Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Letters To Heaven For You, Lilly #2

Dear Lilly,

I don't want you to be remembered as nothing but a memory instead I want you to be here right now. I want to see you grow into a beautiful lady. I want to do so many things with you but I know I can't. Not anymore. Mommy is sad because of that. Because I know I can never touch you again. I want to hold you in my arms badly. I want to see your smile. I want to wipe away your tears. I want to make you happy. I want to feel proud that I made you each day. I want to feel complete every day. I want to feel like I did something right. I want you to be alive, healthy and well. But all the things that I want can never be. Not now that you are gone. I miss you so much again tonight. Mommy is feeling lost again. I don't know what to do. I have asked God so many times why he took you away from me but I never got an answer. Too bad I never will. Your Daddy and I prayed so hard to have you but now that you are gone, we are praying hard again to have another. Sometimes I feel guilty when I say that in my prayers because I feel like I am replacing you. Nothing can ever replace you my Lilly. You will forever be our daughter, our first born. Your siblings will know you. I promise to tell them about you. But how will I explain why you are gone? I don't know how to. Mommy is having another grief attack today. All because I miss you so much and I am dying slowly deep inside. Sorry if I am crying again. Mommy cannot help it. I envy everyone with babies. I envy them because we had you for a short while. I could have wished we had you longer. How will I cope? How will I deal? I hope you will continue to watch over us. Until we see each other again. I love you forever...


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grief Is Like An Emotional Rollercoaster Or The Ocean...

They say that grieving parents go through a roller coaster ride as they have to endure the changes in emotion during the grieving process. Losing a child is one of the most painful things that can happen to anyone. It is painful for parents to see their children outlive them first especially knowing that they are older and that they would do anything to see their children alive and well. There are days that are good, days that are bad and on the other hand, there are days when things are worse. Some people call these moments "grief attacks". A grief attack can happen any time. From days of not crying and learning to find acceptance, a grieving parent can go back to square one and have a relapse. This is a grief attack and right now, I think I am having one. The last time I cried was last week before her 40 days took place. I thought that would be the last time I would cry for her but then again, I was wrong. 

Yesterday was a happy day. It was my husband's 30th birthday. Although we initially planned to just stay home and just cook something to remember his birthday, my in-laws decided we should go out. We went on an unexpected outing to a natural waterfall 3-4 hours away from where we lived. I admit that it was nice and I had fun but this morning, it was like I didn't have fun at all. I woke up empty and longing for my little Lilly. Today, there are many things that reminded me of her. The first one was my pregnant cat gave birth to her healthy kittens. That reminded me of me giving birth to Lilly and the time when I was pregnant because my husband and I like cats, we used to joke around that our child would also like cats and play with our pets. Now, seeing her babies, I am sad and reminded of my own. The second one was when my mother said that she will be crocheting and knitting once again. Before Lilly was born, my mother said she was excited to make booties, dresses and other cute things for her. Now, my mom will just be doing it as her hobby. The last one that really made me broke down into tears was when our new maid suddenly asked me out of curiosity where my child is. I responded that she is gone. There was an awkward silence between us in the kitchen after that and as I fed my younger sister, I couldn't help my tears from falling. It sunk again inside me. Lilly was gone and I wish she was here...

I don't know what I am feeling right now. I am sad and hurting but at the same time, I know I shouldn't be crying and that I should be strong. I am angry at myself and at other people but I am trying to understand them. My heart aches. I guess a grieving parent will never get over this pain. People say I shouldn't be so hard on myself and that, I should be selfish now. Sadly, I think I can't. I feel guilty doing whatever I want and can in order to recover. Sometimes things just gets complicated. I wish I didn't experience these highs and lows as I am complicated by myself alone, without all this misery. I love my baby so much. I wish I knew how to feel better but nothing can give me something that last forever. Most of the cures out there are temporary while my heartache is permanent. I wish people would give me time to grieve without inserting their expectations and opinions along the way. After all, they didn't lose a child, I did.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Farewell Lilly: My Tribute To My Daughter After 40 Days Of Her Death

Last Saturday was our daughter, Lilly's 40 days but actually if she was not born early then, that day would have been her actual due date, her actual birth date. Although Lilly lived a short life, she has played a very important role in our lives - not just my life and my husband's but as well as those people who are around us. She was instrumental in unifying us and making our relationships more solid. She also made our faith stronger despite all the doubts that we had at first. Now, I can truly believe that our little angel on Earth has become God's little angel in Heaven. To remember her short life, I have decided to finally write about her humble beginnings...

