Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
love leaves a memory no one can steal.
~From a headstone in Ireland

Lisa Marie Presley is obviously in grief. She is devastated. In her heart-wrenching blog entry, He Knew, Lisa is gutted and feels like she could have done more for her ex-husband, Michael Jackson.

14 years later I am sitting here watching on the news an ambulance leaves the driveway of his home, the big gates, the crowds outside the gates, the coverage, the crowds outside the hospital, the Cause of death and what may have led up to it and the memory of this conversation hit me, as did the unstoppable tears.

A predicted ending by him, by loved ones and by me, but what I didn’t predict was how much it was going to hurt when it finally happened.

The person I failed to help is being transferred right now to the LA County Coroners office for his Autopsy.

All of my indifference and detachment that I worked so hard to achieve over the years has just gone into the bowels of hell and right now I am gutted.

I am going to say now what I have never said before because I want the truth out there for once.

Our relationship was not “a sham” as is being reported in the press. It was an unusual relationship yes, where two unusual people who did not live or know a “Normal life” found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part. Nonetheless, I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much.

I wanted to “save him” I wanted to save him from the inevitable which is what has just happened.

His family and his loved ones also wanted to save him from this as well but didn’t know how and this was 14 years ago. We all worried that this would be the outcome then.

At that time, In trying to save him, I almost lost myself.

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Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?
~Author Unknown

The Michael Jackson I knew, loved and grew with during my teen years in the seventies

Screaming headlines are plastered all over. Michael Jackson, pop music legend, dead at 50. Michael Jackson, an icon of my generation. How we often played the music of the Jackson 5 during high school parties in the Martial Law years. I had all his records from Got To Be There, Ben, Music and Me, Forever Michael and even played some songs in the Yamaha organ or piano. I am one of his fans. The Michael Jackson in the seventies. I am saddened of his death because he played an important role in my youth, you know those moments when his music just lifted my spirits. They were my comfort songs during those days when being a teen was just rough ranging from unrequited (puppy) love, strict parents and snooty high school batchmates.

I’m aware that Michael Jackson has been known to be a weirdo and child molester who changed his skin color and appearance into that of a white woman. I don’t fully understand the circumstances of this strange shift in his looks. His looks have changed indeed but his music is there for keeps.

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Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.
Donald Porter V.P., British Airways

As bloggers, sometimes it is so easy to bitch and rant when something displeases us. I myself, am sorely tempted to blog whenever bad service or experience hits me. As a rule, I blog only after I exhausted every means to resolve an issue or resolve it amicably with the person concerned. Wearing the hat of a small business owner with an online business, I’m going to be unhappy if my customer blogged about my services without having gone through the help desk or given me a chance to resolve the issue in a timely manner. It is one reason I am patient with customer service because I know how it feels to be on the other end.

Now, I also know my consumer rights and am quite assertive. My daughter calls it my bitch powers. Don’t think bitch power is about being mean or demanding. I’ve used it before with MERALCO. It means knowing my rights and being assertive. Let me cite three recent examples that started with a complaint and ended with a positive resolution.

1. Amazon purchase and DHL

Last December 2008, I ordered two sacred songs CDs and a DVD for the Candle Light ceremonies of my grief support group. Since I wanted it to arrive within 5 days, I chose the express mail.

1 CD Angel Voices (Libera) $13.99
1 DVD Angel Voices: Libera in Concert $14.99
1 CD New Dawn (Libera) $16.98

Item Subtotal: $45.96
Shipping and handling: $41.96
Total: $87.92

Here is that Custom duties statement

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Image courtesy of Pedestrian Observer

Ruby Rose’s death was just so shocking that it took me many days before I woke up from my stupor to blog about it. Her death was just too gruesome that even a seasoned police investigator found it difficult to describe the circumstances on how Ruby Rose was handcuffed and gagged with packaging tape before being strangled with a steel wire and cemented in a drum, which was then sealed in a steel case and dropped in the waters off Navotas. Now how disturbing and horrifying can that description ever get? Yesterday, Ruby Rose was finally laid to rest. Her dad’s message just tore my heart out.

The grieving father, Roberto Barrameda, promised Ruby Rose that the family would continue to seek justice.

““We’re sorry that your daughters are not here to see you. But you must understand their situation right now,” Barrameda said in the direction of his daughter’s casket.

Hours before the burial, Judge Gloria Aglugub of Las Piñas Regional Trial Court Branch 254 denied the Barramedas’ petition to allow Ruby Rose’s children to visit the wake.

Judge Gloria Aglugub released a resolution denying the motion of Ruby Rose Barrameda-Jimenez kin to allow the children of the deceased to visit the wake based on ridiculous notion that the children were not willing to go to the wake. Oh come on!

I am so angry at the violent nature of her death and more so, when the judge denied her children from attending their mom’s funeral. Why are there so many legalities surrounding the custody of the children even at the time of the final resting rites? Despite the family rift, I know these kids love their mother and are grieving. Does taking away the kids’ right to their mom’s funeral protect them from further trauma? Sooner or later, Rose’s kids will know the real story behind their mom’s death.

