Discovering tranquility at Luijoe meadow

“When we are unable to find tranquillity within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.” Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Discovering a tranquil peace at Luijoe meadow leaves me energized and comforted. Luijoe’s grandparents named this “Luijoe meadow”, a playground to frolic at their mountain residence in Benguet. They had named this lovely meadow after their only grandson, Luijoe even before my son passed away in May 27, 2000.

Luijoe meadow somewhere in Benguet

It was Holy Week in 2000 when we all vacationed in this picturesque pine valley hideaway. My energetic young man wasn’t in the mood to have his photo taken by Luijoe meadow then but I insisted. He was in a hurry to run around and just be. That Holy Week was well spent talking about the death of Jesus on the Cross, the comfort of Mary by John the Apostle and more. I didn’t know my son was preparing me for his death a few weeks later.

Painting on the wall of Church of Holy Sacrifice, UP Campus

My son’s death reminds me that life on Earth is fleeting that there is far more meaningful tasks that need to be accomplished before the promise of eternal life. There are poignant memories that comfort me today. Luijoe often gave me a hug and reminded me before bedtime. “Mom you haven’t prayed”. I catch myself during chaotic situations, praying to God for serenity. I remember my son’s gentle reminder and lift my problems in prayer.

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Who are the towel and basin people in your life?

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, ““Do you realize what I have done for you?” (John 13:12)

At the St. Francis Chapel inside Padre Pio Center in Libis

The Holy Week is always special to me as I recall my last Lenten holiday with my son 11 years ago. Every year since I lost my beloved son, I often reflect about the meaning of my life and the death of my son. It gives me comfort to pray. My son often reminded me to pray when he was alive so when things are really down, a prayer is enough to calm my nerves.

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Where I am today

DadoFamily214I often wonder how he would look like today. The young man as he often called himself even at 6 years old, is supposed to be an incoming college freshman, the last of my children to be in school.

Would he have been taller than my husband? Would he have the same gleaming smile? Will he still throw me kisses and give me a bunch of flowers with an ““I love you” note? Would he still be cracking jokes? I can’t imagine because I will always remember him as an innocent and beautiful 6 year old boy whose death caused my world to spin around and around. I still miss him dearly but the pain is not heart wrenching anymore. I don’t feel like I am drowning in pain. I yearn for him especially during birth and death anniversaries or when I see a boy similar to his age.

Like this very moment, I think of Luijoe. Tomorrow is his 10th angel year.


““I don’t know how you’ve survived. It would kill me to lose my child.” Oh, to have one peso for every time I heard that sentence! I’d spend every one of those pesos for an answer, for you see, I don’t know how I’ve survived. What choice did I have? Each transistion has been work, hard work, sorting through what it means and learning to function in the face of these circumstances not of my choosing. Five years living as a zombie and the next five years in my new normal.

My new normal as a blogger served me well: my role as a bereaved mother is no longer the first way I define who I am, but it is ever-present in my life and cannot be separated from all that I am . . . for the rest of my life.

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How my son inspired me to start a grief support advocacy

““My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?”

I can easily relate to one of the last words of a dying Christ.

Who has not, at some dark hour, cried out to the heavens in anguish and pain and wondered if indeed we have been cursed and abandoned by God ?

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Image taken from Luijoe’s prayer book

The image of a dying Jesus Christ , a sorrowful Mother Mary and a comforting John never fails to bring me tears as poignant memories of my son drift into my mind. I wrote this story when I first started this blog 4 years ago and I think it is worth sharing again.

Being a “cafeteria Catholic” my religious faith was at best mediocre. Luijoe, my innocent and religious 6 year old son often chastised me for not praying hard enough . I felt like a terrible mother who led a ho-hum religious existence. Gosh, we learn so much from our children , don’t we? It is Good Friday , one of my treasured memories that remind me of my son. The image of the dying Jesus when he blurted out ” “Woman, behold thy son, Behold thy mother” struck a chord in my son’s heart.
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Love one another, as I have loved you

If there is one commandment in the Gospel that challenges me is “Love one another, as I have loved you.” We can come to Holy Thursday prepared by our reflection on how difficult it is to love some people, either because we recoil at their “smelly-ness” or because we find them unattractive or unable to love us in return.

I cannot remember how many times it was difficult to love my husband at his worst moments but I did anyway for better or for worse. Perhaps because he loved me in return.

How does one love someone who gets pleasure in maligning the good name of a person?

I am sad how malicious and vicious black propaganda is needed to propel oneself to the presidency in this coming elections. How can I love such supporters?
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