On December 4, 2010, my husband, Jeff and I got married. We had a simple wedding which wasn't really perfect and complete for at that time, my father and I had a misunderstanding which led us to be driven apart. He did not attend my wedding and he has not spoken to me ever since. We used to live with my husband's mother and his older brother in Novaliches, Quezon City. We moved out last October 2011 and started a new life together in an apartment in Pasig last November 2011. Life was hard because we had to do things by ourselves. We had to pay for everything on our own. It was an adjustment time for us but we were able to cope somehow. At the start of 2012, I started worrying because I kept on having longer periods of bleeding even when I was not supposed to have menstruation yet. Due to these prolonged periods of bleeding, I had to find a good OB to know what was going on. I feared the worse. My husband and I have been trying to have children but our hopes kept on getting crushed. After seeing my aunt's OB, I was given some kind of medicine to regulate my period. At that time of hardship, my father and I finally made peace with each other.

April came. My birthday and my husband's birthday came. We both wished for the same thing - to become parents soon. God finally heard our prayers and when July came, my period was delayed. I waited for two weeks after that in order to test if I was really pregnant or not. When I found out I was, I surprised my husband by waking him up in the wee hours of that Saturday morning. Sadly, the timing wasn't that right. I was just a new employee in the company that I was working for while my husband didn't have a job and was trying to find a new one. Little Lilly was an unplanned baby. She was our bundle of joy and our little surprise. I should have known that the first three months of pregnancy were crucial and the three months prior to her being conceived should have been more planned as well. I was naive and by the time we came to the OB for my first check up, I was already 2 months pregnant. Sadly, we should have come sooner and we should have planned for her in order to avoid what was going to happen after that.

The months that came were both hard and easy. I had an easy pregnancy. No cravings. No morning sickness. No nausea. No vomiting. I did have UTI though which I hoped would leave me alone during my pregnancy but unfortunately, stayed. Meanwhile, I continued to work hard while my husband continued to have no luck in getting a professional job but somehow was still able to get work from home. We had savings but we knew they were not enough. We worried for my pregnancy and also for the day that I would give birth. I was always tired. When I went home, I fell asleep right away. I worked from 5 AM - 2 PM. I woke up at 3 AM everyday. My husband had to do almost all the household chores. It was a trying time for both of us. Little did we know that things would become harder for us in the months to come.

We found out of Lilly's condition during my 5th month when I had an ultrasound. Because my OB wanted to make sure of it, we continued to have them until my 7th month. Usually, parents who had ultrasounds would come out happy, with tears of joy. But all we had were sad faces and tears of concern and sadness. We feared the worst for our child. By this time, we did not care for the gender of our child. We only cared for the safety of our child and how she would survive and would she live to be with us for long. As if the Lord was really testing us and our family, this was also the time when my mother's mother got sick. She was eventually admitted to a hospital and was in the ICU for two weeks. She died just last January this year. Definitely not a good start for this year. At that time, I left my job and we moved to my parents' home in Antipolo. Somehow I felt like we should have moved earlier than that. I was restless and worried. I know my husband was too. We kept on praying to the Lord for our baby's safety. At this time too, I was given a strict folic diet. Folic overload with both the food that I eat and the medicines that I intake. All of us were hopeful that somehow that would help our baby inside of me.

During the months that she was inside me, I often talked to her. When I first realized she was kicking, punching and moving inside of me, I was overjoyed. Despite the hardships that came in the last parts of my pregnancy, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in this world. I had a hard time breathing and had a hard time sleeping. It was hard for me to move and I had bleeding on my 7th month which was stopped through medication and bed rest. On my 8th month, I had bleeding once again. My OB gave me the same medicine and was asked to get nothing but bed rest as well. I thought that would work but sadly, it did not. At 2 AM on February 23, I woke up only find out that I was bleeding heavily which was not a good sign if you are pregnant. I woke my mom and my husband so that they could bring me to the hospital, St. Anthony Medical Center in Marikina. We were not prepared for anything. My husband brought a bag filled with my clothes and all the things that I might need if in case asked about my pregnancy. We expected that I would be admitted but that was it. I sent messages to my OB about my condition which she took seriously. She called me and said she would see me afterwards.

When we got to the hospital, I was asked a couple of questions as I calmly filled out the form in front of me. My husband was worried as he wept while speaking to our then unborn child. Before being admitted, I needed to have a needle inserted in one of my veins for my dextrose. I was never a fan of blood or needles but at that time, I had to endure the pain and be calm about it. After five failed attempts, the nurse finally got the right vein to put it in. Apparently, my veins were too small and were hard to find which is why they took a lot of time putting the needle through it. I was rushed to the emergency room. I was hooked with oxygen and at the same time, something to monitor my vitals as well as our unborn child. The cramps continued despite the medicine which was not a good sign. I continued to pray that hopefully, things will turn out well. Come morning, my OB came. She said I need to stay there for the night which is why my husband had to stay in the ward while waiting for me. The next morning after eating my breakfast, the OB arrived again. I was supposed to be transferred to the ward as my vitals were okay. Sadly, the cramps continued and my baby's heart rate wasn't doing so well. At that time, I was confused and scared. Scared for not myself but for the baby inside of me. The pain and the horror was simply beginning and I was bracing myself for it. I had to. Not just for me but mostly for her, my little Lilly.

