to dine out for this special day. Although this is not the first time we ate out, it has become rare to go out as a complete family because of social distancing and our individual preferences. We ate at Wangfu in Serendra where we enjoyed delicious Chinese cuisine. Valentine’s Day is supposedly attributed to spending time with your special someone, but being with your family makes it equally special too. It should be a day bereft of stereotypes and expectations because love can be celebrated in different ways or forms not just on Valentine’s Day. You may read Valentine’s Dinner at Wangfu Chinese Café.

New Godchild, Nathalie Danielle and Kit’s Birthday

Kit’s niece, Nathalie Danielle Placido is my newest godchild. I was not able to attend the church ceremony but I came to celebrate with the family at the reception. She’s such an adorable, cute baby! She does not easily cry and is very responsive with the people around her.

The day after her baptismal was Kit’s birthday so I took this chance to bond with her after the party. I gave her a personalized pen with her name on it and wrote a biblical verse attached to the note: “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habbakuk 2:2. I was inspired with Toni Gonzaga’s vlog where she said that if we have dreams or visions in life, we should write them because the Lord honors the desires of our hearts.

Jem’s Bridal Shower

Helen, Jhoi, and I have been planning about this since January, so imagine our excitement when this day came. It was a semi-virtual bridal shower where we gathered our friends online while Jem, Helen, and I spent an overnight at a condo in BGC. I’ll be writing a separate post about this so I can share with you the details that happened on that special night. This celebration is very memorable to us, as it also became a mini-reunion for the trio gang. I share a special bond with these two outside church services and activities; they are among the few people I entrust with the delicate matters of my life aside from Karen and Jhoi.

The day was filled with sharing of experiences and from our teachers, mentors, and friends, to fun online games prepared by Helen, to discussing questions about married life, etc. We ordered food from S&R which we did not finish until the next day. We also had a pampering session at Nailaholics salon after we checked out from the Airbnb.

Anyway, I appreciated this quality time with the girls because it’s been a long time since we went out together as Helen moved to Guiuan, Samar, and then now she is based in Cebu. The bridal shower became a venue for us to express ourselves and the burdens that we’ve been carrying. I won’t discuss the topics of our conversations as they are too personal, but knowing that we still have each other is a big blessing to be appreciative of.

Jem’s Wedding

Witnessing this important milestone in the life of my good friend, Jeremie brought so many emotions. Of course, I was beyond happy to see her walk down the aisle, meeting the love of her life at the altar, but it was also about letting go of those adventures, travels, food trips, random day outs, as she enters a new chapter in her life and shift her priorities to marriage and building a family. I became sentimental because I’ve seen Jem in the different phases of our lives, from finishing our studies, building our careers, and achieving our dreams little by little through God’s grace. It was definitely a mix of emotions to finally see her in her walk in that white gown as those precious memories flashed back before my eyes. It’s not that she has died or moved to new place, but it also dawned on me (or Helen too) that things will not be the same as before. I was kinda feeling this separation anxiety to let go of a friend who’s been my constant companion at church since I was 15 then everything will just change in the blink of an eye. Anyway, the ceremony was just too beautiful to celebrate the union of people close to my heart.

Helen’s Departure to Cebu

It’s been a while since I had talked to a friend about my deepest thoughts and intricate concerns in life, so seeing her leave was a bit of a heartache. Those three short days were not enough to marvel at the things going on in our life and our conversations lingered in my heart and my mind, making me realize a lot of things.

Things I have learned

Change is always constant. Life changes will emerge as we grow, embrace maturity, and transition to a different path. It will be uncomfortable at first, but it’s a sign of growth.

We have different seasons and timelines. This life is not a race. Different paces determine we are not traveling the same road together. Each one has a unique journey that should not be compared with others who have a different story.

When you are feeling lost, remember your identity in Christ. His love transcends beyond what we can imagine. His love is immeasurable for His children that He even sent his only son to redeem us from our sins. What sort of love can be compared to that?

It’s okay to feel hurt, vulnerable, weak, lonely. But move forward and don’t get stuck in that mindset. Explore other areas in your life that make you feel happy, blessed, triumphant.

Back to the usual grind

So here I am, taking my daily routines and trying to figure out the things that I need to fix in my life or further improve. I try not to be taken aback by the emotions of losing people or embracing transitions, so I just divert my attention to work and doing productive, meaningful things for myself. I’m also in the process of restoring my relationship with God, to clear my head of doubts and fears by clinging to His promises.