The poor grieving children may not appear to be traumatized yet but they will surely re-experience or re-visit the loss every time they pass through a developmental stage. Grief and loss, when it takes place, cannot just be swept under the rug. Losing a mother is a real occurrence in a child’s world and we must allow that child to grieve. As adults and caregivers, we must do everything in our power to help them navigate that journey from sadness to hope. But does Rose’s father know that? or the judge?

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Two days ago, I turned 52 years old and the first thing I received at the stroke of midnight was a wet kiss on the cheeks from my husband. Wiping the wet imprint from my face, I could only smile and hug my husband back. Turning 52 means that I need to encode 52 under age settings during a treadmill workout at the gym but other than that, I feel great. I’ve never felt so wonderfully blessed. If you know the “Dancing Queen”, I live by the motto

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen

I have been having the time of my life since I turned 50 and will continue to have the time of my life even beyond 52 years old.

Anyway, I could not blog the past two days because of technical issues.

My birthday started off with a brunch with my family before I headed off to Singapore for the Nokia Connection 2009 upon the invitation of Nokia Philippines. My dear husband was supposed to go along with me so we could meet up with his sister there after the Nokia event only to find out that they were coming over to the Philippines for a vacation. So it was just me who left for Singapore.

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““When you look outward you dream, and when you look inward you awaken” Brian Quebengco, founder of and ““chief inoventor” at Inovent Inc.

“Mom, let me look at the third eye at the back of your head”, one of my daughters used to dig into my hair whenever I berated her. See, I use to joke around with them that a third eye rests at the back of my head where it is possible for me to see everything they do behind my back. Of course, moms are just good at multitasking which is no secret at all. I even have this strange habit of lounging on the couch with my macbook, turning on the TV and working. Productivity hits me the highest when I am in this TV/laptop mode.

You can just imagine the excitement I felt as I watched the unveiling of the beta prototype of the Ilumina LCD iTV today, on Independence Day. This is something I want to own. More than the discovery of an innovative TV, I felt proud to be a Filipino as I talked to Brian Quebengco, the founder of and “chief inoventor” at Inovent Inc., creators of the Ilumina LCD Interactive Television (iTV).

ilumina TV

This interactive TV is exciting because it is invented (innovated) by Filipinos and is the world’s first fully integrated TV. Think of the possibility of the modern Filipino family whose loved one is an OFW who will be able to talk to her/his family right there in the living room. Talk about connecting families. That’s pretty much exciting, don’t you think? I won’t bore you with the technical details but if you care, I wrote about it in my Tech Gadgets blog over here.

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Feet tired. Back aching, I just want to sleep but first let me just share some photos. I arrived from Makati two hours ago joining forces with various groups that protested the plan of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s allies in Congress to rewrite the Constitution. The No To Con Ass rally wasn’t as big as the last interfaith rally I attended a year ago. What it lacked in numbers is compensated by the number of Facebook users that joined the STOP CON-ASS cause. Starting at 19,000 users before the program started, there is now 24,290 users and escalating every hour. That’s almost 6,000 users joining the “online rally” in a span of 3 hours.

This online cause is also a good platform to show “people’s indignation against Con Ass” even though its supporters are not present in the rallies.

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I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss. — Rita Mae Brown

My husband’s chartered flight kept circling around last friday for an hour. Visibility was zero at 4:00 PM. Lightning struck at that very moment amidst the dark gloomy weather surrounding the plane. His co-passengers freaked out and remembered the Air France crash. Fierce thunderstorms, lightning or a catastrophic combination are possible theories of the crash.

My husband is safe in my arms and I can’t help feeling grateful for his safety.

Yet I can’t help feeling sad for the Air France victims and their families.

Air France through a grief counselor told families of passengers on Flight 447 that the jetliner broke apart and they must abandon hope that anyone survived. Tearful relatives received counseling from a team of psychologists and doctors from Air France. It’s great that Air France provided grief counseling. Death due to a sudden or traumatic accident or disaster can raise a number of complex issues for the survivors. The grief process is often very different from an expected or anticipated death. An unexceptionally tragic event like the Air France crash can cause reactions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the part of the family members and many of these problems compound the grief response.

Miguela Jugueta, a seaman’s wife here in the Philippines is grieving and in denial which is a normal reaction to such a sudden death. ‘I won’t believe he’s dead until I have his body.’ Bong (Jugueta) is a good swimmer. He might have survived,”

She continues to add “I cannot do anything if this is the will of God, but I continue to hope he is still alive.”

I wonder if Air France provided Miguela and her family the resources for grief counseling as well.

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Elections are a good deal like marriages, there’s no accounting for anyone’s taste. Every time we see a bridegroom we wonder why she ever picked him, and it’s the same with Public Officials. Will Rogers

Politics again! I know, I know…I veered way too much from my usual programming mode in this blog. It’s just that the current political situation in our country merits my attention. Don’t you think that the future of our children lies in the politicians that rule our country? I am not much of an opinion maker when it comes to politics and the only way to be informed is to actually be there and feel the pulse of these politicians. I missed the ANC Forum held last May 11 at the Ateneo de Manila Campus and I made sure I didn’t miss the second leg today held at the UP School of Economics. Sen. Francis Escudero, Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen Manuel Roxas II, Gov. Ed Panlilio and Sec. Gilberto Teodoro each took the hot seat in the first forum where they responded to a barrage of questions on their stands, issues and competence as public servants.

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