My husband was called into the room and it was then that my OB announced that I would be having an emergency C section. My husband went pale with the news but knew he had to inform my mom about it. My OB did not want the operation to happen but it needed to be done to save not just the baby but me as well. I couldn't help but worry as tears fell down my face but I steeled myself as I knew I needed to be strong for her and for me. My husband said he was inside the chapel the whole time they were preparing for my operation. He worried for me and Lilly as I was while I was being rushed to the operating room. I was transferred into the operating table. I was shaved and was asked to be in a fetal position while the anesthesiologist used an injection to put anesthesia through my spine. I felt a sharp stab of pain as the anesthesia took away my feelings. I felt numb from my legs until the numbness crawled all over my body. I was paralyzed. My rosary which was around my neck the whole time was removed and was wrapped around my hands.  The doctors were ready. I knew I had to start praying then.

I knew they were trying to sedate me. I couldn't feel a thing but they wanted me to stay calm. At 11:51 AM, I heard a cry inside the room. It was the cry of my little girl. She was then placed near me by the pediatrician. She was so tiny but beautiful. We all thought the worst for her especially after the ultrasound. We knew of her condition which was Arnold Chiari Malformation II: Hydrocaephalus and Spina Bifida. She had fluid in her head and had a growth in her back. We were all surprised to see her outside of my womb. She did not have a big head and the growth on her back wasn't that big. It was a miracle. Once she was out, I was relieved and happy. Tears started to fall down my cheeks. I was overjoyed. I made something in this world. It was the best feeling ever. But my battle wasn't done yet. I found out I was a bleeder because of what my OB said. I have lost so much blood during the operation and they had to hurry to stitch me up. At first, my OB thought I would lose my uterus because she said it was into so much stress. My baby did that to it only because it wanted to go out too soon and also probably because it was getting too big for it. Good thing, my OB fought for me to keep it.

Once the stitching up was done, I was placed in the recovery room. I did not sleep the whole time I was in the operating room and in the recovery room despite the sedatives. After two hours, I was moved to the ward where I saw my husband and my mother waiting for me. I was still numb when a binder was placed in my belly in order to support my stitch. I was asked to sleep then and I did but only after they saw our little baby. I did care much for the pain I felt. I was elated to find out that Lilly was born. We named her Lilliana Rozen Camille. Lilly was her nickname. She was born premature, 8 months. Her weight was 2.1 kgs. She looked exactly like her Daddy. I could not ask for more. But then again, we all know the sad truth. Lilly had a condition which had to be dealt with. We met her neurosurgeon and spoke of the options. The fluid in her head needed to be drained out of her using a shunt. While the growth in her back needs to be removed and to have corrective surgery. The downside though is that Lilly will not grow up normal. She will have special needs. We accepted that. The question was will she make it. The pediatrician said they need to keep her vitals stable first in order to know the right time for our child to have it. We accepted that and were happy with it.

Lilly got a CT scan in order to know about her condition. My mom used to work in the radiology department of a hospital in Oman. She knew the results right away. My mom did not tell me the gravity of that condition which I only found out afterwards. We were told that Lilly was compatible with life and that she would live. We held on to that promise and we were filled with hope that the surgery would be a success. Many people visited me while I was in the hospital. Many people prayed for my speedy recovery and of course for Lilly's healing. I was blessed and was happy to have them there. I am sure Lilly was too. I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and during my 4th day, I visited Lilly and decided to collect some milk from my breasts which was going to be fed to my baby inside the incubator through a tube which will deliver the milk to her mouth. I spoke to Lilly then and even touched her. The nurse gave me tips on breastfeeding and in pumping milk. The other nurse told me how to take care of Lilly especially when it comes to handling her. Tips which I later found out I could not use. The next day before leaving the hospital, I went to her again and promised her that I would visit her again next time. Unfortunately, my condition wasn't so good. It was hard to move by myself. My stitch was healing but it wasn't going to heal fast enough. I was dependent to my husband the whole time and even need to wear adult diapers to make things easier for me.

Despite all that, I pumped milk which I placed in different feeding bottles for her. I had them frozen and delivered to the hospital. I was overjoyed to find out that she was drinking my milk and as the days passed, her vitals were getting better and she was drinking more of my milk. My mother and my husband continued to visit her at the hospital. My husband cannot touch her since he was not allowed to go inside the nursery. Apparently, only mothers were allowed which bothered him. While I was recovering at home and doing my best to get better to visit her once again, we all prayed for her recovery. The date of her surgery was set. March 11 was that date. We were hopeful despite the news that her transfer to the other hospital kept on being postponed because of the fact that there was no ambulance with an incubator that was available. On March 4, we woke up because Lilly's pedia called. She said that she suffered from two episodes of apnea that morning which was common for premature babies. She had a hard time breathing which was why she needed the help of an oxygen tank for it.

