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I’m relocating!

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All of my posts are here on my new website, http://www.journalyn.com.

I’m hoping you all could visit me there.

Thank you for following and supporting me for the past years.

This is one big step I’m taking to bring my writing to a new level.

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See you, there. 🙂

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Forgiving Marcos as Catholics

     Why can’t we just forgive if we were Catholics?

     A question was raised if the Philippines, which prides itself for being the only Catholic country in Asia (which technically speaking isn’t true anymore since South Korea and China are now following suit), cannot just move on, respect and forgive Ferdinand E. Marcos (FEM), the president who declared Martial Law spurring several human rights abuses and corruption of Imeldific proportions.

     What we feel collectively is a summation of individual experiences. Consider a typical story among 324o killed, 34,000 torutured and 70,000 imprisoned.  For decades now, a family still tries to figure out the location of their father’s body. This member of their family, during Marcos regime had been abducted because of perceived rebellion and was never to be found ever since. Up to this day, although they cannot be clueless on what happened to their loved one – what with all the horrible tales of tortures worse than death to people with similar fates- they are still looking for answers and justice to their presumably dead. Until this day as well, no one from the Marcoses who had full control of the military back then by virtue of Proclamation 1081 has been held accountable. Not one from their family even had the decency to say a genuine sorry.

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Never again! Never forget! Photo from http://www.change.org.

 

     EDSA revolution happened and somehow it helped ease the pain because the perpetrators were ousted from the highest seat in the land. The entire country and the rest of the world mourned with this family for their loss by the way of People Power. Every Feb 21 and All Soul’s Day then, they pray for their dead and cry that silent cry for this kind of abuse not to be forgotten and not to be repeated ever again.

 

     Then came the new presidency. Few saw it coming that the change this fresh administration promised will come in ways that has been unthinkable before. True enough, it did something that’s unprecedented and as one witty celebrity puts it, comparable to the unpredictability of the majority of Game of Thrones episodes. An electoral debt had to be paid and Duterte proved to be quick at that.  The Marcoses, reportedly,contributed a hefty percentage of Duterte’s campaign fund (from the mouth of the babe). Therefore, even though for so long, it has been fairly  common sense not to entertain the thought of FEM being laid to rest in the ground reserved for the heroes of this country, legalities albeit without morality found its way to do otherwise. We had supreme court justices voting 9-5 in favor of  the Marcoses –  and should I say, in favor of the new president.

     After 9 days, like a thief in broad daylight, the late dictator’s remains were buried in full military honors but without the knowledge of the unsuspecting public and the protesters who are still waiting for the result of the motion for reconsideration which could have been filed up to 15 days after the supreme court decision.

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Unannounced, FEM’s remains were buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, 9 days after a supreme court ruling. Photo from http://www.philstar.com

Expect the news and the streets to be all about this most shocking turnaround of events in our recent history. Arguments are louder  in social media where almost everyone can give a piece of their mind regardless of sense and sensibility or the lack thereof. Anti and pro-Marcoses are all at rage, hurling stones at one another, each having their own hits which are far less than their tons of misses. Intelligent exchange of differing opinions is still so far from the Filipino consciousness. If it were for any consolation the rest of the world stands the same. Each netizen is either hiding behind anonymity or false identity or deriving courage from being virtual safe from a most probable punch as compared to if the argument was conducted face-to-face. Social media reveals true identities- without censorship and without consequences.

 

     Let me dedicate this blog post on answering a religion-specific attack. For the record, in any intelligent discussion, whatever irrelevant personal preference should remain untouched. This preference will ubiquitously emanate from  the arguments of person indirectly and need not to be a target of any offensive attack.

     So back to the questioning of how Catholics cannot move on and forgive. The victims have long forgiven but now the wounds are being made new. Had FEM continued to be laid in Batac, Ilocos Norte mausoleum  underneath its wax replica, Martial Law horror would have not come back to haunt us with this intensity. Filipinos are unparalleled when it comes to moving on, believe me. Bongbong Marcos’ almost-win to the vice-presidency is a testament to this.

