Update: The Memorial Service

So…I received a beautiful compliment and request for an update on my Ahboo Post.

I am going to fulfill that request.

I flew to San Jose, CA.  My aunt and uncle picked me up at the airport.  At first I was confused and upset why my parents didn’t get me…but that was just my own judgements rearing their ugly heads.

My mom and I have a lot of history…and if there is something I am not able to let go of in the moment, there is something she is not able to let go of…we are so similar and yet so different in all the wrong sorta ways.  Anyhoo…I let it go.  It really was not that important.  I love her, even if she frustrates me (I am sure she feels similarly about me).

Back to the story, (not sure how much I will get “side-tracked” on this one…so bare with me) my aunt and uncle pick me up…my aunt looked so beautiful.  She went through cancer treatment and her hair has been growing back in and I love it! It is natural and gray silver and curly and I just love it!

They told me how everything had been going back at “the house”…stress, different ways everyone was dealing with the shock and pain (from my mom trying to keep busy, the kids being forced out of the house earlier that day to go to the Jelly Belly factory….bringing back nasty flavors to trick the rest of the family into eating for comic relief, some relatives trying to micro manage, others focusing on feeding everyone, the men trying not to cry in front of the rest of the family, my Akoon going through all their old photos [….god she was beautiful…and he was such a romantic….the letters he wrote her…if a man wrote me like that….god, what pure love] and the Filipino members of Ahboo’s Catholic church coming by daily for the Novina…) and how kinko’s messed up on the poster-sized glamor shot of Ahboo and that was the big last minute issue for the the memorial the next morning.

When we arrived at the house, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry.

Lot of good that did…

I hugged everyone.

My two sisters and I had been having a rocky relationship…and in that moment, none of it mattered.  We were sisters, and we hugged it all away…the issue, honestly, was not so important that it was going to get between the three of us that moment.

After things settled down, all us girls went through Ahboo’s jewelry.  They were all waiting for me because I was the oldest and I was supposed to pick first.

You know how most stories about picking through a loved one’s things after they pass away is described like a war or a nasty battle?

That was nothing like this.  Everyone picked just a few items and left most of it.  We were gracious to one another. No fighting.  No arguing.  Just love.  I made sure the second oldest grandchild, who was not able to be there, was able to get the best pieces.  That was important to me.  She was so distraught that she could not fly halfway around the world to get back…I even took extra pieces of jewelry and scarves so that when the girls got older, if they wanted something for their children or just for themselves I would have it for them.  That is what us “oldests” are for, right?

The memorial was beautiful.  I heard stories about my Ahboo I never heard before…saw pictures I never saw, held family I didn’t even know existed.  I started to sing “Amazing Grace” her favorite song…but I broke down and cried during communion…my two sisters came up and joined me.  Urging me to try to finish.  They held me and gave me tissues and told me they loved me and they were right there.

Found out after the memorial that she wanted to be cremated.  My Akoon was just going to spread them somewhere but by dad, her oldest son (mama’s boy…in a good way) wanted to have them.  Everyone in the family was okay with that.

So, the day after my dad’s birthday, his mother was cremated and given to him in an urn.  Morbid birthday gift…at least that is my thought on that.

It is interesting, the reason’s why people want different things when they die…for example:

my Papa wanted to be burried in a Mariene cemetery…where as my Ahboo wanted to be cremated because she had a real fear of being buried alive.

I think I want to be cremated too, but not because I am scared of being buried alive.  It is because I don’t want a box to take up space on this earth just for my dead body.  Plus, they put so many chemicals in dead bodies these days and it is sorta mandatory…I don’t really want to go out like that.  Throw my ashes in three places: an ocean, a beautiful desert and the snowy mountains…anywhere in the world…but those three terrains.  If it is too much hassle or no one wants to do it, just dump me anywhere. I am not my body.

Long story short, it was perfect.  Ahboo wanted everyone in colors…celebration…no mourning (well, we couldn’t help it…we still mourned), everyone cried (even the men), and everyone paid their respects.  Her light will never extinguish in our hearts.

There were trays and trays of Chinese and Filipino food, and “white-people” food (sandwiches…lol) that were brought out later in the early evening.  No one went hungry…or without a hug.

All the grand kids sat around two Majong tables in the kitchen and played in her honor for an hour with Akoon helping (well, helping me!!! hehe…which is why I kept winning…who ever he helps always wins…unless, before her passing, Ahboo was playing…then she would always win).

Crazy foot note:  Her catholic church’s three-foot Mother Mary statue travels from house to house within the congregation…spending a month at each home.  A few days before her passing, the beginning of August, they presented Ahboo’s home with the Mother Mary for our families month.  What a blessing.  I don’t care if you are religious or not…that is something special.



Peace, love and three-foot Mother Mary Statues.



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