Here’s An Effort Defining Love

Below the surface-stream, shallow and light,
Of what we say we feel—below the stream,
As light, of what we think we feel—there flows
With noiseless current strong, obscure and deep,
The central stream of what we feel indeed.

—Matthew Arnold

My classmate and friend Pam shared this on fb.  I just had to copy/paste this here so that these lines will not get  lost in the hundreds of messages loaded up on my fb Home daily.

Why?

Well, the lines spell out what I had been longing to express.  Love indeed is so deep to be simply defined in a few words. We can define it by saying something like “Love is a bed of roses.” Or we can define it by thinking “I am so happy because I am in love.”

That is love on the surface stream, what we say, what we think.

But Love, when it is genuine or true, is much deeper than what mere words can define. Love is like a noiseless current, so strong, so pervading, so whole, so totally encompassing. Love is within, moving so serene, and yet so powerful. Love. ❤

My Mommy, the one I always say “I Love You” to.

Eugenia Caraos Leyva, my mother’s name.  Just Mommy to me.

Mommy, she called last night, long distance from LA, and asked how I am, and my two girls. I told her I was invited by the Dean of the UP College of Science to an honor’s moment. Tish will be given that honor by virtue of being a university scholar. And the honor is dedicated to her.

Mommy, she always wants to know how we are, when in fact, I should be the one asking how she is.

Mommy was diagnosed with lung cancer Christmas time, and an aggressive chemotherapy treatment was initiated right after.  That left her nauseated and weak.  Albeit Mommy had always been a positive thinker, the physical strain took a toll on her.

But she was alright last night. She was cooking oatmeal for Louie. Breakfast, California time. I told her not to work so much. But she said my brother advised that she moves around as much as she can. Okay, I said, just be careful.

That’s my Mommy. Ain’t she beautiful!     …and that is a statement.

A Gem of a Daughter

Tish texted me. She made it to the interview list of the UP-PGH College of Medicine prospective students 2012. “Yay! Weeee!”, she wrote.

As always, my Tish would  send me the good news first. She had been like that, sharing her triumphs and joys with me before anyone else.

The road to make it to that list is a tough one, especially for a female.  I had been sure though that Tish would qualify, through and through. Tish had been focused. When she sets her mind to a goal, nothing can distract her from achieving that goal.  She would  skip a family bonding gimmick in order to study for an exam. The discipline is simply admirable.

Yay! Weeee! I am one proud and happy mommy!

The Rainbow

I was tired. I attended the 4 pm Children’s Mass at the UP Church of the Holy Sacrifice after I dropped Winnie and Patrick at the Capitol Medical. There was a little traffic at the university gate but it was smooth sailing from Katipunan to Marikina.

I stopped for fuel at the Petron in Marquinton, and bought some bread, too, at Pan de Manila. Right before I boarded my van, I looked up into the heavens and breathed a deep sigh. It was a long day. I had been meditating and praying for my petitions. And my heart was tired. But I wanted look at the heavens and try to see if God is looking back at me. I always do that, search for Him in the heavens, that is.  I had always felt alone in my life’s journey, and when I feel sad, I seek His company in His marvelous creation. So I said to myself that I had to look now, for my heart was heavy, and mentally made a run down of the petitions I prayed for.

White and grey clouds were scattered all over the skies, and I couldn’t see a clear blue. Hmmm, I said, perhaps I had to wait more days for answers….. and weeks, or months…. I thought about how my mom must be uncomfortable. I told God that that prayer was immediate. And I perceived the anguish in Winnie, that was also immediate. Yet, I told God, okay, I concede,  in Your own time, everything will be beautiful.

So, I hopped in my rickety jalopy and started my drive home. I made a U at the fuel depot and as I drove, right there before me, amidst the chaotic clouds, a tiny rainbow was peeping bright! Whoooah, I said, Oh God, thank you! I cried. I made many rights and lefts, yet the tiny rainbow stayed with me, guided me, till I got home.

I will remember your Covenant, my God. 🙂

Why my friends are exceptional people.

I do not have many friends. but the few that I have are, without a doubt, exceptional. Like Winnie, and her husband Nick…

Okay, Nick is confined in the ICU, and the heart attack that he had was not mild, as initially diagnosed, it was the “fatal” one. He is alive now all because his office mates were able to rush him to the emergency room within minutes after he complained of chest pains, sweated coldly and vomited. The ER was able to administer med, oxygen, and so on.  Damn lucky? No. No. I believe that his guardian angel was with him all the time. And he summoned the Powers to aid his ward.

