“[tag]Fallen Cradle[/tag]” is a book of 22 stories by parents who have a lost a child. It was formally launched today at Powerbooks Greenbelt Makati. What can I say? The Book launch was a huge success. The initial 150 books set for the launch ran out. Anvil Publishing rushed to get more stock from the warehouse. My story on Luijoe, My Angel is on page 29. A lot of people say he’s such a handsome boy. I know. We chose that picture because he exudes so much charm.
The first few sentences of my story goes this way:
““If I die, Mama, will I be alive again?” Luijoe asked. My six-year-old was lying on the bed, flipping through the prayer books piled on his tummy.
It was Holy Week, a month before that fateful day of May 27, 2000, the day he drowned in a beach resort in Cebu.
I turned my body to face his and stroked his cheek. How could I explain the mysteries of death to a little boy? ““When we die, Lui, we will live forever, through eternal life in heaven,” I said the lines I’d memorized from the teachings of our Catholic Church.
Of course you have to buy the book to read the rest of the story.
This book paved the way to the positive resolution of my [tag]grief[/tag] journey. During the second blueprint in November 2005, Agnes Prieto invited me to be part of the book. I have never written my loss much less how Luijoe died. Writing Luijoe’s story turned out to be very difficult, often bringing tears as I recalled the painful events. These events were buried deep in my heart and I had to reach out to my innermost feelings. My sister, Myrna L. de Vera helped me a lot with the writing style (Thanks dear sister) and the editing work. Writing Luijoe’s story culimnated into the renewal phase of my grief journey. I submitted the final edit of my story on November 27, 2005. On the same day and inspired by my transformation, I wrote The Compassionate Friends International Council if I could start a Philippines Chapter. That was how The Compassionate Friends Philippines started. Reaching out to other bereaved parents is a living tribute to my son . Luijoe is never entirely gone.
I’ve only attended two book launch events in my lifetime so I can’t really compare if today’s event was a tremendous success. I just said it was a hit because they ran out of copies. Agnes Prieto prepared a touching rose and cradle ceremony with a powerpoint presentation of each child represented in the book. A short anecdote taken from each story and our child’s photo flashed on the screen. The parents picked a single white rose from the table and placed it on the vase by the baby’s cradle. The toys surrounding the cradle belongs to Luijoe. Yes, all these years I’ve kept them in a sealed box. Butch , my dear hubby was a substitute for the absentee parent contributors.