A Day of Remembering

Honestly, I don't really have any real experience with death. And what I mean is, I rarely attend funerals and wakes, much less have an idea what goes on after the body is buried. Yes, I knew some people who died but not enough for me to really pay attention to what's going on.

My mom was my first. Talk about irony, huh? And even more of an irony, since she didn't die here, I didn't have anything to do with all the preparations as well. Those responsibilities fell on my brother Allan's shoulders. He thought of it as his rite of passage into adulthood.

Now, I sometimes hear of 9-days and 40 days in connection with some ritual after death. Honestly, I have no idea what to do during those days. I don't even know the significance of those numbers. The "40" I think is in relation to the number of days it took for Christ's resurrection. The "9" I'm not sure.. so if you have any idea, please enlighten me.

Now, it's my mom's 1st year death anniversary. And people have told me there should be a "padasal" or some prayer ritual for her and I have to cook or at least prepare food to be shared with others.

That got me thinking. Originally, I was planning on dedicating a mass for her and that was it. I didn't want to prepare food because to me, it seemed like a celebration of my mom's death so that was weird. And besides, I didn't want to feed people that have no remorse over my mom's death. If ever I would serve anything it would be to those whose Mom's death mattered greatly. And who have shown me that Mom's death has struck a chord in their hearts.

Anyway, my sister said that she's going to have a "padasal" at their house since she knew people who performed that kind of service. So I said, okay, we'll just visit you and hold it there. If you're going to serve food (at least for those who prayed) I'll contribute.

The deal was, my father will fetch us from the house and together we'll go to my sister's house. It didn't push through. In the end, my sister's husband had to fetch us. It was already late. Along the way, we stopped to buy flowers for my mom to put near her picture. (Allan, please send me Mom's picture - the one at the funeral, ok?) After that, we were really moving along until we got to a busy intersection. That's where a taxi accidentally bumped us while trying to maneuver itself. And about the same time when the car we were riding started smelling like burned rubber. At first Jowell didn't want to take notice of it, but really it was hard to ignore as smoke was coming out of the hood! That got me and the kids scared. And then there was a pop and the engine died and we had to push the car to the side. Turned out we busted the radiator and the clutch or something!!

We then called my dad who wanted us to take a cab to where he was. It was a miracle when we did find a cab and he allowed us to ride him. Imagine at the back, there we were: Patrick, me, Den, Bing and the 2 kids and in front were Jowell and his cousin Michael. We then decided to just go straight to the house because it was closer. Going around the street we ended up the same place where our car died and guess what?! The taxi's engine died too at the same exact spot!! Was Mom trying to tell us something ?? Jowell and Michael had to get out and push the taxi until the engine started again and we were able to get to my sister's house without another hitch.

When we got there though, we found out that the food she prepared was not enough. She thought that when she asked someone to buy food, the money she gave was supposed to feed 10-15 people. Well, what happened was it was only good for 5-7!! But no matter, the important thing was that we were there to pray for Mom and that was all. Dad came by too.

It was a good family moment and I think if Mom could see us she would be surprised.


  1. Hi Rachel! You might not remember me, but I perfectly remember you, being the daughter of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Paypon. It was only lately have I known about her death, and only now about the car accident. My classmate, Noel Lomboy told me just now (thru FB chat) about the car accident in the US the took your Mom's life. I remember you and your sister Sharon because Ma'am Paypon used to tell stories in class about her children. I often go to your house in Loreto with my classmates and I remember your mom telling us that you eat left-over rice fresh from the fridge for merienda. Your mom was so good to us, being her advisory class in 3rd year (1988-89); so generous to even sponsor our "gala" after exam. Those were the days...Your mom has a great impact on me; she is one of my inspirations, as teacher and as a mom. I used to be an academic tutor, and now a writer/proofreader. I am also a single mom like she used to. Kung san man sia nandun ngayon, I know,she is happy kasi she touched the lives of those people she was with in the past, especially to her students. I'll keep on praying for her. Regards!

  2. Thanks Irene, though I'm sorry that I can't remember you with so many of my mom's students passing through our lives :) I'm glad that you feel that way about my mom and you've been fortunate enough to be able to share it with me :) I've often wondered how it would be if she was buried here.. because I know how much of her life she dedicated to her vocation. Thank you for the wonderful things you said about her. It makes me really proud of her as a Mom and as an educator :) Thank you ...


Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave your thoughts :)