Written by Amihan Euza Mabalay as originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles.

Women play an important role in our families and society. They are our mothers and sisters who nurture children and homes. When women who are in their most productive years get sick, the entire family is affected not only economically but also emotionally and psychologically.


Cervical cancer is one of the world’s deadliest cancers in women, claiming the lives of about 270,000 each year, 85% of which are from developing countries, according to the World Health Organization. It commonly affects women who are in their productive years — aged 30 and above. In the Philippines, 12 Filipinas die of this disease each day, as per government data.

It is disheartening that our women could have protection and assurance to longer and quality health if the cancer is detected in its early stage, since cervical cancer is highly preventable. Health authorities say that with early diagnosis and proper treatment, the success rate of those affected with cervical cancer is at ninety percent.

This month, health institutions and women around the world observe the Cervical Cancer Prevention Awareness Month. Let all of us be informed on how we can save ourselves, and the women in our lives from this deadly disease.


Basic facts

Cervical cancer affects the entrance to the uterus or the womb, often referred to as the neck of the uterus. Cancer cells grow in the cervix due to different risk factors, but the highest risk, accounting for 90%, is caused by the affected by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is sexually transmitted. At high risk are those who had/have multiple partners and those who had first sexual contact at early age. Since HPV is sexually transmitted, it is important to note that a woman can acquire HPV even if she only had one sexual partner.

But having cervical cancer does not mean that a woman acquired this through sexual practices, there are other risk factors such as smoking, giving birth at a young age, several pregnancies and a weak immune system. Studies also cite long term use of contraceptive pills, long-term mental stress and genetic factors.

Cervical cancer is asymptomatic in the initial stage, which means the woman may not feel any symptoms during its development which may take 10 to 15 years. Symptoms for the developed stages include persistent pain in the pelvic area, painful intercourse, abnormal vaginal discharge,

Defense against cervical cancer

WHO strongly advises women, 21 years and above, particularly those who have engaged in sexual intercourse at an early age to undergo annual pap smear and cervical cancer screenings once in 3 to 5 years. The screening is done through VIA (visual inspection using acetic acid). Acetic acid will be applied to the cervix and will be then observed for changes such as appearance of pre-cancer lesions.

As protection, the WHO recommends women to be vaccinated against HPV. There are different types of HPV vaccine which can be given to females as early as 9 years old.

The Department of Health has a program of vaccinating Grade 4 female pupils aged 9 to 13, the age bracket where the HPV vaccine is considered most effective because girls at this age are not yet sexually active. The DOH also provided free HPV screenings as part of its prevention awareness campaign.

Eating healthy can also greatly reduce the risk of the disease. According to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), consumption of fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants reduces the risk of cervical cancer.

Researchers found that women with HPV induced lesions (seen at the initial stage) who consumed more antioxidants reduced their chances of developing cancer. These particular beneficial antioxidants are ?-carotene, found in pumpkins and carrots, and ß- cryptoxanthin, which is found in pumpkin, sweet red peppers, and papaya.

Images: Girls and Women from Flickr.com. Some rights reserved.

Purple lips against cervical cancer

power pout1

In commemoration of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, GSK Philippines launched its partnership with cosmetics manufacturer VMV Hypoallergenics at a press event entitled Put On Your Power Pout!, held last May 28th at Makati Shangri-La Hotel. The partnership introduces a twist on spreading awareness: encouraging women to join the movement by wearing purple lipstick to show their support for the advocacy on cervical cancer prevention.

It is disheartening that our women could have protection and assurance to longer and quality health if the cancer is detected in its early stage, since cervical cancer is highly preventable. Health authorities say that with early diagnosis and proper treatment, the success rate of those affected with cervical cancer is at ninety percent.


“Cancer is quite a distant concept for women who are well. What might be more important to them is keeping up with the latest trends, especially in fashion and beauty. The lipstick is a woman’s own—when she wears it, she makes a statement about herself. Through this partnership with VMV, we hope to drive women to make a statement against cervical cancer,” says Mark Castillo, GSK product manager.