     Martial Law victims who settled for injustices are being told to move on. They are forced to forgive without the culprits apologizing. They are doing exactly those things, being the better persons in the dire circumstances they are in. Then suddenly they will be slapped with the supreme court ruling that the dictator who started this all will now be revered as a hero. Don’t tell them FEM deserves this as a former president. He was ousted because of grave actions unbecoming of a president. He has long forfeited this title. For most of Filipinos who have nothing to be proud of but the marks their clean names made in history, label is everything. Don’t force us to regard him as what he is not. Marcos is no hero.

     For once let us not abuse the meek and the victims who chose to just settle this on their own accounts alone. They had no body to bury, no answers to their questions, definitely with no closure.

     Don’t tell them to just forgive because they are religious. Mercy and justice should meet as they did on the cross. As St. Thomas puts it, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution. Justice without mercy is cruelty.” We must forgive. We must forget the pain, the hurt, and anger for our enemies’ and  our own’s sake. You can tell that that’s the hard part of forgiving.

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Mercy and justice go hand in hand. Image from http://www.americaneedsfatima.org.

      But you know what Christians also have to do? They have to show love by correcting the sins of their neighbors. They should call out wrong doings and never tolerate it by regarding their deeds as heroic. They should also not turn the blind eye just because they thought they benefited from sin. What shrieks me the most from all of these circus is when people scream that Marcos had done so much for the economy. Whatever good that is, clearly it is not long term. Need I remind you we are still all paying for the debt his 21 years of presidency incurred. And if it were true, so what? Never mind that he killed and tortured thousands just because he once made the Philippines “great”?! He was 21 years in service. He made use of our money for those long grueling years. At the very least, It is only expected that he was able to erect some hospitals, bridges and museums of worth!

     You know what else Catholics should do aside from moving on and forgiving? They should have an opinion. It is more so (not even though) because they are Catholics and religious, that they should take a stand. They should feel this burning desire to contribute and participate on nation building. The language of silence is always the easiest to speak but it is the most dangerous as well. Yes, Jesus was someone you can call rebellious during His time and it is for good reason. Catholics should not expect to fight the good fight unscathed! To people who say that CBCP is saying a lot, well let me tell you, the general silence we’re hearing now, it is deafening.

     Catholics  should speak out not only when they are the ones being abused but also when their neighbors  are. We should not tolerate injustices whether made to us or to other people. They should use their heads and use it really well because the devil is cunning.

     It will make no use to exhume his remains. We can move forward. By moving forward, it means bringing justice to all the victims. It means retrieving all the wealth of our country that was ill-gotten by the Marcoses when they were in power up to the very last cent and the last piece of precious stones from their vast shoe collection. It’s time to make every one accountable and answerable by conducting a real investigation this time. Spare no one from the rule of law be them from Marcoses, Aquino or any political clan. Let us settle history once and for all. We deserve to know the past as our nation, who, being lost for so long may only have to know its real identity so it can move forward correctly. Lastly, let’s teach the new generations the truth. Let them not be confused by unfounded conspiracy theories that makes Wattpad really jealous.

 

How to Replace Lost SSS UMID

My cellphone together with my Unified Multipurpose Identification Card was snatched from me a few months ago. More about that here. I had a “free day” this week which I decided to use productively by re-applying for that lost/stolen card.

Here are the steps for re-applying for a lost UMID card. I hope this helps those of you with the same predicament.

sss-umidI fist secured an affidavit of loss from Bulacan Provincial Capitol in Malolos, Bulacan then proceeded to SSS Branch in Longos, Calumpit , Bulacan inside The Cabanas. I had a very fast and smooth transaction in that branch. Staff were courteous and knowledgeable with their job – even the security guards were so useful/helpful.

