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The grief over my grandmother’s demise has not settled yet, so I could hardly muster inspiration from within to begin to write again. The smile you see every day is never a put-on though, and it’s quite of a monumental reason for me to thank God because, without His grace and compassion, trying to move on would feel like crossing the Pacific Ocean on foot. I haven’t arrived yet. However, believing that Mama Epas is in good hands with Papa Jesus in heaven assures her optimistic grandson down here of a happy arrival at total acceptance sooner or later.

Endless thanks to you—the many people, related by blood or friendship or otherwise—for your healing condolences, loving thoughts, and touching prayers. I will forever remember your sympathies sent via Facebook and SMS, as well as those said in person, on the phone, and through mutual friends and family members.

To those who took time to attend the wake and said a prayer or two for the salvation of Mama Epas’s soul, thank you.

There were many of you who handed their financial donations, and there were those who sent in theirs electronically. I wish I could name every one of you, so that you’ll know how grateful we will forever be for helping our family with the daily expenses that stretched to virtually two weeks. We’re very lucky to belong in a humble hamlet called Gawahon. And if there’s one thing I’m proudest of, it would be the extent with how united we are as a community, and how quick our neighbors are to lend a hand whenever a family is in distress. So thanks to those who volunteered to do our household chores, who stayed up during the thirteen days and nights of vigil until the wee hours of the morning.

To my ever supportive colleagues and our dear leaders at the biggest bank in the world, thanks for only God-knows-what. I know I would still have been loved and cared for anywhere else, but I’d like you to know that wherever God will take me in the near future, I’ll never forget how far this organization has brought me up.

The day Mama Epas was laid to rest in peace saw many of our folks, friends, and fellow Malabuyocanons joining us in our bereavement. From her son in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the wife in Batangas and their daughter in Quezon City; her daughter and granddaughters in Quezon City; her nieces in Mandaue City and Cebu City; her grand- and great- and beyond great-grandchildren in Lawaan, Talisay City; our relatives in Dumanjug town; our ever thoughtful relatives in V. Rama, Cebu City; to all the rest—your time was appreciated! Thank you for loving Mama Epas that much.

Oh, how could I thank our parish priest, Fr. Bohol, for the visit, the prayer, and most especially, the anointment, for Mama Epas a few weeks before she bade farewell? That was such a significant moment! Of course, a million thanks to the sisters of the Divine Mercy Shrine for their weekly visit and prayers. You are the sweetest.

The thought that I am cared for despite my imperfections, flaws, warts, and all kicks in my journey towards total acceptance. And the truth that God loves Mama Epas and has welcomed her soul into His home with open arms is the greatest love of all.

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