Jacklyn Remo, assistant marketing manager for VMV Hypoallergenics, supports the movement: “We are fully committed toward this partnership with GSK Philippines. At VMV Hypoallergenics, we promise the safest, most proven effective care on the planet—and that extends to beauty. This unique combination of science, wellness and beauty means we also strongly stand for advocacies that help women, their health and happiness.”

JOIN THE MOVEMENT NOW—take a photo of yourself wearing VMV Hypoallergenics’ Tutu or Chorus Line lipstick (or a photo of you holding your kiss mark from the lipstick) and post it on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtags #PowerPout and #PowerOverCervicalCancer!

My heart still aches to hold you
I close my eyes and see,
Your face now, 15 years later
And who you were to be.

luijoe my angel

In our arms for a little while, in our hearts forever.
It’s been 15 years. Love never dies.

Today is Luijoe’s death anniversary, the “Angel date” as the Compassionate friends call it.

My daughter messaged me, “Hope you’re not too sad today” and I said “Am okay. Tears are not buckets anymore. Just tear drops.”

” Tears are words the heart can’t express.” Sometimes, there are just no words to describe the overwhelming loss.

Though the pain and sorrow still flows 15 years later, I know one day we will be reunited. 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. He’s such a handsome boy.


I catch myself glancing at other boys, children of friends with similar age as Luijoe. There is Dine’s daughter and Jane’s son with similar ages. I can’t help but smile at how grown up they are because at the back of my mind…this is how Luijoe is today at 21 years old.


I wonder if my Luijoe would still be singing as he used to do as a six year old kid. He loved watching his two older sisters during choir practice. Pop music fascinated him . He would always ask me to download mp3 files of his favorite songs at Napster. Then he would sing and dance to the music. That always made me smile. I took note of his mp3 playlist at my old computer right after his death as follows:

You can check out my Spotify playlist

1. Mirror, Mirror- M2M
2. Never be the same again- Melanie C
3. Feeling so Good- Jennifer Lopez
4. Oops I did it again – Britney Spears
5. Bye Bye Bye- NSync
6. Northern Star- Melanie C
7. Dear Lie- TLC
8. How can I not love you- Joy Enriquez
9. Be with you- Enrique Iglesias
10. Never Let You Go- Third Eye Blind

These are the thoughts that I want to picture 15 years later. I can’t help but smile and tear with these thoughts . But one thing is certain after all these years. In my heart, Luijoe lives on, always there, never gone. I can hear him whispering in my thoughts:

And I will be beside you
Every day and week and year,
And when you’re sad I’m standing there
To wipe away that tear.


Did you know that 63% of Filipino moms read online advice from : Parenting websites (82%); Facebook (36%), Search engines (31%) and family and friends (84%)? More and more mothers are online because they have become tech-savvy, digitally engaged on their laptops and mobile. They made a purchase mainly because it was recommended on a parenting website followed by “they saw an online brand promotion” and lastly, they “saw someone follow the brand online”.

Now, I am going to recommend to you an online store, Lazada Philippines – the country’s one-stop shopping destination. I like shopping at Lazada because it saves me, time and money as I can shop at the comfort of my home. I like how they constantly update me on the status of my purchase and delivery.

Good news for mommies and daddies. Lazada prepared something for you out there starting May 26 until June 4 via www.lazada.com.ph/mom-loves .

mom loves lazada shopping
You can start browsing the items here.

Whether you are social media savvy, on-the-go, urban lifestylista, or even the stay-at-home type of mom, Mom Loves has something in-store for every mom. From exciting flash sales coming from top brands, to hot discounts and exciting games, Mom Loves is packed with all the coolest deals that every mom could get to nurture her family.

