Longest Day

It was the 1st day of January 2012, I remember wishing for the day to be longer because tomorrow is yet another day at work. But when my sister, Millie, phoned me from Singapore that afternoon.. my wish was (painfully) granted.. it was, indeed, the most dragging/longest day of my life because t’was the day my mom passed away.

My mom, Praxedes Campoy Bernardo whom most of her friends and relatives know her as “Praxie” or “Praxy” was only 63 when she died. I remember sending her a video as a gift for her 63rd birthday last July 21, 2011. For some reason, of all the years it was only this time that I was really able to get photos of her from our family albums and other digital photos from our PC in Bulacan (that’s where I grew up in the province next to Manila, Philippines). Actually, I have been wanting to make a video as a gift for her on her 60th birthday but I believe God meant for me to give it that year. When I went home with Errol and 40 other delegates of CFC South Africa for the 30th Anniversary of CFC in Manila last June 2011, I was really happy because we were given a chance to spend time together with my mom and our family. It was then that I was also able to take as much photos as I can with Momie and from our albums. I remember having that mischievous smile while scanning them one by one..and even told to myself, “this one is going to be perfect for my birthday video surprise!”. And little did I know, it will be the first and the last video gift I’ll ever give her. (here’s the video: Momie’s 63rd Birthday )

There’s so much to miss and honor my mom for and to name a few, she’s very very workaholic! If it wasn’t for her hardwork I really don’t know how the 5 of us siblings will be able to finish or even experience studying. As most of the people know, my dad passed away cause of lung cancer when I was 9 years old. With Michie, Millie and Minnie in highschool plus Mikko and I in elementary – she knew it was going to be a tough life for her. But boy, she tried hard..as in really really haaaarrrrdd to bring us through college. she tried everything and I mean every single sideline just to bring food to our plates and for our everyday “baon” (pocket money/food for school). I can still vividly remember her selling different stuffs like gold jewelries, life insurance, tupperware, chocolates, etc. Plus she and my dad had opened a sari-sari (merchandise) store with lots of stuffs in them (not just foods or softdrinks but even stuff dolls, shirts, firecrackers, we also have family computer games and betamax/VHS tapes rentals and the like!) it was an all-in-one store, I think that’s why at the beginning they named it Store Stuff. hehe..
And yet, even when she was a “busy bee” she’s still very sentimental especially when it comes to her family. Every year she would prepare a family outing and will even invite relatives and friends to come along. I really don’t know (I wish I knew!) how she manages to budget for everybody! Wow! And to me, each outing is special because she made it really special going to different resorts and eating her specially marinated meats &  fishes with matching mangoes and the like! I also get so amazed with her whenever I reminice those days when she would still show up and take photos of our “Foundation Days” in school (that’s when we celebrate our school’s anniversary with dance presentations from each level – with all its colourful costumes and make-ups, etc.). Browsing our albums at home, never ever did she miss a foundation day – never ever did she miss watching us dance or sing or “show off”, she loved every minute of it. I can say by the way she took our photos, whether we were laughing or crying, in the mood or not, she got everything captured for us to remember how much she adored and enjoyed each one of us. To her it was all but precious moments…and as I grow older each year, all of it became as precious to me as well.

And speaking of being sentimental, my mom even when she grew a little bit older, never missed a chance to greet anyone of us on our special day! Whether it was our birthday, our anniversary or a big break from work or school, she would always greet us and would even buy us cake on that very day to celebrate. She would always offer mass for us on that day even when we are not around, otherwise she would go with us in the church then treat us somewhere after or go straight home and cook something “long” like spaghetti or pancit for long life. And not just with us but also with all our relatives and her friends..she never misses a special date and never misses to pray for each one of them, too! Maybe that’s why I can still remember my classmate’s & friends’ birthdays even from elementary! haha! I got that from her! Thank God! 🙂

Like I said, there’s so much to say about Momie. But one thing I really admired about her aside from her faithfulness to God (like saying the rosary, leading us to novena, sending us to mass every sunday and every special holy days, devotion to saints like Padre Pio and St.Peregrine, etc…) is her love for the poor or less fortunate. She was a great example of loving someone sincerely even with nothing. I can vividly remember those times when we were growing up, every after Christmas season she would always ask or advise us to de-clutter our stuffs and look for things that we want to give to the poor. It was from her that I learned that when I receive something, I must give away something as well. She would of course leave the sentimental stuffs given by us or by a special relative/friend of hers but she’ll give anything that she thinks she can for those less fortunate people who from time to time visit her at our place every after Christmas or anytime during the year. It was from her that I learned to let go not just of material things in life but as well as my personal desires/wishes/dreams. I guess that’s why she can move on easily in life and also has that strong spirit/willed personality. And i firmly believe it all comes with such deep faithfulness in God to have such trusting and giving attitude. And for that, I will always be honoured and grateful to God for blessing us with such a generous, loving and humble mom like her.

She may have hiccups, too, like any other moms who gets “highblood” at times. She would also scold us, or become over protective, or have even hurt us with her advices or comments just like any other moms, but that’s only because she cared so much for us and she loved us so much that she didn’t want us to get hurt. I have misunderstood her a lot of times but I really respect her..we all do.

One email of hers touched me, she said, “all of these I do in Jesus name, all for the glory of God to heal me and give me enough strength to go on with my life…to give me more time in this world to serve HIM…to be with you my loved ones…and for sharing whatever I can, with all your support, my children, my friends, my family…so many really loves me..I get to cry every time somebody shows how much they care, their concern..kasama na kayong lahat dun mga anak ko…thank you Lord for all, for everything, I still ask Him to show me, tolet me know how to serve Him, to be worthy and deserving of all the blessings and graces He sends us all the time…” 

It just shows how big her heart is even when she was in great pain. I’ll always bring that in my heart.. actually now, every time I’m in pain or I want to complain I just think of her and how she went through all of it with such great trust and love for the Lord and for all of us – now I try to just shut up and count my blessings they way I think Momie would do.

I really believe that Jesus’ face clearly showed and radiated on Momie’s face.. to me she was and will always be a touch of God’s Pure Love (like Jesus) from Heaven to us. Because just like Jesus, she denied herself so we (her children & loved ones) can all live.. 

Momie & Me (Dec 2009)

Thank you so much, Momie. I will really really miss you. All your hardships and love will never go to waste because we all learned from it. And we will try all our best to keep your legacy of compassion, faith and “family bonding” alive with our families, down to your apos (grandchildren and greatgrandchildren) . And for whatever pain I may have caused you (for not being there physically when you needed me the most) I hope you have forgiven me and will continue to pray for me..and for all of us your children (& all your loved ones). Enjoy your rest in heaven with Dadie, the angels and above all, with God! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH MOMIEKO!!! Mwaaahhh!!!