Well, I was early at the Capitol Medical this morning. Winnie asked me to bring her to the Shrine of Padre Pio. She said that she needs to pray for a miracle. She  told me that Nick promised to bring her to the Shrine Saturday, but the cardiac arrest occurred Friday. So I promised that I’d come early, and bring her to the Shrine, and also see Nick.

I came in an hour earlier than all the visitors. It was a Sunday and there was no traffic. A male nurse ushered me to Nick’s ICU Room I. It was totally quiet, except for the beeping sound, the electrocardiogram, I supposed. Nick opened his eyes and I held his right hand, the one free from any tube.  I said, “Nick, it’s Eileen.”  He answered, “Nasaan si Winnie?”  I explained that she must have been too exhausted from the previous two days of worrying that she is late this morning, but she is alright, and that he must recover soon so Winnie doesn’t have to worry anymore. He said yes and I led him into a prayer, the three Hail Mary’s and the Memorare, my most effective prayers in time of distress. When I finished, Nick asked for a tissue, and I went out to ask for one from the nurse, for I thought that only sterilized tissues and cotton are allowed. There was no nurse, so I went back and told Nick that I have wet ones in my bag. I took one and asked him what is it for, and when I looked at his face, tears were rolling down his cheeks. I told him not to cry and wiped his tears, Winnie would soon come. He slept again and I went outside so as not to disturb him. When Winnie arrived, I told her what happened. She went inside the room and when Nick saw her, the first thing he said was “Sorry.”

Sorry for what?   That he is the cause of Winnie’s worrying and exhaustion? Oh gosh, I’ve known Winnie and Nick for two decades, but only now did I witness their kind of love. Each doesn’t want the other to suffer, and if both could spare the other of such suffering, they would.

I told Winnie later, on our way to the Shrine, to brace herself for the “in sickness” part of her vow, for it will not be easy. She said yes, as bravely as she can muster.

We took a bite at Jollibee.  Then I brougjt Winnie and son Patrick to the Adoration Chapel of Christ the King at Green Meadows, where one special person brought me once before… It was silent there…

Then we proceeded to the Shrine of Padre Pio, the miracle saint. Patrick supported  his mother. We queued to touch Padre Pio’s stigmatic hands, knelt down before the miraculous image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, kept quiet in the chapel of St. Francis, lit candles, and surveyed the catacombs…

On our way back, I told Winnie that my chest is also very heavy, and this must be the sorrowful part of our lives. She agreed. I added we have to endure this stage and look forward to the glorious.  Winnie thanked me, as I dropped her and Patrick at the entrance of the hospital. I told her I was at her beck and call. That’s what friends are for.

Okay, why are my friends exceptional people?  Hmm, I am sure you know why.

Signs that the times are changing .

We had been having some fine days this January.  It has not been very cold like it used to many years back, but the days are just fine, people can actually walk without worrying too much about the heat of the sun. The heavens are showing play by play of cumulus clouds interchanging with cirrus and stratus, and twice or three times this week, even with the nimbus rain clouds.  And the drizzle that the nimbus brought helped refresh the parching earth.

Yesterday afternoon, I was witness to the marvelous sight of the silver lining gracing the heavens, and later on, the majestic tangerine sun setting on the horizon.  As I was feeling utterly alone again, I felt that the heavens was one with me.

But of course the day, as I described it on facebook, was riveting.  I brought Ate Grace and Tami to the US Embassy for their visa interview early in the morning.  Soon, the two will depart for the land on the other side of the great Pacific, where my mom is, and the rest of my family.  And, as I always contend, the divide makes the family alienated from one another. I do hope that that does not happen to our children.

But I would like Ate Grace to get there fast, because mommy is ailing with lung cancer. The chemotherapy had made mommy very weak.  Mommy said that my brothers were excellent caregivers.  But Ate Grace, she could give my brothers the necessary reprieve.

Tish had her interview at St. Luke’s Medical School after lunch. The president of the college, a neurologist, told her to enroll  right away once  she receives her acceptance letter.  Yehey! I knew my Tish would make it because she had been totally focused in her studies, aside, of course, from her musical escapades, wherein she is a natural.  The prez  asked Tish if she had seen the med school, and my honest rolly-polly of a girl answered, not yet, except for the canteen. The prez gave a hearty laugh. And that meant life, for my Tish,  in the next five years, would mean poking her nose on medical books.