I was alarmed despite the fact that the pedia said it was normal. That day, my husband said I should go visit her since I insisted on going despite not being strong enough yet to go to her. My mother went with me that day because my husband had to stay home since there were people there who needed to fix some things in our home. When I got there, I saw her with the oxygen mask and immediately started crying. I talked to her and prayed for her. When I called her name, she opened her eyes for me. First, one and then two. She was looking at me. Searching for the sound of my voice as I continued to talk to her. I told her she should be strong and that she should do her best to get better soon. I promised her that her father and I would visit her always when she gets better. I told her that we would be together soon. I told her when she gets better, we would take her home soon. I told her how much we miss her and how much we love her. I told her that we pray for her each day and that everyone is waiting for her to go home. She looked at me and kept on nodding as if she knew what I was telling her. She looked at me with her beautiful eyes as if telling me that she wanted to come home with me. That look broke my heart as I broke into tears once again.

On my way home, I felt happy because she moved like she was healthy and she looked happy or at least that is what I thought. That night at 10 PM, her pedia called saying that she was in distress. We immediately broke into tears then. We asked everyone to pray for her. We prayed for her. My mother rushed into the hospital then, leaving us behind. Unfortunately when she got there, our baby was gone. Although I have read the reason of her death, I do not want to explain it anymore. All I know is that she died too soon. Our dreams were shattered when at 11 PM, my mother told us the heart breaking truth. We lost her. She was only 9 days old yet she already made our lives complete. That was March 4. We reached the hospital early the next day. It was already 1 AM then. When we got there, she was cold. Her body was lying there in front of us. She looked peaceful and no longer in pain but we were broken. My mother did a lot of us at this time. After settling the bills at the hospital, that morning, she found a place where her wake could be done.

At first we decided there would be no wake but in the end, we realized that a day to mourn and share her with other people who loved her wouldn't be so bad. Many of my family members visited us so did my husband's family members. Even our friends were there to mourn with us. When I first looked at Lilly inside her wee coffin, I couldn't accept it. I told my OB about Lilly's death and she too was sad for us. She told me that I should be strong and that I should try not to cry too much otherwise, my stitch might bleed and that would be a big problem. The next day came and I knew she would be buried then. Our little angel's body will finally be in its final resting place. My husband and I cried during her last funeral services and when she was buried inside her grave, we did not know what comfort was. The couple of days after her passing were hard to bear. We did not know how we could live another day. We were lost. We found ourselves crying and we were hard to speak to then. But as they always say, life should go on. We just don't know how to.

Even if  the 40th day of her passing is over, Lilly will forever be in our hearts. I know now of the mistakes that I made in the past. I am hopeful that when God gives us another child in the future, he/she will not be taken away from us right away. I hope that I would be ready and so will my husband when that happens. Lilly was a baby filled with good and bad surprises. Although she is with the Lord now, I know, we know that she will forever be watching us and listening to us. She knows how much we miss her and love her. She knows of the gap that she has left inside our hearts and most of all, she knows of the tears that we shed for her. She might be a thousand miles away from home but in our hearts, she will stay. Our love for her knows no distance nor bounds. Goodbye Lilliana Rozen Camille P. Teofilo. Goodbye is not forever. I know someday we will see each other again. We will always think of you and talk to you no matter what. Although we will continue to grieve for you, we will do our best not to cry too much anymore. Acceptance is the key I know. Although it is hard, we will try. We have to move on and try harder to have a better life so that in the future, your sibling will stay longer than you did. We will miss you, our beloved angel...

 The very first photo of her that I took during my first visit to the NICU when I started to pump milk for her. That was her third or fourth day of being there. I was in tears when I saw her. I touched her. I held her. For a moment, the world stopped spinning. It was like we were trapped in our little bubble. My husband kept watch of us outside. We were so happy she was ours.
This photo was taken in the afternoon of March 4. I did not know that was the last time I would see her alive and breathing. I should have held her again on that day but I didn't because I knew she was fragile and she needed to recover. My husband had regrets of not visiting her on that day too. We both had regrets and we were both feeling guilty but we knew we did what we did for her. Our little angel is now with the Lord. We will love her and miss her forever...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Children Are Blessings Not Inconveniences

Children are never mistakes made by their parents. Although some adults think they are, I don't. I don't remember ever thinking that way. All I know is that having children without being married to your partner is a sin. At least, that was my way of upbringing which is why I perceive it as such. These days many unmarried couples have children. They have them out of wedlock and yet they do not care about what other people will say. Whether people would think what they are doing or what they have done is immoral, they don't mind because most of these couples think that their children are blessings. Babies are blessings to unions but sadly, not all couples who have children think they are. 