Lazada carefully took into consideration a couple of fun mom facts into designing this year’s mom-focused shopping event:

1. 60% of mothers visit social media sites such as Facebook, Youtube, and

2. Mothers in emerging markets such as the Philippines consider a variety of other product information beyond quality, price, and convenience, such as branding

3. 8 out of 10 moms would buy frequently but of lesser basket size due to the management of cash flow;

Top items bought by moms in Lazada would be the following:

a. Learning Toys

b. Home Appliances

c. Home and Living Items

e. Health and Beauty

There are many learning toys at the Mom Loves Shopping portal and I discovered Fisher-Price toys , one of my favorite toy brands for young children. Most of my children grew up with Fisher-Price toys because they are so sturdy, offer visual stimulation and help my baby develop problem solving. . One such toy was the Fisher Price Elephant Shape Sorter .

fisher price

An activity center was one toy I bought for my babies. This “Bright Starts Bloomin Birdies Activity Gym” contains so many fun activities for babies.


Other than toys, there are many sale items under lifestyle, Apparel, Health & Safety, Feeding and Partnerships.

Start checking out the sale items in Mom Loves and see if you need this in your household.

lazada shopping

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” – Eudora Welty

I love taking photos . I got that quirky habit from my daddy old boy who kept snapping away every single moment when my siblings and I are touring in some place . I also love good photography and capturing the moment in time. Around 40 years ago, my mom hired a studio photographer to take our family photo. I am glad she did because this is our one and only decent family photo of my parents and siblings. My dad , mom, and two siblings have passed away since this was taken in 1972 but I have this photo that holds this moment from running away. Aren’t we stiff?


family photo in the seventies

Five years ago, my husband and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary. I knew I just had to get Mimi and Karl to take our family photos. It was just natural that we chose the UP campus (where we met) for our silver anniversary photo shoot and the celebration of our then 37 years as a couple on March 7. Dragging my two girls to join us, the two hour photo shoot was sweet and poignant.  As Butch wrapped his arms around me, I loved how the soft breeze cooled the scorching sun hitting us between the branches of the tree.

mimi and karl

Now this is a better family photo, where we are all relaxed even if we were guided to do this pose. We held our daughters’ hands as we walk around the campus where their parents met 37 years ago.

family photo

Such a beautiful day, because in 2010 my daughters were still living with us. I get sentimental when I look back at these photos and reminisce that afternoon. We watched the sunset as the photo shoot ended with this pose.

Three years later, my second daughter asked me if I wanted a photo shoot with her.  Why not? She was leaving for Europe and I wanted to hold this moment in time.. She discovered this wonderful photographer in Tumblr that took great portraits. I soon found out they were two photographers (Aaron and Anabelle) of Sunday Morning Studios,  wedding and lifestyle photographers and lovers of natural light. We again headed off to the UP campus and took mother-daughter photos as well as solo photos.

sunday morning studios

Here is one of our mother-daughter photos. Isn’t she lovely?

mother and daughter

Unfortunately, Lauren could not join us that afternoon.  I told that we should have a photo together one day.  Two years later, we found the time to have this photos shoot on  Mother’s day , a sunday morning with Sunday Morning Studios.

sunday morning shoot1

This time, we wanted a photo suited for a LinkedIn profile , with a twist of  both lifestyle and corporate look. The scene we envisioned was a coffee shop so we chose CO/OP Goods & Eats in San Juan where we also had our Mother Day brunch. Another lovely photo of my daughter, don’t you think?

me and my daughter


I really like how Anabelle and Aaron took our portraits.  Anabelle guided us on how to pose by making us imagine an emotion or an idea.  The simplicity, elegance, beauty and life caught in each frame.  The moment captured forever.


A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety. ~Ansel Adams

UPDATED May 27- Winners (you can only win once. If your name is also a winner in other blogs, then I will choose another winner)

Gold Winners:

1. Jyrus Cimatu

Silver Winners:

1. John Paul S. Tanyag
2. Kim sigrid espiritu
3. Liz Aquino


My father, a self-made man, was orphaned during his teens. He survived because his parents left a few coconut lands which gave his five siblings some passive income. More important than acquiring wealth, I learned from my dad the importance of risk-taking, investment and managing personal finances at a young age. But what if you were not exposed to financial planning? How does one learn?

In fact, you might ask…Financial planning, entrepreneurship, trading, investment, and stocks… What do these all really mean ? Do we know what money management exactly means? Are we utilizing what we earn in the right way to invest and create value for a better future? What are the risks involved when it comes to trading and stocks? These are a lot to think about. It might even sound complicated and intimidating, but this is where my friend, Randell Tiongson’s ICON 2015 comes in. Hailing from the success of last year’s ICON 2014, Tiongson makes a comeback with a conference that’s bigger and better, and promises to have more in store.