But there is still the matter of the UP-PGH College of Medicine, where Tish truly prays she gets a slot on. Not only is this a matter of prestige, because batting average for excellency is a hundred per cent, but PGH is the only recognized school in the US, meaning should someone be given a chance to continue medicine in the US, all units garnered from PGH are credited. At least that is what the rumors have it.

My daughter now has a mind of her own, and she decides for herself. That started when I lost in ’04, my Tish insisted that she wanted a Pisay education, for she passed the exams in the first place. I yielded.  Now I am advising St. Luke’s, facility wise, and there is no waiver for a three year service after studying med.  I hope my daughter heeds my advice.

My oldest friend, in terms of  length of years, Menchie, joined me in hearing the Mass,  a daily devotion I do for my ailing mother. Menchie is a survivor, too, and she simply said the only recourse is prayer.  Then we ate at Pancake House in Katipunan. The soup was hot, the shrimp salad with veggie greens was good, and the fillets of fish with brown sticky rice and garnished with pesto seasoning was filling. Mench was a good audience to my movie tales, and actually liked my narration and corresponding criticism of the movies I discussed with her. Ha ha, I held her captive for an hour till my Jean texted she was on her way home from overtime.

I fetched Ate Grace and Tami at McDonald’s, Jean at the Katipunan station, and then we proceeded to see Winnie at the Capitol Medical at Quezon Avenue. Her husband Nick had a mild heart attack and he was placed at the intensive care unit. Winnie was afraid, but I told her to clasp a firm hold with prayers. Winnie and Nick had been dearest friends to me for more than two decades now, and it is frightening that Nick who had kept us calm, is lying there in the hospital…

The times are changing. Surely the signs are being shown in the heavens.  The journey of our lives continue.  I, for one, am very apprehensive. I am sure though that I cannot allow fear to set in. The future is something we truly do not know, but I would like to believe that something good is ahead for all of us.

I love you, Mommy!

Mommy, I know it is difficult to breathe. Here’s for you to know I love you very much.

Just Here.

I am just here. ❤

 

Food for the Soul

As I said, I had been in a state of desolation. That was brought about by situations I couldn’t control. And my mind and my heart were at breaking point, for I was anxious, and resolutions were not mine to lay out.

So, I went to Mass, every day.  I just thought that my tears would stop if I am in God’s company.

Nope, the tears did not stop. But God’s company was comforting. I listened to the Word, and received the Holy Host, and my soul, I know, was being nourished, for I felt joy. Perhaps God is gradually removing my fears and anxiety.

A Game of Shadows

In  desolation, I joined my sister, my nephew and my daughter in watching the Sherlock Holmes sequel entitled A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. John Watson.

Well, I had always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, and somewhere in the past, I had read all the sleuthing short stories of that eccentric but empirically sly private investigator, penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of course. I think my favorite was The Speckled Band, for I still remember the plot up to now. But A Game of Shadows?, well, now that I have seen the movie, it is full of shadows that perhaps anyone would probably enjoy more viewing than reading.

Shucks! That is just my way of saying that I probably couldn’t remember it because I didn’t understand it in the first place. But wow!, Guy Ritchie, the director, and the scriptwriters really made the story truly exciting and entertaining. I was surprised at the cinematic techniques utilized, like abrupt shifting from full velocity to freeze and then to slow motion and back to full speed again. Brilliant! I was almost asphyxiated by the high action I didn’t know when to gasp for air. Ha ha! Not to worry, I am still here.

Well, what is A Game of Shadows?

It is the master plan of a mad mathematician, the well respected Professor Moriarty, to sow anarchy by pitting nations against each other through sporadic bombings. But Holmes, with a keen sense of perceiving what is not ordinarily seen, saw the web and pinpointed Moriarty as the common denominator in the random acts of terrorism. In character, Holmes made himself a participant in the game, tugging his newly wed partner Dr. Watson in the exploit.  Employing several disguises, Holmes moved like a shadow, shifting , turning, enlarging, disappearing, and yet, was always there, never leaving. And he caught up with the game planner and literally engaged him in a game of chess. The shadows moved, and the knights and the bishops and the rooks were deployed.  The game became a battle of perception, who can outwit who!

In the end, Holmes and Moriarty fell into a deep abyss, and the waters below yielded no body.

Hay, I am a spoiler! Watch it. Guaranteed enjoyable!

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