Nanay (left) with my sister Jojie. What beautiful smiles! We miss you Nay! This was taken in 2014.
Us, sisters with Nanay. Missing in this picture is our other sister Baby.
Of children, sons-in-law, and grandchildren. Our big family with Nanay in multicolored shirt. This picture was taken in 2014 in Quezon City, Philippines.
One of the few who made the biggest influence in my life is my mom or in Tagalog, we call her Nanay. I remember when Tatay (father) and Nanay visited the United States in March 2003 from the Philippines and stayed with my husband and I for a few months. On the day that I was about to give birth to my one and only child, Nanay and Tatay prayed for me the whole day. I was 38 years old then with gestational diabetes. A minute or two after the baby came out early evening; the phone rang in the delivery room. It was my mom checking on me! Up to now, it somewhat puzzles me how she knew when to call! She told me later that she felt this urge that she just had to call. They were truly God sent!
Wacky pose with Nanay! What was she telling me? Peace man! Peace!
Nanay with Ate Jojie and family and Ate Nenette. Picture taken in 2014.
I stayed home for the next two months while I was new-mom-in-training with Nanay. She was 73 years old then. In the meantime, my father who was 77 years old started showing signs of Alzheimer’s, depression and prostate problems. My husband and I brought him to the emergency room twice. He was also experiencing hallucinations and poor eyesight due to his diabetes. He also slipped on our floor twice. This was a real challenge for Nanay who attends to Tatay’s needs and for me considering I just had a newborn. My mom and I just hang on to our faith in God that He will take care of everything.
Kids! Kids! Kids! Nanay poses with my brother-in-law (in yellow shirt), my brother priest (in white shirt) and the grandchildren! Cheeeezzzzz! She was 83 years old in this picture and still looking good!
I went back to work after two months only to be back at the hospital after only a day at work. My appendix ruptured and so I had to stay at the hospital for three days. During this time, my mom took care of my baby and my father by herself most of the time. She never said an ugly word to me nor complained. Instead, she told me later that she prayed to RJ’s guardian angel to extend his sleep at night. Sure enough, my baby’s sleep went from two hours to four hours after bottle feeding. For the next two weeks, Nanay carried the bulk of the responsibilities at home because of the physical limitations placed on me by my doctor while my husband continued to work full time. My parents decided to leave for the Philippines after three months of staying with me due to my Tatay’s deteriorating health. However, those moments we shared together were one of the best. I learned what it meant to be a parent, a spouse, a friend, and loving daughter to an ailing parent. My mother became my anchor when the big waves hit us hardest. She became my role model for a woman of faith, patience and joy. Whether it’s day or night, Tatay and Nanay found some quiet time to pray: either with their rosaries or with her prayer book. These were their weapons.
Nanay’s farewell. She bid us goodbye on January 26, 2015. A few weeks short of her 85th birthday.
With family in front of her casket during the week of viewing on the last week of January 2015.
The altar of Santuario de San Pedro Bautista in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City where the funeral mass in honor of Nanay was held. It is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Its patron saint, San Pedro Bautista answered to God’s calling and prayed in this place. Thus, it is considered a sacred place.
Relatives and friends, both near and far, pay their last respects.
The family gathered for the mass.
Thank you so much to Nanang Letty, her brother, and their family for helping us take care of finding a place for the viewing, the funeral mass, and all kinds of support you’ve extended to us, especially the choir. Taos puso pong pasasalamat namin sa inyo at sa inyong mga kaibigan!
Special thanks to the choir for sharing your voices to make Nanay and our family happy and most of all to praise God!
One time, decades ago in the Philippines after asking her for advice, I remembered asking Nanay. “Nanay, what’s gonna happen when you are gone? I’m really gonna miss you.” She responded, “I can do more things for you when I am gone.” You know what? I believe that is exactly what she is doing. She continues to pray and watch over us and all her loved ones. Just several days after she died, my sister won an iPad in a raffle, 500 dinars that were lost were suddenly found tucked in my brother priest’s wallet and a few grandchildren had new job offers or new jobs! Thank you, Nanay! Praise and thank you God for your love reflected through Nanay and Tatay!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: OUR FAMILY WISHES TO THANK EACH AND EVERYONE OF OUR RELATIVES, FRIENDS, THE SALESIAN COMMUNITY AND CO-MEMBERS IN THE LEGION OF MARY WHO HAD SUPPORTED US DURING OUR TIMES OF GRIEF AND WHO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT US WITH THEIR PRAYERS FOR US AND FOR NANAY. TAOS PUSO PONG PASASALAMAT SA INYONG LAHAT. WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE TO YOU! GOD BLESS US ALL!
Fr. John Tamayo, SDB, our one and only eldest brother, Fr. Bicomong, SDB (our neighbor in Quezon City), Fr. Godofredo Atienza, SDB, Fr. Ver Tolentino and his confrere priests from the Salesian community concelebrated the mass for Nanay. Fr. John was in the middle, front row with Fr. Bicomong on his right side; Fr. Godofredo was in his back left side and Fr. Ver was in the extreme right on the second row. Fathers John, Ver, and Godofredo are cousins. Praise God for the prayers offered for Nanay! There was so much rejoicing in heaven.
Goodbye Nanay! We are happy that you are now with our Creator! We believe that you are now in heaven with Tatay and our other relatives and friends!
“We love you Nanay!” Two of nanay’s closest friends said their final goodbyes to her as Fr. John prayed.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 Yes, Nanay. You are now with the Lord. There is nothing to fear.