ICON finance seminar

I have known Randell Tiongson in 2008, way before he became a blogger. I attended his first seminar on retirement planning with my husband and daughter in 2009. He is such a great mentor and inspiring lecturer. If you attend ICON 2015, you are blessed to listen to the best financial experts in the country . ICON 2015 will be held on May 30, 2015 from 8AM to 5PM at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City. With a whole-day event and a packed program flow, you will ;earn the basics, get motivated and ultimately be inspired by the best speakers in the Philippine financial industry. In just one day, you will gain the knowledge and tools you need to get started in making the right investments and financial choices.

Program flow ICON

This year ICON 2015 is bringing you no less than the best speakers and advocates in the field of investing. Here they are:

1. The event’s pioneer, columnist, and best-selling author of “Money Manifesto,” Randell Tiongson .

2. Francis Kong,  respected lecturer, inspirational speaker and author of Only the Real Matters.

3. Marvin Germo,the well-known stock market trader and best-selling author of Stock Smart

4.  Jess Uy,s  Global Investing Advocate, personal speaker and finance coach and

5. Economist and Ateneo De Manila University Professor Alvin Ang .

The new speakers for this installment are: the seasoned financial adviser, best-selling author of the “Pwede Na! The Complete Pinoy Guide” series and founder of Personal Finance Advisers Philippine Corporation (PFAPC) Efren Cruz and radio host, wealth coach and best-selling author of “Till Debt Do Us Part” Chinkee Tan. Also, a brief sponsor’s session will be given by Sun Life Financial’s Managing Director (Asia) Michael Manuel as he tackles “Why It Is A Good Time to Invest Now.”

Here are the registration fees : (It is an investment)

Gold – PhP 2,800 (You get 1 FREE coffee and snack from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf but only for the first 150 attendees. You also get to be closest to the stage)

Silver – PhP 1,200

Student – PhP 500

You will learn a lot that it will surely pay the way to your financial freedom.

If you want to join us to this avenue of learning and investing, visit Randell Tiongson’s ICON Facebook page and log on to bit.ly/ICON2015REG to book your seats as soon as possible! Also stay tuned to their posts on Twitter (@icon_ph) and Instagram (icon_ph) for more information.

Be part of this and learn how to invest for a greater future!

Giving you all a chance to join me

Thanks to my good friend, Randell…I have 5 tickets to give away: 2 Gold and 3 Silver tickets. Here is how to join:

1. Comment below why you want to attend ICON 2015. Make sure you can really attend the May 30 conference.

2. Deadline of comments is until 11:59 PM , May 26, 2015

3. Ticket is non-transferrable once your name is chosen.

I will choose the best comment for the Gold tickets and the next best three comments gets silver tickets.

“I think we are the oldest here”, my husband muttered as we assembled for the Color Manila Nite Run: Black Light Edition.

Color Manila Nite Run- Black Light Edition

I laughed. “Don’t worry, we are here for the fun!” There is no age limit when it comes to fun and definitely none when it comes to fitness. Reality is I don’t like to run but I prefer to walk briskly. In fact, I have never joined any running events.

fun run

And well, why shouldn’t I try new things, get out of my comfort zone? When I attend the launch of this fun run a few weeks ago, I was told this is not your usual fun run and not a competition. I like that. No pressure to reach the finish line but just to enjoy the moment. Who knows, this might actually be the event to encourage me to even take the sport more seriously one day.

Color Manila Nite Run- Black Light Edition2

The Color Manila Nite Run: Black Light Edition is a “color festival, a fun run like no other, and a party rolled into one. It’s like that party but you wake up early for it, and never regret. The fun does not start at the finish line where you hear the bands. The party starts when you hear Gun Start. ”

powder at the color nite run

As my husband and I started running/walking to our goal, we literally encountered the most colorful confetti ever. I got bombed with pink colored powder that smelled of candy. The entire time that we started running, from the gun start, the organizers started to explode powder on us. We passed by three color stations along our 3 K route. Each station has a specific color assigned. They made sure we all the happiest colors of the rainbow (yellow, blue, green, purple, orange) formulated to glow under UV light.  Each of us had a blacklight headlight that reflected this powder. I felt like my body was “tie-dyed”

powder at the manila color run

Even the streets exploded with colored rain. The only sad people were those caught in traffic as we passed through intersections.

