Tuesday, December 4, 2012

where earth and heaven meet

Written two days after Grandma passed away. Needed time to process my thoughts...

December 6, 2005

Today is grandma and grandpa’s 52nd wedding anniversary. Beautiful.

So I take a trip down memory lane seeing grandma all bundled up at Thanksgiving dinner with her red sweater. Thinking that she’s finally gaining weight, I hoped her new leg would help her walk batter. I remember her hugging me. Pulling me close to her. It would have been one of her last physical hugs for me. We laughed all night at the dinner table about how grandpa and her dated. We had a sharing about what we’re thankful for and she said, “Don’t pray too long, God will get sleepy.” That’s her blunt humor. She thanked grandpa for growing in the Philippines but rooted in America or else we all wouldn’t be here. Then after we left, she got sick and went to the emergency room.

I didn’t visit her until Sunday afternoon. I was there for twenty minutes. We received communion together that day. We shared the body of Christ because she said it was too large for her to swallow one whole host that time. She asked me if I had gone to mass, where, and what time. She asked me this three times. Her confusion worried me, but this wasn’t the first time this happened. I thought she was either overreacting, being over dramatic or heavily medicated. I remember being sad but being so used to it that I figured she’d be out soon enough. She asked to kiss me. “Come here so I can kiss you.” My last…

I heard that on Monday she was just looking at people not really responding.

I visited her on Tuesday where her eyes were closed and she was trapped in her body. I’d talk to her and she’d turn her head to me, but she wouldn’t open her eyes let alone her mouth.

Wednesday was worse. No one knew why she was the way she was. No stroke. Negative CAT scan and MRI. No one knew what was wrong.

Thursday just another visit. A possible bacteria infection. She was no longer able to turn her head. She squeaked as if whining because she didn’t want to be there. She tried to open her eyes. She was just too weak. She could no longer breathe well on her own, so it was agreed to put her on a ventilator. Later we find out that she didn’t want to be on it. The family decided to take her off of it on Sunday, so everyone came on Saturday to hang out with her and say good bye. We were all there, and it felt good. I feel so safe with my family. I feel complete. A piece of heaven was with me.

On Sunday, at mass, I felt so blessed to be a part of the Catholic Church. I felt as though I belonged. A part of the mystical body of Christ. I love it! Being the second week of Christmas/Advent, the gospel and theme was “prepare the way”. I believed that grandma lived out these words. Her whole life was lived for Christ. She prepared herself for her entering heaven all her life. I truly believe that.

We go to mass then went to Good Sam. No improvements.

We scheduled to remove her from the machines at 3PM.

We got upstairs and prayed. The next thing I know, the nurse told my dad that her heartbeat was weakening so to call everyone upstairs. She’d give us 15 minutes and then take grandma off the machines.

Because of the guilt that comes with taking grandma off the machine, everyone prayed for God’s will to be done, and we wouldn't have to.

And it was.

At 240P, grandma’s heartbeat started weakening. Her breathing slowed down. I held her hand as we prayed the Divine Mercy and sang How Great Thou Art. It was the weirdest feeling. I was desperate for more of her at the last second. I wasn’t ready to let go. When grandma stopped breathing, my heart broke. I lost a part of it. She had entered Heaven. It was the weirdest feeling. So light, fuzzy, light headed. It was weird. My stomach felt weird. My heart felt weirder. It’s like I saw it, yet it felt liked I dreamt it. But I was so excited for her. She made it into heaven: a place where she could run and be at peace.

Everything felt weird after that. I won’t see her every weekend. She won’t call me on my birthday. It just feels weird that I’ll never see her on earth anymore.

But she gets to be with her parents, Itay, Raphael, Michael, and Bernadette. She gets to be with Uncle Roland. Now she can be with Jesus and Mother Mary. She can be with all her favorite saints, Mother Theresa, and Blessed John Paul II.

She’s so blessed.

Her prayers are so much stronger now. I told her to put in a good word for me with God.

So that’s it. And now it’s just weird. My last Christmas and birthday gift from grandma is a ticket to the Philippines. Lord, let it be Your will that I stay there for Christmas. Please, Lord!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

waiting room

Nothing gives me more anxiety than waiting in the "Waiting Room" at a doctor's office. Even if nothing is wrong and you know exactly why you're there and what is going to happen, the time when you're just sitting in there waiting for your name to be called is so nerve wrecking. What is it? I've spent enough hours in the waiting room this year than I would like, but each and every time I was called to the room and left the doctor's office, everything was always okay. That's just the same with my prayer time. Sometimes I just sit there and look up at the cross or a statue of Mother Mary and wonder what I'm supposed to do next. What am I waiting for? But then I'm called in my prayer time and when it's over, I leave feeling less anxious and more peaceful. Yet each and every time - it's a bit nerve wrecking. What is it about the silence of waiting, the unknown, that keeps me up at night? Some people just seem so calm, watching TV, reading their magazine, playing on their phone. Me? My mind races a mile a minute anticipating what's going to happen. And all this has taught me that I need to learn to stop and just read a trashy magazine once in a while. Dwell on the life of a celebrity's next marriage or adoption rather than plan out my funeral. I know I'm talking two extremes here, but you know what I mean. I need to think less of my worries that I know won't come and focus on the now. Right now, as I pray, I know the Lord is holding my heart. Mother Mary is holding me in her arms. I'm good, I'm golden. Yet my mind is still planning out the demise and shatter of my heart. What kind of faith is that? What kind of faith do I carry if I already pretend I know what will happen with my heart...the same heart that I know is being held and protected by my Father. He would never destroy it. He would never let it harm me. I'm not in the waiting room in anticipation of heart surgery, sheesh! I'm just waiting for a normal check up to know that I'm still ok and on the right path to a healthy life. The Lord is my Physician, and He knows best how to care for me. I mean I still take preventative care into my hands, but He's cool with it. Keeps me in the waiting room less than I need to.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Remain seated with your seat belts fastened