Since some are unplanned, some are not ready for it. Some tend to seek ways to avoid their babies from being born. Whether they get an abortion, drink something for the baby to die or perhaps give the baby away to be adopted by someone else - it does not matter. For to them, they do not want children. They don't care what happens to them. Unfortunately, many couples who are married, want children and are eligible to have them cannot. Such instances make me question how unfair life can be. How can I not be bitter when I too asked for a child and then after being given to us, she was taken from us after 9 days of being alive on this planet? It is hard to think positively if I tend to compare myself with other people who are not worthy of their children because they do not care for them and do not even want them. This is why I am trying not to. Instead, I am just going to pray for them and hope for the best for their children. To this day, my husband and I continue to pray that one day God would grant us our only wish, to have a healthy child without complications. A child who will grow with us. A child that we can nurture and teach. A child that we will always be proud of no matter what. A child that we will support and love forever. We had Lilly once but God took her away to be one of his angels. Now, we want another one but this time we hope that he/she will stay.

I know a lot of people who have had children when they were too young. They were not ready to raise their children and obviously, they had them out of wedlock. Although most of these people that I knew did not kill their children, they knew how hard it would be to become parents. They just never really thought about it while in the act of creating them. As they always say, the creation of life is the fun part but if you are not ready when life is created then you are in deep trouble. I don't know how to take care of a newborn child. I 
would know only based on what I read and what I learned. I would also know based on what those who know told me. I have never experienced raising a newborn baby on my own. I know it would be quite a responsibility. Am I ready for it? Thinking about that now makes me sad. I was ready but perhaps God thought I wasn't yet. We weren't yet. Such thoughts are painful to digest. Maybe now was not the right time for us to have a baby. Does that mean that we do not deserve to have Lilly in our lives? That thought continues to haunt me and hurt me at the same time. If young women can take care of their children, why can't I? I am already 28 years old for crying out loud! 

In the past, I liked babies and children but not as much as when I got pregnant. I always liked the thought of me teaching my own children things that only I can teach. I like the thought of spoiling them and yet disciplining them at the same time. I like the thought of hearing their laughter and despite the pain that I would feel when I hear or see them cry, I still like the thought of it. They are my children after all. Seeing children everywhere made me happy while I was pregnant. I continued to rub my belly as I talked to Lilly as I told her about the things that we would do together. Sadly, we can do them no more. She has gone away. My child has left me. She has left us. I worried about the little things when I was pregnant. I worried about her a lot but I had strong faith in God and continued to pray for her each day and night. I would often be in tears while I prayed buy after awhile I would be smiling again as I talked to her while rubbing my belly. That gesture soothed me. It soothed her as well. Whenever she would be really naughty inside of me, I would calm her by talking to her and rubbing my belly. Now, doing that would make me look like a fool. I still rub my belly though as I continue wishing she was still inside me. Yes, I might need counseling as my heart continues to yearn for her even though my mind tells me to get over it.

When I was younger, I was scared of getting pregnant without getting married. I was scared because I was told that it would look bad and that my older relatives would hate me if that happened. I know this because I know a lot of my cousins and step siblings - younger and older than me experienced them. Things are never quite the same but they are still with the family because we are family. But society in my country thinks differently. It dictates the right and wrong of things here. I don't know if I should be happy or sad because of that. Somehow sometimes I am both. Mostly though I am upset because of it. Now I think that unmarried or married, people should have children. It is their choice. It is their lives to begin with. Who are we, the society, to decide what is wrong or right for them? Isn't getting married just because you have children not a good reason to enter a relationship that will bind you forever? I am married. I think that if people want to get married, they should get married because they love each other and not because they have to. Children should not dictate the union of their parents. I know this is a modern thought and that religiously, the foundations of family includes a father and a mother along with their children thus, if one is religious or is in a family that is, then he/she should follow it. 

My husband and I were together for nearly 5 years before we got married. We will be 2 years together this coming December and we waited to be married before having a child but we lost her. Somewhere along the way, we thought: Should we have had Lilly sooner instead of later? Could that have affected the outcome of her life now? Nobody knows for sure but we decided not to think about that anymore. The past is over and we are in the present. The present that we cannot seem to get out of. I love my parents a lot and it is because of them why I have values. These values might be old fashioned but I wish to instill them to my children. To Lilly. But I can't do that now. Which is why I have to wait if God will give me another baby to teach. I respect my parents even if we have misunderstandings at times. We have had arguments and fights. We all cried due to heartbreak and I am sad because I feel like I just keep on breaking their hearts. I do not have the right to do that. Not to them. I am always telling them how sorry I am. 

My parents like other parents love me dearly and unconditionally. Even when they give me an ultimatum, they can only stick with it for some time, sooner or later, they give in. They have sacrificed so much for me. That is why I know what good parenting is like. Too bad I don't think I did that to Lilly. I still feel guilty and mad to this day. My husband and I know better now. Which is why we are hoping to be better parents someday. For now, I am glad to have had Lilly in our lives. A simple blessing although taken right away, she was our little angel, our little treasure. Forever we will miss her and love her dearly. Children are blessings. I hope everyone would agree. I hope that one day more parents would appreciate their children. For me, the day Lilly was born, I was reborn because then I found out my purpose in life and that was to create her. All parents should think that way. All parents should love their children. They should never take them for granted. I know I wouldn't if she was alive...