Color Manila Nite Run- Black Light Edition3

There was so much happy-spirit fever everywhere as colors transferred from one person to another. The best part is finishing the fun run as we each got our finishers’ medal. Mission accomplished. Fun and run! You know what, I am seriously considering joining more fun runs before I take this sport seriously.

Color Manila Nite Run- Black Light Edition finishers medal

The young ones continued to party as we sat by the grassy corner, wiping off our tinkerbell dust before heading off to our car. And by party, this meant being with “a bunch of happy, supersonic, neon-colored balls of energy dancing while singing” .

“Let’s look for another fun run”, says my husband .

Uh-oh,here we go.

Hello mommies. Let me share some mom activities from my friend, Mommy Mundo Founder Janice Villanueva.

This mother’s month of May, Mommy Mundo encourages moms to go on a journey of mindfulness and self-discovery through EXPO MOM 2015: #MOMMANIFESTO happening on May 22-25 at the Glorietta 2, Palm Drive, Makati City.

Working Mom Ad(resize)1

I remember I was there with fellow mom bloggers in the 2009 Expo Mom and we even had our own “Mommy Bloggers” booth.

expo mom 2009

Now on its 8th year, Expo Mom is the biggest gathering of progressive, active moms showcasing the latest in family-oriented product innovations and parenting trends in a fun, fulfilling environment.

Mommy Mundo Founder Janice Villanueva observes, “Moms are so caught up in the little things or the busy-ness of life, we either end up losing sight of the big picture, or we fail to appreciate the joy that simple moments can bring.” She adds, “What will help us live meaningfully is to live mindfully. Through self-awareness, we realize what’s important in our lives, and we are able to direct our energies to create the kind of life we aspire for, for ourselves and our families. Thus, through Expo Mom, our biggest annual event, we engage moms through our Mom Manifesto campaign, a virtual journey to mindfulness and missioning.”

Expo Mom Booth Map

Expo Mom 2015, featuring over 50 booths alongside talks, demos and fun activities onstage, will be a celebration and culmination of this 5-week Mom Manifesto campaign. The Mom Manifesto journey begins on April 22 when it launches online at www.expomom.com/mommanifesto. Designed by Mommy Mundo founder Janice Villanueva and family life expert and certified psychologist Michele Alignay M.A., the workshop consists of a 6-step program to be fulfilled within a five week period, with each step just taking 15 minutes minimum from each mom participant. With self-awareness as a goal by the end of the program, moms will be able to come up with a guiding statement or her #MomManifesto. All participants are oms are invited to post their #MomManifesto statements on the wall that will be set up at Expo Mom 2015.

In addition to this key event highlight, moms can also look forward to Expo Mom 2015’s trademark fair of its top mom-approved and mom-tested products and services . The event is particularly proud of giving a home to aspiring and established mompreneurs who have developed products for their fellow moms through the years, exhibiting there goods alongside top mom and baby brands in the country. Expo Mom 2015: #MomManifesto is co-presented by Cordlife Philippines, supported by Huggies, Cycles Mid Detergent, Fern-C, Nurture Nook, Pioneer Insurance, JoomaJam, Wang Videography, ImagineNation Photography, and media partners Working Mom Magazine, Rappler, WheninManila.com, Crossover 105.1, [email protected], and venue partner Glorietta and Ayala Center.
In lieu of entrance fees, donations in cash and kind (books, school supplies, clothes, shoes) will be accepted at the expo. All proceeds will go to MomShare’s partner beneficiary, Childhope Asia Philippines, to benefit literacy and health programs for street children under its care.