I pack my bags with the necessary items I will need for a trip: clothes, shoes, toiletries, my mac book pro, and the occasional DVD to keep me entertained on the plane. As I planned out what to bring with me for my trip, I couldn’t help but reflect on what I DIDN’T want to bring. When you travel to a new city, outside of your everyday rituals, you want to be new. Funny thing is, when I go back to Chicago, I become the old. I’m the girl who’s super comfortable in her own skin. I become the woman who speaks her mind without worry of people misunderstanding her intentions. It takes a lot of heartache and fighting for people to understand you and know what the core of you is. I packed the happy-go-lucky attitude and placed it carefully on top of the hurt and confusion I guess I’m bringing along. I don’t bring this for my own entertainment, but so I can show it to my best friends and see if they can make sense of how I need to alter it so it CAN fit in my life. I don’t want to leave it behind because it’s just going to still be there when I come back to my apartment. I want it out, so I can go back and bring it renewed. Tucked away and rolled up at the bottom of my suitcase is wonder. My discernment of what the next step is, is secured within as to not be damaged by all the crazy handling of the luggage as I push and pull it around. Now I’m thousands of feet high above the sky, having left the security of the solid ground beneath me. Instead I’m soaring through the sky, susceptible to the danger and free fall that is risked along with this trip. Soar, Maricris. It’s the risk you take, baggage and all. I don’t understand what happened before I left but why does it feel unsettling? I don’t expect an essay of text messages once I turn my phone on upon landing. Rather, I expect more hurt and disappointment for the failure to acknowledge that I had packed and left. I’m usually not this honest in my blogs, but let’s be real talk. These are thoughts anyone would think but not a lot of people would admit to out loud – or in this case, in writing. The clouds can be in different forms: dark and thick or light and fluffy. Regardless, I’m above it and can only hope it will clear so I can get back on solid ground with a ray of sunshine hitting my face. Let it remind me that there is always hope after the dark. As I roll my luggage, unpack my troubles and self-confidence, I’ll find myself in a world where everybody knows my name.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


A word so simple, yet rings so song. I attended a company wide meeting this week and this word was thrown around in the context of motivation. "You have so much potential." "There's so much potential in this company to be a gold standard." Yes. Potential. I get it. Say it enough, and you're going to make me feel as though I'm not doing anything at all. In YFC (yeah, that's how I knew it ok?), we would always invite our "potential leaders" to trainings. Once they came to the training - there was no more "potential" in the title by the time they left. Granted, they didn't really "do anything" yet, but we believed that the call was already there and they were sent to mission. I think by Mr. Prez saying "there's so much potential" in our company, among the players of the team - these past 6 months have shown them nothing. Is that true? We haven't reached our potential, I get it. He means well. But at the same time, how about a "You guys have been doing excellent work, and I know that you guys will always produce something better than the last." Cuz otherwise it just feels like I haven't done jack. Is this true? Am I at a corporation that only sees potential and not the 12+ hour days over half the company puts in on a DAILY basis? Pardon the rant, but I'm just saying. I believe our team has worked really hard. Were mistakes made and is there room for improvement? Of course. Is that what he meant by saying "you have so much potential?" Maybe. But define what we're aiming for. Potential for perfection? Cuz that is going to be a long term goal and I understand that we must always work to be better than the day before. But potential to be good - don't. So I guess I just need a definition of where you want us, and what this "potential" is supposed to grow into. Then I think we'll be good.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

