What does he look like today?

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May marks another month , another year for you but May of any year since May 27,2000 reminds me that my son is no longer with me.It will be his 7th death anniversary this year.

So why am I still blabbering about my son? Have I not moved on?

This quote best sums up any parent who have lost their child.

““Death ended your child’s life but not his or her relationship to the family” and ““You give up the old person who was physically connected to a now deceased child and make different connections with your child who has died.”

I received many emails from friends or relatives describing how their bereaved relative or friend doesn’t seem to be moving on because the dead child’s items are still being kept or they still talk about them. Also there are emails from bereaved parents who claim they are often criticized and even ridiculed by others for expressing their continuing love and connection to their dead child.

I maintain a sacred bond with my son which is very vital to my well being. I have these moments when I dream and imagine what my son looks like now. There was even a time that I wanted to attend the Grade 6 graduation ceremony of Luijoe’s classmates last year. I just wanted to see how they look like hoping to catch a glimpse of my son’s face through them. When I learned that a blogger had a 13 year old son, I told her to hug him for me. So yeah, wishful thinking.

My prayers were answered last Sunday , well sort of…

my beloved son

At the grocery store, I met a mom who I haven’t seen in maybe 7 years. As she hugged me, I struggled to remember her name. My memory fails me but I knew her as a mom of one my kids’ classmates years ago. When she uttered her daughter’s name , Nisha, it sort of rang a bell. She began to talk of her 8 year old daughter who nearly drowned at the Boracay beach but got saved by Nisha. “it was as if someone pushed Nisha to save her drowning sister” . Then she uttered Luijoe’s name which is music to my ears (I like it when people say his name). My mind raced “Oh so Nisha was Luijoe’s classmate”. The revelation thrilled me to no end.

The mom continued on. . On the night of that near fatal drowning incident, Nisha talked animatedly of Luijoe as a handsome and quiet boy loved by their classmates. Aww, I nearly teared with joy. Was that Luijoe that guided Nisha to save her drowning sister?, I pondered.

My heart skipped as I asked excitedly “so is Nisha around?” Nisha was just nearby as her mom called for her. In front me stood a petite 13 year old girl who then gave me a hug and a shy smile as a gentle breeze passed between us. It’s just silly but looking at Nisha, one of Luijoe’s best friends comforted me. It was as if Luijoe stood in front of me. This is how Luijoe looks like today just by hugging Nisha. He was there right in front of me.

And when you feel that gentle breeze
Or the wind upon your face,
That’s me giving you a great big hug
Or just a soft embrace.

Source: Excerpt from the poem “Letter from Heaven”

So dear friends, it is quite normal that grievers often have moments when they feel somehow “in touch” with their dead child or loved one. This feeling may be triggered by a dream that was clearer than other dreams – our awareness seemed heightened, our dream experience was immediate, direct, unmistakably “true.”

All of these thoughts occur especially when it is nearing his birth and death anniversary. It doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on . It means that my child’s legacy transcends time and space.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) 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.

  • Here it is, almost 2AM and I am reading your post, Noemi, and crying. Talagang mababaw ang luha ko sa ganitong mga kwento….

    Last year we also had a freak accident with my 12-year old son M. We were in the province, at our own family beach, and all the kids were in the water. So were most of the adults. Safe! Or so I thought.

    My brother-in-law and some nieces/nephews were canoeing close to the shore when they spotted M floating face up in the water, near the canoe. They shouted to him to move away as the canoe came closer. He opened his eyes briefly, shut them, then sank into the water without any reaction at all (any normal person would have sputtered or reacted to water closing in over his face).

    Fearing an epileptic seizure or worse, my bro-in-law jumped from the canoe and with the other adults close by, carried him to shore. M was not responding as they administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I was on the shore at that time, taking pictures of everyone, and when M was carried to shore, I almost dropped everything I had in my hands.

    To cut the story short, M was revived. We brought him to a neurologist there as well as to one here in Manila who had him undergo an EEG. So far all is clear. But we never got an explanation as to why he seemed to have lost consciousness in the water. Scary!!!

    Just that split second thought of possibly having lost a child is something I can never forget. I cannot begin to imagine what you had to go through but I truly admire how you have transcended it all and risen above it to come back and help others.

    That to me is a wonderful blessing from the Lord to you.

    I look now at Luijoe’s picture and I smile. He is so cute, has large curious eyes that have just the slightest hint of naughtiness that boys his age have. And he has Lauren’s features!