  1. Click this link for a downloadable copy of UMID Application Form. From the “Instructions” on the second page, the list of identification documents (primary and secondary) required are listed. Any one primary document will do. For the secondary, you have to submit any two. Print the application form and fill out.
  2. Furnish an Affidavit of Loss from any Notary Public (Php 100). No need to prepare anything to secure this affidavit. Just be clear on stating what specific document or card you have lost and check on every details of the affidavit before signing as “Affiant”. Usually you just have to provide your name, civil status, and complete address. You should be given two (2) notarized, signed and dry-sealed copies upon payment.
  3. Head to any SSS Branch with a Teller or Cashier section. I first tried SSS Branch in Waltermart Guiguinto but I was told that they don’t transact anything which includes payment in that branch. Malolos Branch is open as early as 7am during weekdays so that’s where I went.
  4. Head to the information desk and state the purpose of transaction. Show the filled out form so you can already be given a que number to booth #7 where you can obtain R6 Form Form (Social Security System Miscellaneous Payment Form).
  5. Go to the Teller Section and line up there as you fill out four copies of R6 Form. Pay three hundred pesos, Php300.00. That’s all you have to pay for this entire replacement of ID transaction. Two copies of R6 form will be returned by the teller.
  6. Go back to booth #7 (without queue number this time, just wait for the seat to be vacated). She’ll get one copy of R6 Form then you will just be given another queue number here for lining up at the Data Capture section.
  7. In the Data Capture section, someone will input the details on your application form. Check all data inputs on the screen in front of you. They’ll also get your thumb and index fingerprint biometrics on both right and left hands. You would have to provide your signature specimen (don’t hesitate to ask for a retry if your signature came out like it isn’t yours the first time); and finally a camera headshot of you without eyeglasses, earrings or other unnecessary accessories and with your hair pulled/put back. If you can, wear a top with sleeves and collar.photogrid_1478165845992
  8. Expect the Acknowledgement Stub to be given to you. Keep this while waiting for nine (9) months for your new UMID – to be delivered at the address you specified in the application form. Yes, nine months! As in long 9 nine months equivalent to one full-term human gestation. If you were on Day 1 of pregnancy when you applied, baby’s already coming out you still don’t have your UMID card. This is based on my own experience. I followed up through email twice. They reply but I’m not sure if you have the patience for their response. They’ll tell you that after 4 months, they’ll be sending the card to the courier already, expect it in one month more. You’ll follow up again and they’ll quickly reply telling you to wait for one or 2 months more – they’re still sending the card through the mail. I wish my case was the worst. I hope you really get yours in 4 months as they promise or even less.

How to Save a Flushed Cellphone

           Sometimes life hands us a series of unfortunate events to which we respond to stupidly. I just burnt a pair of pants. Some 12 hours later, I flushed my Samsung J5 2016 in the toilet bowl. Flushed. My Cellphone. Into the Toilet. Wow!

             It just dawned on me that when I am happy I seem to act overly ecstatic. As a young kid, after my parents came home from Manila to buy us new clothes and Lego toys, I bumped my head into wall as I happily and haphazardly lie in bed. Now, from the relief of how my report at work is going, I mindlessly went in to the restroom and did something stupid that could’ve caused me my third cellphone in the span of a year.

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            My Cherry Mobile Flare S4 got snatched from my Jansport bag after one Sunday Mass when I was so happy because of a conversation between me and a priest. I went to Malolos market feeling light, positive, happy and all that. Maybe my faith in the goodness of people was just all too out there that evil took notice and wanted to take  that happiness away. That was my first time to be snatched off of something. My SSS UMID ID was in the pocket of that cellphone’s cover.

            So I moved on and replaced that stolen cellphone with LG G4. This time, I used it without any protection whatsoever and broke its upper right corner screen. I was pissed off with a coworker at that time, then come break time I headed to a bank to withdraw money. I was about to enter the bank’s door but my cellphone slipped from my hands.

            I knew the replacement will cause me thousands but since it was still working so fine, I did not bother to have it repaired. Some months after, it had trouble recharging until it heats up alarmingly. Logo will appear longer than usual when being started until time came that the only thing it does is to restart and restart. I was told by the service center that the motherboard has to be replaced already since reprograming it won’t be of help. Replacing the motherboard also meant me paying cash which is also tantamount to a new LG G4. Warranty was void because of the broken screen and I couldn’t do anything.

            Nobody, even LG and Smart would want to listen to my concern and reasoning. I later found out that LG really has this very bad reputation when it comes to replacement of parts and aftersales. That’s unfortunate as its camera is really good if not the best there is for mobile phones. When I purchased G4, it was the only handset which could shoot at raw.

          journalyn So I moved on to Samsung J5 2016 after giving it much thought. I bought it for 12,000Php just maybe 3 weeks after it was launched in the Philippines. The moment I bought it, I already received a screen protector and a cover as gift from a friend. I promised myself I would take much care of it and was doing just fine until what happened last Thursday.