constant change

The only constant in the world is change. I believe that sentence fully, otherwise you will just end up getting disappointed in life if you don't grow. I sound like a broken record when I say that life changes sO much from high school to college - from college to the "real world" - and from 25-30. That said, who the heck knows what's going to happen to me from 30-35, but I do know I'm excited for it! Today is leap year, my "one" year anniversary in LA. From the moment I even began to pray about moving here (Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2007) til now, I can say life has been quite the roller coaster. I found this old Xanga entry from after I moved here. |||Sunday, March 30, 2008||| "...sigh. So much on my mind I don't even know where to begin. Sleepless nights again, and it's annoying. I miss putting my head down on my pillow and knocking out SOLID in .3 seconds. Now I toss and turn. Why? Who knows. I'm so happy to be here, but sometimes I feel so guilty for feeling so freeeeee. Question of the century, "What made you move here?" Answer: "No clue" :) 2nd question: "How long are you here for?" Answer: "No clue" Before I left, I said, "A few years." When I got here I said, "Maybe five". A few weeks later I'm thinking, "Not too long." I got here February 29, 2008. So is one year February 28 or March 1? Or is it February 29 2012? Today I say, "Screw timelines, I'm milkin' it day by day!" Hahaha...what a way to live. Loving the thought of this everlasting vacation." So innocent, so naive to what God had in store for me. Here I am thinking, "I have enough friends, I'm not looking for more." It was going to be the ultimate solo getaway that I am best known for. My anti-social side was ready to just hang out at the beach every weekend. Everyone said, "You're going to be like Jho and come home married in a few years." Not gonna lie, part of me wondered if that was in store; if that was a reason I had a tug in my heart to move westbound. Four years later, I'm still single but not regretting a single second of it. I learned how to embrace it and it made me fall in love with "LOVE" even more. It makes me excited to see what more He has in store for me, but in the meantime - haven't been to the beach in months, I'm FAR from anti-social, and I have found myself a second home, a second family in my friends I have been blessed with. This ultimate solo-getaway only brought me to a place filled with more love and just as busy a social calendar! It's no coincidence that I completely divulged details of my life once kept secret at Intimacy Weekend - it means I have invested in this area, and I have planted roots for it to grow. Does that mean I'm here in LA forever...? Not necessarily. But it does mean I'm here for now, I'm at peace with where I am in life, and I'm meant to grow a bit more in the sunny West coast. Let's re-evaluate next leap year, but for now I'm going to live YOUNG (Life@30 is amazing), WILD (by the Holy Spirit, duh), and FREE (because I am free in Him). 2012 - take me away!

Monday, January 2, 2012

how to name a year

New Years Day is all about giving yourself that chance to "start over" and "make life better". Though I think every day should be treated with as much passion and motivation, I get why January 1 is always a good place to start. Every year, I give to the Lord. Every year, I want to make myself better than the last. In all honesty, I set a theme but then forget about it until the year is over and it's time to think about another theme. However, these past few years have actually been successful. Zen2011 was definitely a success and one I will remember. A drama free year, one that proved to be a success in my career, a boost in my finances, and the Lord blessing me with opportunities to spend many times back in Chicago. Albeit, it put a deep hole in my pocket, I look at it as God opening doors and I just took it. However, this year is going to be a little different. I'm definitely blessed that He has provided me with the means to live comfortably, but I made all my major purchases in 2011 just so I can start to really save and make a difference in my debt in 2012. I can't wait for the day it's all gone, but for now, why add to it. Debt free in 2012 doesn't just mean financially but mentally and physically as well. A sound mind, body, and spirit sound so cliche, but it truly is the foundation for my year to come. I am claiming that this is the year He will truly prepare me for a greater future - and one I pray won't be "all by myself." I need to get ready and think about what He wants for me, but I know 2011 has been about me. But He said it was okay...it's just that it's time to now think about my future and me...and anyone else that may involve. I mean don't get me wrong, I have a few big events planned for next year, but with discipline and the right kind of planning, I have faith in His providence and it all happening without regret. Sound life. Disciplined life. Happy life. I don't know what to name the year, but it'll come to me! A note to myself on examples of how I want to live this year... Mind - read more! Keep up on the news, industry trades, and even celeb gossip for fun. Just be in the know and understand the world around me. It helps me be a better prayer warrior too, right? :) Personally, I'd like to read a book a month, so let's see how that goes. Body - take care of it. Dropping weight is they typical resolution, but in all honesty it's not even about that. I see myself as God sees me and I know I have a beauty that only He created....however, I need to take care of it. Being pro-life means to live a healthy lifestyle and taking care of the temple He has built in me. Discipline, Maricris. Discipline. Spirit - deeper love for God. Adoration weekly was such a good habit I had, and I've fallen out of it. Daily mass became a struggle this year, but I overcame it - so I know I can do this too. It takes one hour of my week but fulfills my heart greatly. Remember the peace you find in front of Him, Maricris. How can you NOT go??! With this comes some deep fasting. Meat for conference (maybe I can last the year). Alcohol for Intimacy Weekend and Walk for Life. I'm giving myself a "break fast" day once a month...but if I don't have to take it, I'll try my best to avoid it. Plan accordingly. At the end of all this, I am really teaching myself how to discipline my whole being. I want to give to God what truly belongs to Him, and present it in it's "perfect" condition. That means reconciliation more frequently, mass daily, and increase in my daily meditations and reflections with Him. Be satisified with what's in front of me and make it the best. That's why I love that song from The Muppets Soundtrack, "Life's a Happy Song" because the one lyric says, "I've got everything that I need, right in front of me," and it's so true. Life is a happy song for me right now and I want to live that as the soundtrack for my 2012. I'm preparing for something great ahead. I am confident in my discernment in 2011 and ready to move forward this year. God be with ye...God be wit all of us. Cheers to a fulfilling 2012!