For more information on Expo Mom, go to www.expomom.com or follow Mommy Mundo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. To know more about Expo Mom’s Mom Manifesto campaign, visit www.expomom.com/mommanifesto.

I never realized the value my children placed on their toys until my daughter interviewed me for her research paper a few years ago on “Toys and Games I played with” for her Psychology course.

lego toys

She said “Thank God mom for the girly and not so girly toys”.

In this day of digital toys and gadgets, I believe parents should never forget that the best toys for children are ‘open-ended’. Such toys encourage children to play using imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills such as blocks, balls, cardboard boxes, dress-ups and crafty bits and pieces

what will children ask for christmas

My three children loved LEGO blocks. They had lots and lots of LEGO blocks. They had the larger DUPLO blocks when they were toddlers. At that time. LEGO was sold in disassembled bricks, so they were free to create any figures their young minds could imagine. Even until the age of nine they spent all afternoon ignoring their Barbie dolls and instead built fortresses, houses, schools and whatnot. No wonder, I gave the Barbie Dolls away to my younger nieces. It was gathering dust.

During those days, LEGO blocks were sold at Gift Gate and were very expensive. I bought the LEGO blocks in Hongkong or the USA. Kids are blessed these days because the first official LEGO certified store just opened in the Philippines, today May 12, 2015.

When I periscoped the initial photos at the launch, many people were clamoring for the address. Well, it is located at the same building as Kidzania at the Park Triangle ( Along 11th avenue , 32nd street , Bonifacio Global City, Taguig ). Here is the map:

Everybody seems to be excited with this grand opening.

Did you know that seven LEGO sets are sold over the counter every second around the world? If today’s launch is any indication, I believe that is true.

lego sales

There was a long queue waiting outside after the media launch.

to the lego store

Both young kids and young-at-heart LEGO fans ( Adult Fans of Lego or AFOLs ) will love the variety and the exclusive collectors sets and product lines unique to the LEGO certified Store only. What are these unique lines?

Pick a Brick lego

First of all, there is the Pick A Brick (PAB) where you can buy the LEGO elements you need individually. This great for your very own unique LEGO creations. Pick A Brick is sold for a minimum purchase of 100 grams at 679.79 pesos per 100 grams.

Build a mini figure lego

Second unique line is the Build a Mini (BAM) which allows you to build your very own customized mini figure by choosing a headwear, head, torso, legs and tools/accessories. Each BAM set includes three customizable mini figures which cost 499.75 pesos.

monthly mini build lego store 1

Third, you can now enjoy the Monthly Mini Build (MMB) program, a hands-on monthly event where kids ages 6-14 are invited to build seasonal and exclusive LEGO Store mini builds. The best part is no purchase is needed. Children below 6 years old will also be allowed to join , as long as an adult or guardian will be present during the activity.

monthly mini build lego

I noticed LEGO now offers sets like the newly released Simpsons. Of course the old ones like Ninja Go and Star Wars, Minecraft are there. What caught my eye is LEGO friends which is more feminine than the usual LEGO sets.

elves treetop Lego

 Shelves are stocked with sets geared toward girls and boys based on ages and dexterity.

lots of lego

What I like the most about this new store is their mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. LEGO and LAJ Marketing Philippines in partnership with World Vision will collaborate together for the “Rebuild Classrooms Project. The project aims to help children in target Area Development Programs to have access to learning facilities through the renovation and construction of classrooms and other school facilities.

spider man glider lego

Today, LEGO started selling 5,000 pieces of the 30302 Spider-Man Glider V29 for only 50.00 pesos in support of rebuilding classrooms in Malabon. I got five pieces which is the maximum purchase per person.

lego brickstoclassrooms

In addition to the Spiderman set sale, LEGO will also donate 100 pesos on your behalf for every 20pcs My Own Creation (MOC) entry you send in via Instagram which represents “EDUCATION”in order to help raise a total of 500,000 pesos for this project. In my instagram account, I assembled a book to symbolize education.