    When you wrote that your son’s classmate Nisha was already 13, it suddenly dawned on me that my son M just finished Grade 6 and also just turned 13 (right about Luijoe’s age now).

    Now that gives me goose pimples!

  • “It doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on . It means that my child’s legacy transcends time and space.”

    Exactly. My Mom died when I was 10 and I’m still not “over” it. Especially when Mother’s Day approaches. That’s the hardest day for me actually.


  • @jane- actually when I was writing this, my tears started to fall. So what more with you? You are so lucky that someone knew CPR. The lifeguard didn’t know how to do CPR and had to ask the bartender to do it for him. Yes, Luijoe is so handsome . He was quite a naughty boy but good one. and give M a hug too.

    @dexie- my mom died when I was 19. You were so young to lose her. Just honor Mother’s day the way you want to. “hugs”

  • Riz

    I am soo crying right now. Before, when I’m crying over something, or someone, I would look forward to that day when I’d stop caring, that day when I could finally say “I moved on” na.. and I’ve always been sure that that day is gona happen, and I draw strength from that fact.

    But the losing a loved one over death is an entirely different ballgame. Not a day has passed na I didn’t cry over missing my dad. It’s been more than a month palang, though, and people would tell me na it’s really like this especially on the first year.

    Still, I can’t imagine there will EVER come a day when I’d stop thinking about my Dad. I know someday, when (and if ever) I’d get married, I’ll think about how it would have been if he was the one officiating that special day, or if he was there to walk me to the alter. Or how he would be like as a grandfather. Or how it would be like if he was still here celebrating birthdays, and anniversaries, and christmasses with us. Or how it would be like if I’m still receiving text messages from him every day, regardless if it’s some corny Erap joke (My dad loves forwarding jokes!! He was funny that way.), or if it’s a Bible verse, or if he’s asking lang if I had lunch na or how my day was.

    I commented this in Gail’s blog already, but I shall say it again.. I think it is when one dies that he/she becomes more alive in the hearts and minds of those people who love him/her. Perhaps it is in dying that people would really appreciate your presence and your worth in their lives.

    It’s nice to think that Luijoe’s up there smiling as he reads his Mommy’s blog, OR maybe, as he hopes you could see him as well so you’d see how much he’s grown! And I’m sure he has already met my Dad too 🙂 (oh God this is making me cry so hard na, I have to stop)

    Sorry to be pouring out these sentiments on your comments section. Your posts never fail to move me, and to give me comfort. Keep them coming. Thank you po. 🙂

  • @riz- *hugs* Your grief is still so new and fresh. Your pain is still raw.Really, tears are not a bad sign, you know! They’re nature’s way of helping you to heal. . .They relieve some of the stress of sadness. I hope your friends can see you through your tears. You’re going through a new normal without your dad. Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your life.

    Death can never take the love and memories.

    can’t know why some things happen…

    But we can know that love

    and beautiful memories

    outlast the pain of grief.

    And we can know that there’s a place

    inside the heart where love lives always…..

    And where nothing beautiful can ever

    be forgotten.

  • Before I became a mom myself, I couldn’t understand the idea of a parent’s unconditional love. My Mama has always been patient with my problematic brother, I even tell her na pabayaan na sya, tutal problema nya naman yun. But she is always there to the rescue, kahit kasalanan nya, she supports him pa rin.

    Anyway, now that I have a son, I understand what “a mother’s love” really is. I’m blessed to have a healthy child, and you know, everytime I see babies and kids, I smile and I feel that I miss my baby, even if I see him everyday. Bafore, I used to think other babies are ugly, but now, for me, all babies are heaven-sent! I look at the parents too, and I know, for them, their baby is the most precious thing…

    I guess moving on is not the same with forgetting. If anybody criticizes you for feeling whatever you’re feeling, just tell them “be thankful you don’t feel the pain I’m going through”. To be blunt, pasalamat sila at di sila nawalan ng taong mahal nila. (sorry, strong ata masyado hehe)

  • @lisa- “be thankful you don’t feel the pain I’m going through”.

    It can come out strong but deep inside that’s how I really feel.
    So many times I want to blurt out angrily when people judge me and say those words. somehow I am able to control myself.

  • my *hugs* to you Noemi.

    let us all remember that more than us parents, it is HIM who blessed us with our children, cared even more.

  • What can I say. I can almost touch your pain. Ooh Noems. I know how you feel … i lost a son when he was months old. II remember my husband got really hurt when I kept crying i wanted to die too. He reminded me i still got him and our oldest son.
    Oo nga naman.

