It has been 9 years….

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I brought a child into the world and thought my life was complete.
I bowed my head and thanked the Lord for giving this child to me.
My dreams were of the future and of how my child would be,
Of how he would run and play games like hide-and-seek and always run back to me.
How could I live my life without my child – How could I possibly survive?
When the dreams I once had for my child were no longer alive?


Nine years have passed since Luijoe died. Another year marked off the calendar as we confront life without our precious child.

Anniversary dates stare out from the calendar. For most of us, the days of birth and death are the most prominent but so hard to acknowledge. The birthday that brought so much jubilation may now be but a fond and sometimes painfully wistful day of a “what might have been” memory. Then the lousiest day of the year, the day that is etched on some stone in the south of Manila, the day some of our sweetness left us forever. A reasonable amount of preparation in anticipation of this gloomy day and the empty sadness it brings doesn’t really help. We are aware about these death anniversary dates which I’d rather call the Angel date.

You see, our family members are more irritable, tempers fly and tears easily roll down. Then we remember that Luijoe’s death anniversary is nearing. Ah yes, even if we were prepared for it. It is like standing at the shores of despair looking out at the waves below the sunset that is so beautiful while signaling the end of the day. These waves of profound sadness can be relentless and the big one is coming on that date. This knowledge never seems capable of preventing the wave from smashing us into our lonely reality.

This too shall all pass. We know it. Today, it has been 9 years. I know that death ended my child’s life but not his relationship to our family. He will always be our son. The difference is I gave up the old person who was physically connected to a now deceased Luijoe and made a spiritual connection with my child who died.

“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 transition has been work, hard work, sorting through what it means and learning to function in the face of these circumstances not of my choosing. My work 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.

The “new me” is continuing to evolve.

Eventually, I came to realize that I must find new ways to dream.
And honor the things my child enjoyed on earth, his memories to redeem.
And while I will never get over the horrible pain of losing my child, so dear.
I will survive by blending his life and love into my life, and that will keep him near.

(By Faye McCord)

How Our Day Went

Lunch at Serye Restaurant with my brother David and his family and my other nephews.

Luijoe’s cousins were born after his death. They had a lot of questions. “Why did he die so young?…he is like my age!”. Dying at a young age is never the natural order of things. Lighting the candle and incense somehow gave them some comfort.

I guess the younger cousins experience their own grief.

We prayed a short prayer of gratitude.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • Hi Ate Noemi, may I suggest a good book written by an equally brilliant pastor? The book’s title is Safe in the Arms of God and the author’s name is Dr. John MacArthur. It is a really, really good read and I know it will serve its purpose for anniversary dates such as this one. It is a book especially written for grieving parents. I really pray that you will get a copy. Best regards and you are always in my prayers.

    Hazel Chuas last blog post..Examining myself

  • Thank you Hazel. I have that book too. We have a large collection of bereavment materials accumulated in the past 9 years.

  • I miss LuiJoe, our angel!

  • It’s comforting to see the whole family together to honor and celebrate Luijoe. {{hugs}}

  • ivy

    I can only imagine the pain you and your family went through. It is with God’s grace that you were able to hang on everyday. I admire your strength and character Ma’am Noemi.

  • Paula

    time is really fast. 9 years of longing, but i know he’s happy with God. God bless Ms. Noemi

  • You know, it was your son who “introduced” us, because i landed on the memorial site you made for him a few years ago. and everytime I read your blogs about him, I always feel like crying, because I too have a son, and I cannot imagine what you have gone through. I don’t wanna think about it! But it is people like you and your family that gives hope to those who are in the same situation. And for that, thank you. 🙂

    Playing in the background: David Archuleta’s version of “Angels”. Let me dedicate it to you. 🙂

    lisaflors last blog post..May 27 World MS Day

  • I understand how difficult it must be, in a couple of days it will also be my mom’s first year of not being with us and I am really trying to avoid thinking about it. I know how the pangs of sorrow and longing kicks in from time to time and all we can do is pray and take comfort that they are in a much better place.

    kreezs last blog post..The Second Trimester Begins…

  • kg

    hi there miss noemi! i was just passing through from gigi’s blog and came upon your site. i was deeply touched by your post. i read almost everything in your other site dedicated to your son. as a mother, talagang nanikip ang dibdib ko. i can only imagine what you went through. true, i can’t imagine that happening to me. baka di ko kayanin. i almost cried reading your posts because i can feel a pinch of the pain you went through [and are still going through]. i just wish it won’t happen to me.

    yes, people can be judgmental, especially with the way your son died. people might conclude that you were “pabaya.” but as a parent, i can attest that no matter how we try to shield our children from harm ,time will come when they will walk on their own. seconds may pass by that our sight will deviate from them. and that doesn’t mean you were a bad parent. accidents do happen.

    my prayers go out to you. hanggang ngayon masikip pa rin dibdib ko. i don’t know you, but i want you to know that i will be praying for you. i can only assume that you still hold a certain guilt with the death of your son, and i hope if it is there, it will be completely gone soon.

    sorry for the long comment. anyway, i’ve got to go and hug my daughter now… 🙂

  • I suddenly feel sad looking at Luijoe’s tombstone and those dates. A short life which could have bore lots of promise…. he should be in college this year? Still, everything has a reason and purpose. Thoughts and prayers for Luijoe are nurtured in the hearts of all who reads this and am sure the heavens would smile.

    ajays last blog post..Call for submissions: Carnival of Cities June 3 edition

  • I know someone who never wrote an epitaph to his brother’s tomb stone. I wonder what kind of grief this person is going through. I believe that acceptance and submitting everything to God will let us survive our lot on earth knowing that we will for sure be reunited with our precious angels who’ve gone ahead to prepare a place for us in heaven.

    Amors last blog post..Twitter in Plain English (Subtitled)

  • howie

    Hello Noemi,
    I was going through some blogs and came upon your site and started reading and I too lost a daughter suddenly. Your blog was wonderfully written from a painful heart. It touched me and I am feeling all the pain and suffering you are enduring no matter how long ago it was. I lost Melissa almost four years ago and not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I thank God for the 22 years that she was with us. The day she died was the worst day of my life. The pain is unbearable at times, it feels like there is a knife stuck in my heart forever. My heart is like a puzzle with my husband and my three kids but now the puzzle is forever missing a piece. Sorry for your loss. Luijoe is up in heaven watching over your family. Someday we will meet them again. God Bless.