Visit the LEGO certified store at the Park Triangle ( 11th avenue corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig )

I love the thought that my son is still alive in someone’s memory outside of my family. Today , being Mother’s day, I received a lot of greetings but this one touched me the most:

Sorry we haven’t been in touch. You’re always in my thoughts. It’s an honor to meet such a youthful looking mom like you. You’re getting younger each year. Thank You for leading by example to all Pinay moms. Your story of ‘recovery’ is a powerful force on what can mothers do for their kids. Your son couldn’t be prouder. …! Happy Mother’s Da !

luijoe and me. If someone greeted me a Mother’s day greeting 15 years ago, I would have cried . Mother’s day is a terrible day for those of us who have lost a child recently. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that I’m not alone at all like this mother who wrote about the the real challenge after losing a child: moving forward. As G.K. Chesterton wrote, “We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”

Oh, I remember those days in early grief when it took every ounce of strength to just get through a minute of a day. Time indeed helped tame my emotions over Luijoe’s death so much but sometimes when the question about children and numbers come up, I feel stumped. All parents who have lost a child sometimes don’t know how to answer that question.

The question How Many Children Do you Have pops up in any social gatherings.

You see, I can answer that one now. You all know I have 3 children. I don’t have to explain that to most of you, Yes, it depends on the person asking and when and where it is asked. If it is asked by a stranger at a restaurant where I sit with my two girls, it is usually assumed that I have two children. I let that slide because it is more or less something like, “Are these your two children?” and of course, I reply, they are.

If someone I’ve just met at church or a social gathering asks me how many children I have I will tell him or her that I have two on earth and one in heaven. Sometimes, the person does not know how to react and backs out with any follow-up question. This most certainly hurts. I can’t also blame them because death can be an uncomfortable topic to most people who can’t handle a tragic story. That’s why when I am not in the mood to explain, I just say “Two children”. There are some that ask about my boy in Heaven and I appreciate the opportunity to speak Luijoe’s name and talk about his life.

It is comforting to hear friends say “Luijoe”. It always makes me smile.


Each bereaved parent has their trigger point or point of pain. The number three when it comes to children sometimes hits me. Thoughts hover inside my head. I am a mother of three. A different grouping- two here and one in Heaven. But am I not still a mother with three kids?


My Mother, Salustiana Veloso-Lardizabal
Blessed are the moms whose mothers are still with them.  At least they can still say “I love you” or make amends with each other. My mom died at the age of 45 years old after a three year battle with breast cancer. I was only a teen-ager and I never got to tell her “I love you” or even showed her how much I cared before she died.  I wish I did.  I felt alienated towards my mom because she was so strict and angry, 90% of the time.  Sometimes , she would yell with little provocation.  It often puzzled me that I once asked my grandmother (her mother) about her bad temper.  My grandmother only said that maybe she is strict because she is the eldest in the family.


I never understood my mother until I was 39 years old , the night before my breast surgery.  My three children were less than 10 years old in 1996 and I was scared about dying and leaving them so soon. Then I recalled the pain my mother went through during her three year cancer battle and the tears just streamed down my cheeks.  I released my hurt feelings and  whispered as if she was right there in front of me . I told her I understood now. I forgave her for the things she said or did not say and vice versa . The peace in my heart was overwhelming. I felt God’s presence in the room and prayed that I be given more time to be with my children and see them grow up.

The following day, my surgery revealed benign results.

If at one point, you never understood your mom, just know that she loved you in the only way she knew. If she knew better, then maybe she would have turned her life around. It isn’t good to carry a heavy burden of ill feelings throughout your life especially if you are a mom because it may affect your parenting style.  (That’s another story for another day)

Here is something that was shared to me and it speaks for all the mothers . Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can.


This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, “It’s okay honey, Mommy’s here.”

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can’t be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.

And all the mothers who DON’T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars. And that when their kids asked, “Did you see me,Mom?” they could say, “Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies.

And for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just couldn’t find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read “Goodnight, Moon” twice a night for a year. And then read it again. “Just one more time.”

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home — or even away at college – or have their own families.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they’d be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can’t find the words to reach them.

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation… And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us…

Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can.

Tell them every day that we love them.

And pray and never stop being a mom.

Please pass along to all the Moms in your life.

“Home is what catches you when you fall – and we all fall.”