We miss you, our little angel, Lilly. You will forever be our little blessing even when you are no longer with us.

Lost But Hopefully Found Soon

Have you ever felt like you are already awake and yet you don't want to get up because you are hurting or there is this huge hole inside you that can never be filled which causes you to be lonely which is why you just want to either cry, go back to sleep or just lie there and do nothing? I have felt that feeling many times. I have broken down when I wake up in some mornings. I know I shouldn't as my child wouldn't like it but I cannot stop myself from doing so. But in the end, my sanity prevails. My mind is the only thing that makes me move around lately aside from my drive to do so because of my loved ones. I want to be productive yet it is hard to be. Especially when you find yourself going back to the feelings that you thought you'd forgotten even just for a little while. I don't want to associate bad feelings with Lilly. I know she deserves to be remembered with good feelings but how can I stop my heart from bleeding whenever I feel for her? My mind cannot keep on telling my heart to do that. I admit that my heart is stubborn. I wish it wasn't though. 

Lately, I've been thinking. What do I do now? My husband thinks of the same thing. Our lives have been centered on our plans with Lilly that we have forgotten what it was to be just the two of us. Now, we feel like we are incomplete. We will continue to sigh deeply each time we miss her. For now, we are both indeed lost. Is that a good thing? I don't think so. I know that at some point we would have to move on without her in our lives and that is a very painful thing to do. It is easier said than done. For now, we are both clueless on what to do next. Which is why we constantly ask God to help us and guide to whichever path he would like us to take. After all, he was the one who put us in this track. Only he knows what will happen next. We are thinking of studying again. A short course perhaps to change careers or stay in the same career and improve ourselves? We are thinking about it and right now that is the only thing that sounds appealing to us. My husband is currently learning 3D animation on his own but hopefully, he will start learning in a free program for two months soon. Hopefully, this will give him more of an edge in the industry he loves. Meanwhile, my mother thinks I should study culinary arts which isn't a bad idea. After all, I enjoy cooking and in a way that would be instrumental if in case we do end up having a business related to food. Plans, plans, plans. So many suggestions and ideas and yet none of them are solid yet. We may not know which path to take but we are hoping we will soon. Our lives might not exactly be perfect right now but we are trying not to lose hope. All this is not just for both of us but for our little Lilly who continues to watch us from heaven after all...

Hopefully this is true...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thank You To All My Readers, Believers And Supporters

It is nice to hear people tell you that they read what you write and what you post. It is very flattering. Not just because I am being acknowledged by some people but also because they think I make sense and that I have something to tell. Not many people have told me these but a few have and I am glad they have. These people have encouraged me to continue writing. Back in high school, I used to write for fun and my English and Filipino teachers told me to keep on doing so. I did. When I was in college and even after that, I continued to write poems and short stories which is why I ended up getting a short course in freelance writing. I had to study on my own and it wasn't easy. The exams I had to take, the papers I needed to write, the articles. Everything! I knew they wouldn't write themselves. After nearly two years of studying, I graduated. Although not with honors, I still finished it. I was very proud then. I was able to finish something that I started. After that, I took writing jobs last year. Although I have stopped recently because I gave birth and because Lilly died, I still continue to write for myself. Writing is my passion. I used to think that art was the only one but now, I know that I was born to be a writer too. Although I may not be doing this 100 percent professionally yet, I am hoping that one day I will be able to do that. In the future, I hope to write fiction novels. Perhaps even non-fiction ones as well. For now, I will write in my blog and in my facebook account. For each person has a story to tell. All we need to do is listen and in my case, read. For we should never judge a person right away unless we know his/her actual story...
Thank you to all those who believe in me and to all those who support me. I am glad my voice has an effect to others. I want to be an inspiration despite the pain that I am going through right now. I know I am not perfect but at least people can learn a thing or two from me. Thank you for this talent to reach out to people, Lord...

My Letters To Heaven For You, Lilly #1

I read somewhere while I was pregnant that I should write letters to my baby which I should read to her when she was old enough to understand what I wrote to make her know how much she means to me but I never did that. I should have but if I did, it never would have mattered. She will never get the chance of reading them anyway now that she is gone. So, here I am with a broken heart, it beats, it loves, it cares. It longs for her each passing day. It cries as it misses her every single day. I will never get her back, I know that now but I will forever keep her in my heart. I might not have written to her while she was in my belly but now, I want to write to her even if she is already in heaven. Hopefully, every letter will be delivered to her through my memories and my heart. Lilly, this will be the first of many letters so please bear with me...

