“Dear, if you google Sexy Filipina, I am on the first page.

“Whaaaaa?” My husband looked horrified.

Then I added “Try googling for Sexy Filipina Mom too and my blog is number 1″

I wasn’t about to see my husband choke on his coffee so , I quickly related about the Reshaping The Filipina Image Campaign through our blog entries.

“Isn’t it better for my blog to appear on the first page of those keywords instead of dating, mail order brides, exotic young Pinay babes or porno websites?

My husband agreed.

See, when I first read about the furor over the Sexy Mom internet handle, I thought it best to get over my disappointmet and turn it into a positive statement. The Smart and Sexy Mom herself wrote the entry, A Closure, A New Beginning–Reshaping the Online and Sexy Filipina Image.

That’s what I call turning a pain into something positive. There is a lesson when we are confronted with pain. Something big is being worked out in us.

There are an abundant of sources of pain in our life. Most of us grew up recovering from unresolved pain from the past. We have feelings sometimes from early childhood to the present that either hurt too much to feel or that we had no support to deal with.

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krispy Kreme
Surrounded by media celebrities , Lauren and M find themselves posing like celebrities themselves.

Early this evening, a few bloggers attended the Krispy Kreme Coffee and Doughnut VIP Party. How could I resist doughnuts. The girls tagged along with me to check out the new branch over at Greenhills which is scheduled to open this thursday, June 28.

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birthday party
I still remember the dinner parties at our house. They were fun and less costly. But, now it seems to be a thing of the past.Juned

It doesn’t have to be that way, Juned. Though technology and urbanization indeed has made things so much more convenient for us, dinners and great conversation should never be a thing of the past. I know it is a bit more laborious to prepare food instead of hiring a caterer. The joy and the fulfillment of doing it out of love makes up for all the work. It’s also one reason I refused my husband’s suggestion to host my birthday party at a fancy restaurant or in a hotel’s banquet hall.

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The day after my birthday, Myrna aka Annamanila treated me out to dinner along with Dine alias Sexy Mom and Chato alias Chateau. (oops correction , it was a treat from all of them)

birthday celebration

As some might know, AnnaManila used to be a former colleague from my last employment which was err…20 years ago, the week that I was about to deliver M. Imagine I haven’t seen her for almost 20 years and we got reunited through my blog. We were not exactly best of friends though. In fact, I feel closer to AnnaManila now that she is a blogger like me. She used to edit my boring research work to pieces and made them exciting to readers. Of course I loved the end-result. I didn’t recognize my writing. Haha.

What is truly amazing about blogs is the rediscovery of old friendships like Annamanila and developing new friendships like Chato and Dine. You wouldn’t think we just met this year . We laughed and babbled the night away. I really had a blast that friday night.

birthday treat

Oh and look what AnnaManila got for me!

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compassionatefriendsIt is hard to imagine when we are in the midst of heavy grief that any good will ever come out of it. What we have lost is not replaceable , any more than the loss of a child is made up for the birth of another child. I have been witness to the unimaginable pain of four bereaved mothers who lost their only child/children. When the Compassionate Friends launched formally in January 2006, a sudden dearth of parents wanted to meet up for coffee. Those who were not within Metro Manila , just wanted to talk over the phone. And so this was how I met four courageous women who were in their mid-thirties. (Some events were changed to protect their identity)

Mom no. 1 lost her only child, a 6 year old girl through leukemia
Mom no. 2 lost her two children (a girl and boy) in the same year.
Mom no. 3 lost her eldest and only son/child through stillbirth
Mom no. 4 lost her eldest and only son after a failed congenital heart operation.

(Now don’t think this is all depressing… let me just finish)

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A writer of a local movie production company wanted to speak to me about The Compassionate Friends, a grief support group for family members who have lost a child through death.

You know, I often receive all sorts of legitimate and stalkerish type of text messages . One time someone sent me this message “I want to be your passionate friend”

*sigh* Now you understand I need to be wary sometimes.

So anyway, the person texted back that we’re doing a movie about a family that lost a child. It would be helpful for me if I could immerse myself and capture what bereaved parents feel.

To immerse meant to attend our regular meeting. I told her it wasn’t possible because our meetings are confidential and only for bereaved family members. Even if I get permission, new members might not be open to the idea of a writer in our midst. I suggested I talk to her first before I decide to gather a group of bereaved parents for a special session.

If indeed this person is from the movie industry, I truly welcome this opportunity to educate the public on grief and family recovery. After all, grief education is a segment of The Compassionate Friend’s mission. We still live in a world where grief is a taboo topic.

I also want to see if this person is a legitimate writer. Even if she is legitimate, will their movie portray it as accurately as possible?

When it comes to developing the dramatic portion of the movie, the writer can conceive all possible scenarios of pain, anguish, desperation and all the undescribable emotions during the grief journey. The death of our child, or children, is a profound and enduring loss; so far as each of us can, we pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and try to make some sense of what has happened. When a child dies, no matter what their age or the cause of death, grief lasts far longer than society in general recognizes. The death of a child is an unacceptable tragedy and it can take a long time before one can regain any sense of normality in their life.

The problem really is not the dramatic portion but the dialogue of the characters.

So I thought of listing down a wish list of ideas.

Whether the movies, TV shows or new reporting, here is my wish list on grief education:

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My daily routine consists of waking up at 5:15 AM to drive either of my 2 daughters to work or school by 6:15 AM. During one of these trips, I was caught in traffic at Ortigas Avenue for at least 30 minutes. What to do? To distract myself from the stressful traffic, I take this as an opportunity to chit-chat about anything under the sun. As always, the topic was men. This time, I was curious about how guys and girls these days know they are a couple. I often hear the phrase “she asked me out” or “he asked me out” and that’s it.

I asked Lauren, how is it done these days?

I told her that the first guy who courted me in the mid-seventies asked me “Can you be my girlfriend”? And all I had to do was bat my eyelashes and utter a “yes” or “No” but not after giving the guy at least 2 months of hardship. And all that courtship is done inside the house under the watchful eye of my mother. I was not allowed to have guy visitors if there was no chaperone in the room.

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50yearoldme.jpgMy 50th birthday started with a cardiac workout at the gym. As I pressed the age setting on the treadmill, I found it a bit strange to press 5-0 on the screen. Later that night as I applied a concealer on the brown spots around my cheekbone, I discern a few fine lines on my face , the sign of wrinkles starting to show. I wear these fine lines like battle scars with a badge of courage. Aging is truly a state of mind. I approach my life with a child-like curiousity , eager to embrace everything life can offer.

I am full of gratitude for all the blessings in my life. Inspite of all the pain, I have transcended beyond it and am now in a state of my new normal life. Part of this new normal is moving to our new home. Together with my birthday celebration, I finally had our house blessed by a seminarian, the representative of our parish priest. I am touched by the life story of Brother Hernan. He also lost a sibling and at the age of 5 years old, he was reared by his grandparents because his parents separated soon after his sibling’s death. Instead of growing up bitter, he chose to be a compassionate brother willing to serve God for the rest of his life. The house blessing was even more meaningful as he spoke of love.

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