            Imagine me seeing on my Facebook memories that I had just bought my LG G4 a year ago and here I am again, settling on Myphone J1 Mini, a bestseller of this low-end cellphone brand while waiting for my Samsung to dry up completely.

            I decided to write this post to drop you guys some tips on what to do when you accidentally had your phone soaked in water and injected it with pressure at the same time (ex. you flushed it in a toilet bowl, forgot to remove it from your laundry and tossed it inside a washing machine, jumped to a swimming pool while cellphone’s inside your pants, flood).

            It was a blessing in disguise that the accident happened inside a restroom. There were plenty of tissue paper and there was a hand dryer.

  1. Do not lose your presence of mind as you have to be on top of the situation. You got to act faster than the water can short circuit the device. Remember that you have only one goal: dry up the device completely to avoid the electronic parts from short-circuiting.
  2. Immediately turn off your cellphone. In my case, I wanted to long press the power off button but my phone doesn’t seem to want to do that as it had to prompt this message that one sim card is already not recognized. Then, it vibrated. Somehow vibrations on cellphones already traumatized me as this was what was happening to LG G4 before it completely malfunctioned.
  3. I dried the exterior with toilet paper before opening it just to make sure I don’t add up to the water inside. Remove the sim cards, micro sd cards and battery (if you can).
  4. Bury the phone in uncooked rice. For me it helped because it absorbs moisture plus it served as insulation from too much heat as I had the phone sleep overnight inside the office’s generator room. This was the first 24 hours
  5. I did not turn it on until 3 days have passed. On the second day, it was sitting on room temperature, still buried in grains of uncooked rice. On the third day, I removed it from the rice letting natural air dry it up some more.
  6. I turned it on and thank God that it’s still working. Sim card settings for MMS and mobile browsing had to be set up again. This usually doesn’t occur if I just removed then reinserted the Sim card so that got me wondering for a bit but I think things are still working fine. So far so good but of course I’ll still be on the lookout for things that could go wrong because of unseen corrosion of electronic parts.
  7. I did not get to do this on the first 3 days, but I got some sound advice to wipe the phone with isopropyl alcohol to lessen chances of corrosion when the phone dries up. I did that after just because.

          Samsung earned my trust. For android, it’s still the way to go when resiliency is what you’re after. For the next 7 days, I won’t go to the restroom with my phone. I’ll be glad if this phone works and won’t get snatched for at least a year more. After that, I’ll accept its fate which lies in my hands, no matter what it is.

 

A Lot Like Christmas

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Every year when the Halloween frenzy is over,the market and media seem to also agree that we can again turn our focus on Christmas. Traditionally in the Philippines, there’ll be anticipation about the season as soon as -ber months starts to kick in on October 1st. Technically, though,  Christmas starts at the eve of December 24 and will continue until the Sunday of the Baptism of the Lord (between January 2-9, depending on the year and the diocese). For me, there are already tell-tale signs that the most thrilling rush is yet here again.

  1. For one, traffic goes from worst to worse than worst. Case in point, as I am typing this blog on mobile phone, I am now stuck on this seemingly long journey from the foot of North Ave. MRT station to the actual train. That’s after queuing to be loaded inside the 8th UV Express in Tabang terminal which also consumed half an hour sans the actual NLEX trip. Travel time is now prolonged but not necessarily painful, at least for me. I have to credit the flexible working hours I now have with my new company. No pressure.
  2. It’s in the air, in the cold of morning, the sun’s rays at the breaking of dawn. Somehow, I am no astronomical or geophysical instrument but the heart really knows those little solar irradiance differences brought by the winter solstice – even thought I live in the tropic.

