When I first saw the accidental drowning photos from Sidney’s My Sari Sari Store, it looked surreal to me. For some reason, the photo of the dead boy didn’t shock me. Yes, I felt a twinge of sadness. Not that I’m a cold hearted person. That’s because I’ve seen the death of my own child. What is the worst photo or image one could possibly imagine? The image of my son’s limp body haunted my mind for at least 3 years after his death. Sometimes I prayed to God to give me amnesia to stop these images from playing over and over again.

Today I can look back at that exact moment when my son was given CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) without the raw pain wrenching my heart. How did it feel like?

When I saw Luijoe lying on the pavement, I just stood there watching.

oh God no. This is not happening!“. Looking back, I recall that the shock was so intense that instead of looking at my boy, I stared at figures huddled around me.

On one side, my husband squatted on the floor and yelled, “Call the ambulance

Beside my husband, my 2 girls were crying. Then to my left, my sister dialled for an ambulance from her cellphone. Watching the scene unfold was my way of coping this incomprehensible situation . Seeing so many Rescue 911 miracles, I thought that Luijoe will come out of his unconsciousness.

Then I transferred my gaze to Luijoe, I whispered “Come back ! Come back Luijoe.” The waitress who applied CPR continued on until the ambulance arrived.

Luijoe still had a heart beat as he was brought to the Emergency room. Maybe because the paramedics injected him with epinepherine. I kept telling them “don’t stop.” And the doctors and nurses obliged as I ordered them to but they gave me a funny look. It was as if they knew something.

The word “denial” popped up from somewhere. “Noooo….” I thought. “He will live…they shouldn’t stop the CPR“. The amount of shock I received must have been so much that I could not accept the verdict of “death”. It is the body’s defense mechanism to cope with the shock. One can only take in so much. After one hour, I was informed by my sibling doctors in Manila and the USA that Luijoe was dead.

With a heavy heart and without even a tear, I told the doctors ” I want to talk to my boy before you pull the plug.

As a mother, I had taught my son all there was to learn about life. Before he died, he seemed to have some sort of premonition . A month or so before Luijoe went to heaven, he was already asking me questions about angels, death, heaven and graves. Some questions like:

If I die mama, will I be alive again?

Mom what happens when I die? Is it painful?

Mom, who goes to heaven?

Are the clouds heaven?

I am glad that I answered the best I could (See here) and prepared him for what death might be like. As I had prepared him for life , it was my motherly duty to lead him back to his Creator.

As I closed his eyes with my palm, I cradled his head and whispered: “Luijoe, go to the light. Do you see the light?…God is there waiting for you.

And I let go.

Luijoe’s last photo, an hour before he died

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