Flowers for Your Birthday

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flowersOne of my fondest memory of Luijoe are the wild flowers he gathered from the park . With eyes twinkling as he held out the flowers, he scrambled up to my lap , gave me a hug and smacked a wet kiss on my cheek while uttering I love you so very much, Mama. Today it’s my turn to get flowers for my boy because July 13 is his 14th birth anniversary. But who says there can’t be a birthday cake, birthday present, or a birthday party?

Death ended my child’s life but not his relationship with my family. Even if there is no birthday boy to celebrate his 14th birthday with, I know that a spritual bond exists between us. As I gaze at the lovely flowers I bought at the Market! Market!, I marvel at God’s creation on the beauty of life. It’s good to be alive and to have survived the past 7 years of this grief journey. True, my son might not be around but his memory lives in my heart. We can still celebrate his birth anniversary at home.

My husband took a leave from work so we could bring these flowers over to Luijoe’s resting place. Memories of Luijoe saying , ““I love you so very much, mama” flooded my thoughts again. I smiled and felt the comfort of his love. As I laid down the flowers for Luijoe, I whispered “You know how much I love you, don’t you?”

Knowing he is an angel, I know he can intercede to God for our prayer request . We prayed together and sought for guidance over the civil case we filed against the beach resort where Luijoe drowned 7 years ago. The mediation proceedings was supposed to happen today, Friday the 13th but the resort lawyers are superstitious. They didn’t want to fly over to Manila on Friday the 13th so it was moved for next Friday.

memorial table

What is a celebration without a cake! As we cooked our dinner over the Korean Grill, four candles are lighted at Luijoe’s memorial table. One candle represents our GRIEF, one for our COURAGE, one for our MEMORIES and one for our LOVE.
birthday cake

The legacy Luijoe left behind is a love that transcends time and space.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1385 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • Happy birthday to your son. He was surely a gift and blessing to your family despite the short time he spent with you. 😀

  • When I first chanced upon the story of your son’s death, it made me cry so hard. It is painful more so for you I’m sure.
    I’m happy to know how this experience has given you so much strength and how your litle angel continues to inspire you and your family.

    Happy birthday to Luijoe.

  • Happy 14th birthday to Luijoe. *HUGS* Noemi.

  • “a love that transcends time and space…”

    Very touching. If only everybody could love like that, this would be one sweet world. 🙂

  • It’s also my first born’s birthday – July 14. I don’t know if he’s coming home. We haven’t talked. 🙁

  • AnitoKid

    It’s my first time here yet I have this strange feeling that I am not a stranger here. Your post is all heart. No fancy words or wordtricks. Just heart. All heart. I sincerely feel your longing. Your efforts to cope. Your search for justice. Your love.

    AnitoKid at

  • Myrna

    Happy Birthday, Luijoe! We miss you so much.
    Tita Myrna, Tito Manolet, and cousins, Mark, Christian, and Emmanuel

  • Noemi, happy birthday to your precious angel.

  • Dear Noemi,

    Happy Birthday to our little angel, Luijoe. He will always be with you, with us. In the flowers that you don’t forget to bring to him. In the candles that you light. In the words that you write remembering him, his short but eternal life. In the parents, us, that you inspire. In the continuing struggle in life that prods us to move on and do our share in society in our own little way.

    In other words, Luijoe lives….



  • Happy Birthday, Lui-Joe! I remember that when I arrived from the US that July for my STC-Cebu reunion, your mom couldn’t pick me up from the airport becuase she had just given birth to you. So, I had to take a cab — alone — to your home. OK, I was terrified but I did it, anyway. Thus, when you came home for the first time from the hospital, I met you. All that black hair, that’s what I could remember about you.

    I don’t know why I had to be there also at the time of your passing. It’s as if God and the Universe asked me to be a witness to your entry and exit in this lifetime. I don’t know.

    When Marina Hamoy, my friend, came screaming inside the beauty parlor that day at the Maribago Blue Waters resort — when I was having my manicure and pedicure — “Lorna, you must come right away because something’s happened to Lui-Joe!” — I could feel my blood rushing up to my head and an unspeakable fear almost paralyzing me. That day was a test of courage for all of us. I still remember the patter of the rain when we left the hospital to go to Cebu City to make funeral arrangements.

    In between those precious six years, Lui-Joe, we had a little time to be together, for you to keep me company in the garden (where I used to smoke), playing with your toys and performing for me. Your beautiful smile is what I remember most! Your love — definitely unconditional!

    Thank you for the time you were with us, Lui-Joe.

    It’s nice having an angel around us!

    Your loving aunt,

    Tita Lorna

  • Noemi, your family’s strength is an encouragement to me and surely to countless others. Happy birthday to dear Luijoe. I pray with you on the civil case. Hugs!

  • Happy Birthday to your angel Luijoe!

    He’s looking down from heaven with a smile, knowing that his family and friends never forget him.

    You’re strength is really inspiring, Noems!

    Take care and God bless!

  • There is an Irish saying, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
    My heart goes out to you.
    Catherine, the redhead

  • happy birthday luijoe!

  • happy birthday to your angel. i’m sure he’s very happy in our Lord’s Kingdom.
    my son pio also lost his bestfriend in school last year. i know he misses him so much.and im also so affected with the loss.
    noemi i wish you well. God bless.

  • happy birthday to an angel! dont you feel him around you? isnt it sweet.

  • Belated Happy Birthday to your son!

    Flowers will always be the greatest compliment one could ever receive, may it be personally given or delivered in any special occasion. It is an extraordinary gift that expresses diverse meaning of affection.