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    Santa Hat Dark Mocha has got to be the best Starbucks offered during Christmas. Hurray! Those 9 beverages won’t taste like punishment. ^_^

  3. Starbucks Holiday Cheers is here. November 2 usually marks the start of next year’s planner-sticker madness. We gotta gulp on on Christmas beverages again which usually just taste like paper so we don’t miss on the chance of getting that planner which we vowed not to get but we’ll still want anyway. My only consolation is that I really get to use the planner throughout the year. I use it for work because somehow it’s more acceptable to be seen with Starbucks planner in the corporate world than that of Belle de Jour.
  4. Office mates start reviewing basic employment laws regarding 13th month pay and in our minds we already have it spent down to the last cent. Just a reminder for you and for me to put a portion of it for paying debt, for savings and/or investment.
  5. Vacation plans. Talks on how to spend the Christmas vacation are silently lurking right on every corner. Rumor has it that in my new company, I’ll have 2 weeks of paid vacation without slashing it off my VLs or SLs.  How’s that, baby! That would be a good time to reunite with old friends and former office mates. I don’t plan om splurging but I owe some people little tokens of appreciation for helping me transition to where I am right now.
  6. Gratitude and hope and all the positive vibes. I’m conducting a partial summing up of the year that has been. Many blessings came pouring in -some were brought with the help of my most fervent prayers and still more were given through God’s amazing grace alone. It’s not even over yet. The best days are yet to come and that sends chill to my bones. My family is up to a major purchase this year so *fingers cross*.
  7. Songs. In malls the airwaves are slowly being controlled by Christmas carols. I’m arranging my playlist, too. My cellphone’s been flushed and salvaged recently and it’s a little sweet early Christmas surprise that I still have it working. What are your favorite Christmas songs? The First Noel remains my favorite because of its melody.It doesn’t matter if it’sung by kids, grown ups, by a chorale, soloist or plain instrumental. I love it. I want to discover more songs, though, that’s reminiscent of my most favorite time and yet is still playable the rest year. Any suggestion?

Let’s have the best Christmas yet, shall we?

 

The Blind Sees

So, I just burnt a black pair of pants I use at work and in church. It’s one of the 5 pants I had tailor-made this year that actually fits and whose zipper works but then, life happens. You know what I was doing when the incident happened? I was googling tips on how to safely operate a steam iron. Seriously. I bought a new one for our house in Bulacan last weekend, similar model to the one I have in our condo though I had always used it as a dry iron. It’s saddening and it scared me a bit because even after I turned the iron off, the burning continued, with smoke quickly filling up half the room. Good thing I did some a lot of shopping yester night. Before I lost, I already gained. Could it be that subconsciously I was thinking I have no need of those pair of pants already? Enough of this. I’ll let it go from here on.

Anyway, have you heard of Amazing Grace by Hillsong? I cannot share a video but there’s the Youtube link with more than 2M views already. Hillsong is a Christian worship singing group and have very good, heart-felt and well-meaning songs (the last three adjectives are all understatement as my vocabulary finds no words for the songs). I first liked “I Believe” when I discovered it last Holy Week. It’s my first favorite from the group. I’ll research more of their songs in the next few days but for now, I just want to play Amazing Grace on repeat all day long. The chorus is my favorite which goes like this:

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Sometimes, when I like a melody, I don’t want to know the exact lyrics of the song. I invent words which seems more personal according to my interpretation of the music.It’s just that this time, I can love both lyrics and melody.

Last Sunday, we were commissioned again as Lectors and Commentators. It’s an annual thing. It was a Sunday like any other special Sunday, that is, before the 11AM Mass started. But when we started walking down the aisle it felt, different. As usual, I cried silently because of joy. There’s something about like more than 50 of us, dressed in the same garb, and me just staring at the altar while walking straightly an approximate of 200m stretch. The opening song also mentioned about Christ being the “joy in our song” and it just moved me because it’s indeed true. He is the joy in my song!

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The newly commissioned Lectors and Commentators (Leccom) of Immaculate Concepcion Parish. It’s the second year of us being commissioned after St. Pope John Paul II’s Feast on October 22. He is our patron saint.

I must say it’s a blessing to have this Leccom family. Aside from being given a privilege I so not deserve, I get to know a lot of people, a way of God bringing me back to the society much like what He did to a leper (that’s another story). Honestly, I’m really bad at names and facial recognition. Years of being an introvert killed those brain cells responsible for good social skills. But the few that I know, are all a mix of interesting, kind-hearted sinners who continuously opens up their hearts to the Lord.

Pretty much all of them are my mentors, trust-worthy substitute and volunteers of aid to my weakness. Pretty much all of us are a mess as well. When people ask how my weekend went, and when I tell them that I sometimes attend one Sunday mass three times, and they tell me that I might get way past heaven, I just accept that as a  pleasantly-said snide remark because we both don’t know any better way to react.

