a celebration of life


It’s been a while…the following is kind of a blog-dump…

I feel as though the last few weeks have flown by.  Which is naturally what happens when you want things to slow down.

My dear friend lost a long battle with cancer this past Sunday.  She’s one of the greats.  Full of grace and heart and light.  True Aloha spirit.  From the moment we met she always brought a sense of peace.  She managed to be simple and complex at the same time.  Never judgmental, never naive either.  Her spirit will live on with those of us lucky enough to know her.  Especially her husband, two sons and daughter-in-law, grandson on the way, many other family and friends.  Due to the equal-opportunity nature of cancer, she was in her 50s when diagnosed, which stacked the odds further against her.  She outlasted many doctors’ expectations for survival, but after a few years her body just couldn’t withstand that damn disease from spreading.

By no means was she a gourmet-phile as many in the blogospere/Twitterverse/intelligentsia know themselves to be. (I will not incite the “f” word!) The words “salt of the earth” come to mind.  Hers was the kind of comfort food that brought actual comfort.  Wonderful things with her own spin like a stacked eggplant parmigiana — layers of breaded eggplant, tomatoes/tomato sauce, mozzerella, ground meat/sausage.  Classic meatloaf with beef chuck and just the right amount of dried spices.  Fried chicken, goulash, short ribs with mustard, etc.  Her husband is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, so Filipino food was more of a special-occasion thing.  They made it work.  It certainly never stopped her from liking the finer things, but I always looked forward to the delicious no-nonsense meals and conversation at their family table.

I’ve been in a funk since Sunday…actually even before that.  Her condition had deteriorated so quickly in the last couple of weeks…as expected.  It was conflicting to want to spend time with her, even if she’d only be awake for part of the time; and at the same time try to continue living and doing.  There were a few times where I’d jump when the phone rang because I was expecting “the call…that I didn’t wanna hear, but I knew that it would come.”  (Don Henley.)  When the call finally came, I felt like all the air went out of me for a few moments.

There is a big void in this world after she left it.  Tomorrow morning we say our goodbyes so to speak.  She didn’t want sadness or dark colors or mourning in the traditional sense.  Instead, she planned for a luau with bright colors, family and close friends, lots of Hawaiian food and the beach.  “Selfless to the end,” as her husband said.  She wanted a celebration of life.  Logically, I know I’m supposed to feel relieved because her pain is over and it’s now the time for everyone to move on and forward.  And I do.  But 5 days later I felt feel frustrated, sad, dare I say lost.

I’ve been trying with limited success to get in that mindset.  And then earlier this evening my phone rang.  It was Spice, telling me that she and her husband are expecting their first child.  Now, if that isn’t a sign (as well as blessing for our family!) I don’t know what is.  Suddenly, everything shifted in my brain and came into focus.

A celebration of life.

Life goes on, just like the Beatles said.  I have been truly privileged to have known a great woman and call her my friend.  Her legacy will continue to inspire long into the future, and God willing I’ll see her again someday because that’s what I believe.  As much as my heart breaks, I owe it to myself and to her to LIVE.  I’ve still got dreams to make real, people to love, laugh with and most importantly, FEED! (LOL)  And last but not least, the Spice-y little baby born into my family almost 25 years ago, is now a full-fledged lady/kidatheart/wifey/careerwoman/MOM-TO-BE!  Cheers to you, mon chou, on this next stage in your life.  I love you so much!  Thank you for helping me remember what’s important.


5 Responses to “a celebration of life”

  1. 1 spice

    ok i was officially sobbing after reading this blog

  2. Awh! <3 Well that wasn't quite the reaction I was going for sweetie…but then again your hormones are on tilt right now LOL

  3. Beautiful post, Cristina. I recently lost both my paternal and maternal grandfathers, so it’s really helpful and comforting for me to read these words. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • I’m sorry for the late reply! I think I’m subconsciously trying to win an award for “most erratic blogger” LOL
      But seriously, it makes me happy to hear that I was able to help in some small way. Take care <3

  4. This was such a beautiful post! Life really does go on. Something to remember in the best of times and in the worst of times.

    It was wonderful to meet you Christina :) Hopefully our paths will cross again soon!

    -Rose ( Magpie)

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