Dear Lilly,

When I woke up this morning, it was you that I remembered first. I took my phone beside me and greeted you a good morning. As your face is still my wallpaper, I kissed you and smiled. I felt my heart ache. I asked myself why I have to do this everyday to a material object when I should be doing this to a real person. Sadly, I know I will never get the chance to greet you and kiss you each day. As I washed my face to get ready for another day without you, I remembered the time when I was in the emergency room before giving birth to you. I was scared. I did not want to give birth to you yet as I knew you would only be 8 months then. You would be premature and I knew that wasn't good. Apart from your complications, I knew being premature would only make things harder for you. But I decided I have to be strong. I must be strong for you. I did not know how things would go in the operating table but all I knew was I had to deliver you safely somehow. After I was given anesthesia, I was sedated but I did not sleep. I was too excited and anxious to see you. When I heard your first cry, tears fell from my eyes. When I saw you for the first time, I was both happy and sad. Happy because you were alive and sad because I knew things would be complicated and hard for you. I did not want to see you suffer. I did not want to see you in pain but I knew you would be. I just hoped and prayed you wouldn't be. I was not able to see right away after that. When I was well enough to see you and bring you some milk for the first time, I saw you inside the incubator. I cried again but I stopped myself from doing so. I touched you then. That was the first and last time I ever did that. I felt the warmth of your skin. I felt how soft it was. You were perfect. My heart swelled with pride and overflowed with love. I was proud to have made something in this world. I touched your feet and your tiny fingers. I held on to your hands and pretended you were clutching them as I saw you sleeping. I touched your cheeks and pretended that I kissed them. I was so overjoyed. I was happy to finally be a parent. I never knew that kind of love existed but I felt it when I first saw you. Thank you for making me feel that way. I never knew something so small could ever make me feel that way. God gave you to me, to us and I am glad he did. I am only sad that after giving you, a blessing to us, he took you away right away. But maybe you know the reason behind it. I am glad you are no longer fighting. I am happy you no longer in pain. We love you so much. I hope that you will never forget that. You may be in heaven but forever in our hearts you will stay...


Here is a song that we would like you to hear, Lilly. This was sung and composed by Eric Clapton. This song is called "Tears In Heaven". He made this after his son died which is why like us, he knows true grief. He knows the true pain of losing a child. Losing a child is said to be the most inconsolable thing to ever happen to anyone and that once a child is taken away from his/her parent, the parent feels like they no longer have anything to lose. We will miss you forever, our dear daughter. Sorry if I always shed tears. See you in heaven. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Don't Need Your Sympathy Or Apathy. Your Empathy Is All I Need. Is That Too Much To Ask?

Sympathy - I am not asking for that. Empathy is what I need. Apathy is what I despise the most. Seeing these words here now, I wonder if people know what they all mean. Sympathy is when you pity someone while empathy means you feel for someone and you understand and lastly, apathy is when you are numb and don't care at all. I have done all three things. I have shared my sympathy for many people but they say that I should not pity them instead empathize with them. I did not understand it then but I do now. There was a time in my life when I became apathetic. I do not remember how long that was but it happened. That was a chaotic time in my life. It was a stage that I do not want to go back to. Do I want to feel numb again to stop feeling all the pain that I have right now? Sometimes I am tempted to but I know that would not be normal. Suppressing it all and forgetting them all will not help me. It will just pile up inside of me until I burst when I cannot take it anymore. I don't want that. 

When my daughter, Lilly, died, I felt like it was the end of the world for me and husband. We were so lost, so crushed. We felt like we cannot live anymore. We cried buckets of tears until we were all dried up but the pain remained. The pain continues to burn deep inside our hearts everyday. We mourn for her each passing day. We pretend that she is just far away and that we cannot be with her but one day we will. She is in heaven now. That we know. We just cannot bring ourselves to accept that always. Until when will we continue to grieve? I don't know when. My husband has already promised our baby that he will not cry as he needs to be strong for me. In my case, I cannot bring myself to promise that as I still cry sometimes for long moments especially when I miss her and whenever I feel regret or guilty for her loss. 

Ever since she passed away, many people have sent their deepest condolences. Most of them were my friends. Some my previous office mates and even my boss. Others my acquaintances. But most of all, my family and relatives. Nobody knows the pain that I am feeling and I am sure no one will ever understand exactly how it feels to be in my shoes but then again, the thought that they went out of their way just to comfort me was something that I was thankful for. I am not seeking attention. All I am seeking is comfort. Comfort in the fact that there are people out there who care. Comfort in the fact that even in my darkest hour, there are some people who will never abandon me. As I have said, I don't need sympathy. All I need is empathy. Empathy that I rarely get from people. Empathy that I rarely ask from everyone. 

It is sad though that most of the time, all I get is sympathy or what's worse, apathy. I know I am not the center of the world and so whatever happens to me shouldn't concern everyone. All I am saying is that the people that you expect to at least give a damn end up having none. Even friends and relatives who you thought would at least extend their condolences or ask how you are end up ignoring you or end up not acknowledging the fact that you lost a child. I hate it when people do that. Okay, fine. Don't care at all but don't expect me to care when you need me. That's bad, I know. I just can't help it sometimes. I don't expect much from these people. I just thought maybe they would have the decency to at least show they care. Not just for me but to those who have lost Lilly. Which makes me wonder if they care for Lilly at all. Oh, right. They never met her. They never saw her expect through the pictures that I posted. They never even visited me while I was at the hospital recuperating after giving birth. They could have at least said hi. 