    Well, thats a long ago loss and the grief has dulled but the could-have-beens are bitter sweet.

    Judith Vorst, in Necessary Losses, said that grief isn’t a vertical staircase but a circular one … you find yourself experiencing the hurt again after you thought you are over it.

    But don’t we sometimes revel in the grief — so we dont let it go? Just something to chew on.

  • chyd

    Hi Noime,

    I came across luijoe’s site when I was at the verge of looking for comfort and answer to my questions on being a parent, at that time I was feeling very low and quite dissapointed with my six year old son’s brought about by a school problem. I was glued to my seat for hours and find myself crying while reading your post. Interesting though and permit me if you may, but I actually find my son’s quite resemblance to Luijoe, esp. the one featured above. Since then, Luijoe remains in my mind, I kept telling stories of him to my family and even my kids, I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but everytime I’m on the verge of getting very angry and in the midst of spanking my children, the thought of him enters my mind and I calm down, ending up with me hugging my children instead.

    And when I feel low, I remember you and it reminds me that it is nothing compared to what you have gone through, I admire your courage. I would like to thank you and your family esp. Luijoe for making me a changed mom.

    Indeed, Luijoe is and angel, among hundreds of top sites on parenting, now I understand that maybe Luijoe really directed me to this site for a good reason.

    May Godbless you and your family.


  • @feng- *hugs* thanks for the reminder

    @annamanila- ayy yes. Grief is very much a part of my life. The pain is not raw but triggers do occur .

    @chyd- i am so happy that somehow Luijoe touched your life. It comforts me to know that you got inspired. Don’t worry if you feel low as a mother. it happens.

  • Goosebumps ran up my spine when I read about Nisha. Her talking about Luijoe & then getting “pushed” into the water to save a sister, what a wonderful “coincidence”.

    I know grief & it never goes away. Just because someone died doesn’t mean we forget & we’re not allowed to talk about the deceased. It’s callous for people to begrudge us that. Sometimes when I’m missing my Lola so much I still cry. We know they’re safer, happier where they are so we should rejoice, but missing them will always be a part of us.

    Reading your post, actually triggered my tear ducts. But somehow I feel lighter in spirit.

  • When I saw my youngest brother for the first time fifteen years ago, he was already in his casket lying in state. What he would’ve looked like is one of the usual conversations that I have with my brother right around our youngest brother’s birthday (and date of death).

    I’m sure writing about how you feel is helping everyone out there in one way or another.

  • “The lifeguard didn’t know how to do CPR and had to ask the bartender to do it for him.” – now what the heck is he there for if he can’t administer CPR? Beats me!

    “and give M a hug too.” – I will, I will!!! As soon as he comes back from the province. You know, at Luijoe’s age, he must have always enjoyed your hugs. Don’t you just wish we could freeze them all at the age where they are so lovable and huggable? At M’s age now, he is beginning to squirm sometimes as though he feels a bit uncomfortable about this hugging thingie….

  • Sam

    Thank you so much for sharing and touching our hearts.

  • Riz

    Thanks Miss Noemi, really. Learning a lot from this blog! I guess it’s true that one thing one can do to help others is to share his/her life to them. In this case, you’re sharing your life through you blog. It has become a real blessing to a lot of people, and I can very much attest to that. God bless po. 🙂

  • @auee- These moments are not so frequent and when they happen, a wisp of sadness comes but it’s not that painful anymore.

    @benj- those anniversaries do trigger our thoughts of “what if?”

    @Sam- thank you Sam for visiting

    @Riz- I am truly comforted knowing that you are learning somehow. Take time to work on your grief. The only way to heal is to go through this pain. Then it will lessen. There is hope. Take care.

  • It is difficult for me to read your blog. It reminds me of certain possibilities that are difficult for me to think about. My boy, Tristan, is just 7. I think of what my life would be without him. It is so very difficult to imagine. I send very well wishes your way. You seem like a very caring individual.

  • changchang

    It’s really very difficult for Mothers like me to read something like this.The death of a child,is not something a Mother would ever wish for.As what I often heard; “No parent will bury their children..it’s always the other way around “I have two kids..a girl and a Boy aged 5 and 11 months.Who knows what would become of them in the near future,but everyday I always pray that God will take good care of them and protect them from any harm and that kung may mauuna man dito sa mundo sana ako na yun and not them.Kasi kung sila iniisip ko pa lang ‘di ko talaga kakayanin.I admire you,you are one strong woman!