You should have seen how disorganized we were come lunch time after the commissioning and you can say that that’s how pretty much messed up our lives are too. But then, nobody promised that life following Jesus is ever going to be easy. As the song above goes: We’re all lost but found, we were blind but now we see.

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For two years now, our ministry arranges the exhibit for the feast of St. John Paul II. This fishbowl of quotes is a part of the exhibit and the displayed one, of a dear priest’s homily.

In my case, fatigue is still my number one enemy when it comes to this ministry. There are mornings when I really have to battle it out with the devil just so I can wake up out of bed. There are time when I’ll sleep at 2AM and have to wake up at 4AM, then travel more than 2 hours to reach the cathedral. I work in the corporate world and sometimes I feel like this ministry is meant for retirees. But as Ate Conching said, “The Holy Spirit wakes me.” It is God’s amazing grace manifesting every waking hour of each day.

Father Mameng, our rector and the priest who commissioned us, said, ” Hindi ka lektor dahil maganda ang boses mo o dahil gandang-ganda ka sa sarili mo.(You’re not a lector because you have great voice or because you think you’re beautiful). I know each one of us, especially those who have served for decades now find deeper and more meaningful reasons already. For me, not walking away from God’s grace is one. Serving also paved the way to teach me how to be thankful, to let go of burnt things no matter how much I thought I needed them because now I know that I really don’t, to recognize God working in all of our lives every day starting every morning and even in our sleep. All the pieces, broken and scattered, in mercy gathered, mended and whole. I’ve been set free and I’m not going back. Never again. Never again to that worst prison which is a closed heart.

 

 

 

Lola Payat

          Lola Payat (thin grandma) is how my siblings and I call her because of her slim physique. Natha and I coined that term because we have another Lola who was fat. My two younger brothers, one 7 years and the other 13 years younger than I, acquired that term from us.

            When Natha and I were toddlers, we often went to Lola Payat’s house. Lola Payat, by the way, survived my Lolo Pacio (Bonifacio) by more than a decade. I remember Lola Payat serving me the best of their Christmas Noche Buena food, reserved especially for her apo who doesn’t live with her on the same house and compound much like the rest of her grandchildren. One of my earliest memories of my very first travel was with her, when she bathed me, combed my wavy dark tresses and dressed me up prettily 80’s style, to go to Sta. Maria where her siblings used to live.

           Her death came at a point in my life that I consider the most challenging. I was preparing for the board exam and was literally buried in piles of books and equations. Our family was so financially broke at that time, details of that point was so painful, I refuse to remember. I was studying at a friend’s house when I received a text message informing me of her passing away. I couldn’t help but blrt my feelings out through the loudest of sobs.

           You can tell that she’s one of my deepest regrets in my relatively easy life. Sayang. Kasi hindi umabot. A few weeks after her death, had she waited a bit more, she could’ve seen her firs grandchild who finished college also successfully passed the board exam to be a registered engineer.

           Lola Payat was 70+ when she died but I knew the cause of he death wasn’t just old age. Like many Filipinos who aren’t financially well off, she died from lack of good (if any) medical attention.

          My phone alarmed me that October 3 is her death anniversary. I thought, if she were alive today, what could have been the things we were sharing? I could’ve given her gifts, bought her food and clothes, taken her to a movie and dinner every once in a while. Sadly, I didn’t get those chances. All I can do now is to include her and Lolo in Mass intentions whenever I can.

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            I had a great and happy childhood. I grew up knowing I was loved and that’s largely because of Lola Payat. Most of my moments with her are also blurry in my mind, too. My father has her eyes, that I can remember. Even up to this day, her children love and respect her. Respect. I think that’s a rare thing to see with children towards their parents nowadays so it was really remarkable of her.

         Pray for us when you get to heaven, Lola. Let the scent of incense replace the tobacco’s smell you used to smoke. In heaven, you’ll find amusement  more satisfying than that of solitaire. You’ll wear there the finest skirts we didn’t get to shop here and even if you eat a lot, you’ll maintain that slim figure I unfortunately didn’t inherit.

Remember, Lord, those who have died

and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith,

especially our Lola Payat

May she, and all who sleep in Christ,

find in your presence

Light, happiness and peace

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.