During Lilly's wake, they never even dropped by to see my child. They never even held my hand, hugged me or told me even through a text message, a call or a facebook message that they care and that if I need them, they are there. None of those. I hate it when people abandon you when you are not at your strongest. I am not a weak person. I am a fighter and I am usually the one people depend on. Now, I am weak. I need my husband and those around me to empathize with me to feel strong again. I need people right now to care for me because I am still fragile. I still hurt. I am still in pain. But I guess caring is too much to ask for other people. So now I have to learn to get used to being sympathized and also being totally ignored. It is the teenage years all over again. Awkward moments. Bullying. Being ignored and uncared for by others. I hated that. Those years were not worth reminiscing. Maybe some parts of it were but not all. Never. 

It has been nearly a month since Lilly's passing and yet many people continue to support me. I am glad that they are there for me despite the distance and everything else. I guess I should stop thinking negatively about the others who never cared and who just pity on me. I know I am loved and cared for and that Lilly was too. She will forever be precious to all of us. Never forgotten, Always missed. To those who have shared their never faltering empathy, thank you. To those who have shared their sympathy, thank you as well but I don't need it. Lastly, to those whose apathy they have displayed, screw you! I am no longer giving a damn about it. Life goes on and I should move on. I know this. But not now, just not yet. When I am ready, I will be thankful. Thankful because there are people out there who helped me. If you are one of them, thank you so much. 
Sadly, looks like many people's empathy gland is depleted these days...We are now in an age filled with either sympathy or apathy. What a sad way to live. What is this world turning into?

Happy 28th Birthday? - Maybe But Not So Much

Happy Birthday! - We all celebrate our birthdays each year and every year we grow old. I will never understand as to why people celebrate a day when they grow older but I can definitely understand why they celebrate it because they appreciate that they are alive and are growing. Most people would be happy on their special days but in my case, I am not a birthday person. Ever since my well celebrated 7th birthday which was exaggerated in more ways than one, I just never really put so much emphasis on my birthday. Don't get me wrong. I love celebrations but I am not into throwing grand parties just because it is my birthday. I like to keep things simple and well, I suppose I am not much of a birthday person. 

If I recall correctly, I had so many cakes on my 7th birthday. My parents and I invited so many visitors. There were so many parlor games. The food was nearly endless. The street was closed for public use just because my Dad said so. Even if I cried during one of the parlor games because I got hit by other kids while grabbing on some prizes which I never got, still, that birthday was awesome and something that I will never forget for a long time. I don't know. Maybe I maxed out on that birthday and forgot what it was like to celebrate too much on my birthday.This year is not different. The only difference is that this year is the saddest birthday of them all. Not because I had no visitors, no party, no food, no birthday cake and other typical birthday things but rather because I just lost my daughter, Lilly, just a month ago. 

The weekend before my birthday, my husband and I visited her grave. I told her to visit me on my birthday and greet me. That night, she did. I cried the morning of my birthday because I know it was all a dream and that reality is nothing but a far cry from it. It is sad to realize such things especially on your special day. The night before my birthday, my aunts and cousins went to our house. They have been here since Holy Week so I figured they just wanted to hang out more. I did not expect them to bring food and even buy me a birthday cake. It was unexpected indeed. I was greeted Happy Birthday. I smiled and ate but that was it. My husband who said he could not buy me anything on my special day because he was broke, merely bought some roasted pork for that night. I didn't mind. I was happy with or without gifts. I was only sad because the one gift that I have wished for so long has been taken from me. My birthday is April 1. What other event happens on that day? What else but April Fool's Day. Ever wondered what it would be like to celebrate a birthday on a day when everybody thinks it is a prank? That is another reason why I never celebrate my birthday. It is hard for people to take it seriously. They always think I am kidding when I am not.

Anyway, on my birthday, my Mom decided that we should just eat out. So, we did. We ended up eating a sumptuous dinner at Savory in SM Taytay. We had fun. I did my best to smile and laugh as it was my special day but then again, I still yearn for something that no one can ever give. Being there at the mall during my birthday was okay. I was thankful that I was given another year to live and also thankful that there are so many people around me who love me and care for me. I only wish that my birthdays in the years to come won't be so sad. I only want happiness but I don't think I can get true happiness yet. Not now. I am still in the process of grieving for my baby after all. Hoping for something better in my next birthdays to come...
 My birthday cake. Half of it was consumed during my birthday and the rest we had to eat before it expired yesterday. Yummy but super sweet. I appreciate the thought of buying me a cake though. Thanks Mom. 
Me on my birthday and a special message from my aunt who was there when we ate out. Looking at this photo of myself, I feel like I am different. I look different. Maybe all the crying and grieving has made me look this way. Either way, I am missing my daughter still and nothing and no one can ever bring her back to me. Not even on my special day...