In Memoriam - Carmen Paypon, 02/07/2008

I just decided to post my mom's eulogy which I wrote when she died a year ago. My best friend Kat read it at the funeral service but I wondered if people listened. So for you guys who weren't able to attend the service before, I give you this:

When my Mom died, it was a shock and that’s an understatement if I ever heard one. It’s not even something that you’d wish on your worst enemy. But it happened and it’s REAL. It’s even more devastating for Sharon and I because we’re in Manila, so far away from her and we can’t even comfort our own brother. But we know what Mom wanted and it was to be buried beside Lolo. Who are we to ignore her last request when all her life she has done everything to give us what we wanted?

We tried our best to be with her but it wasn’t meant to be. Now, I thought, “Is this it? Is this all that I can do?” It only occurred to me to write this when Ate Marivic broached the subject of a eulogy in an email. And I thought who better to talk about my Mom than her very own children. I’m sure you all have stories to share and tales to tell about her - as a daughter, a sister, a relative, a friend and a co-worker. But for most of her life, she was a Mother. MY Mother, and I owe it to her to tell you how I’m proud of her, of how strong she was especially considering all the adversities in life that she’s been through.

I’m the eldest child, and as such, have the privilege of experiencing the happier moments in her marriage to Ben, my Dad. I know we took regular trips to the zoo and the parks. I remember the pictures and always marvel at how my Mom can wear such short skirts! My gosh!

But as you all know, their marriage was not the happily-ever-after kind. She suffered through it for a long time until the day my brother was born. I think it was the last straw when my dad wanted to name my brother after himself. So, Allan, be thankful Mom stood her ground otherwise you’d have been Ben Jr.

We all felt the aftermath of the separation but Mom bore the brunt of it. The period after the separation was the darkest years of her life. She’s separated from her parents, she’s out of touch with her brothers, and she’s alienated from her relatives who believe they’ve lost their “padrino” in government agencies. On top of that, she’s dealing with a son who was born with a weak heart and a middle child whose rebellious streak has reared its ugly head. Her battles with Sharon resulted in heart attacks on a daily basis it’s a miracle she didn’t die from those. Her health also became compromised – she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and underwent radiation therapy. Not many people know about this because she refused to be pitied. If any other person had to deal with all this, they’d probably break from the stress and pressure.

But not my Mom. She persevered, as was her nature. She believed that God did not give you trials you’re not capable of overcoming. By her strong will, she put us through school, at the cost of bringing Allan to school because there’s no money left for a babysitter. By her indomitable spirit, she couldn’t be dragged down by people who didn’t believe in her. And by her love for her children, she ENDURED. She SURVIVED. She LIVED.

She even took in Sharon’s daughter to raise. Can you imagine my Mom teaching in class with a baby sleeping on the teacher’s desk? She brought Den to school with her everyday. Den was the one that brought life back into her. She was happy.

She even continued with her studies and was two units shy of completing her Master’s degree. That’s how intelligent she was. Sometimes, I guess this is what scares people off because on first impression, she can be aloof and may come off as uptight or a snob.

But really, Mom is a very simple person. Mababaw ang kaligayahan niyan. I remember when Patrick did an imitation of the Power Rangers in the living room at home, he ended up tumbling across the floor and bumping into the cabinet. Mom was crying so hard from laughing that she couldn’t even breathe. When a cockroach dares invade her personal space, she’ll scream her head off, run the other way and beg us to kill it. She liked the color lavender. She once joked about wanting to paint the exterior of the house violet and the interior lavender and pink. She loved to read! She inspired her students to read as well. One time, she even brought our own VCR to school so that her students can watch The Lord of the Rings. She’s very thoughtful – she always remembered to buy Patrick anything Star Wars-related when at the mall. She’s a handyman at home, a trait she probably inherited from Lolo. She loved pizza from Sbarro and Pizza Hut. She loved Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet and would often tell Allan that that’s where he got his cleft chin from. She always received the most number of bouquets during Teachers’ Day. She loved Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson and Steven Seagal. She loved Tiger Prawns.

But she also didn’t like a lot of things. First, she hated James Taylor! When she was pregnant with me, hearing James Taylor’s songs incited bouts of nausea in her. That feeling never passed. She didn’t like incompetent people. She hated having to repeat tasks that should have been idiot-proof. But above all, she didn’t like having to ask people for help – her independent streak at work. She hated to inconvenience others. She didn’t want to be a burden to others.

But basically, what stands out is that the innate goodness in her radiates within and among her family and friends. That is why she found love again in Bruce. That is why she has gone to the States even though she didn’t want to, if only because she wanted us to have a good life. That is why she didn’t want to spend any of her money on herself, she’d rather use it on us, her grandkids and her extended family in Manila. That is why a lot of people feel great sadness in her passing.

In accepting her death, I keep this in mind. My Mom will forever live in me and in my kids. Her heart will be mine. Her smile will shine through my kids. She brought me up to be independent and strong and that’s how my kids will be. I regret that she wasn’t able to see them, to hold them, to hug them. But I knew she loved them. It is some relief that she passed knowing that we are all doing a little better – Allan with his work, school and the car he’s so proud of, Sharon getting married to Jowell, their kids and their Internet business, and myself with my beautiful kids and Patrick who works and still manages to help with the chores. It will be a tribute to my Mom to keep her alive in our memories and in the way we live our lives.

Thank you for reading.


  1. that's lovely writing.. I'm sure your mom is happy wherever she is now, and she must be really proud of you. take care..

  2. Thanks Mantiz.. That's what we all hope for :) Take care too! :)

  3. Rachel, it's me again, Irene, one of the students of your mom, my favorite teacher. And yes, you are right; she received the most number of bouquets during Teachers Day. I for one managed to save 25 centavos each day prior to Teachers Day to be able to buy her a piece of rose from the vendor outside Recto High School. That is how hard those times was and your mom kept on saying us "Don't spend your money just to give me flowers; what I want is to all of you to study hard, that is enough for me." But still, I (and most of her students) felt then that its a "mortal sin" not to allot a "little" present for her to commend her for her kindness and mother-like gesture on us, considering how she was so generous to her advisory class. Others find her a terror teacher, but once they get to know her, they could not help but to love her.

    I miss my favorite teacher and thanks to Noel for the information and to technology, for I was able to get some facts on how she hurdled with life after my "Recto days." Thanks to this blog Rachel and you really look like Ma'am Paypon! I'll continue praying for her, and for all of you too. I know she's happy now, her kids are settled. We will have another reunion with my batchmates this December, and, just like before, we will remenisce our happy high school days with her. Regards!

  4. Thanks Irene.. just curious, how did you find my blog? :D

  5. Oh! I didn't know you already posted your comment here. To answer your question, when Noel Lomboy (son of Mrs. Lomboy, my high school classmate, and your neighbor) told me about the tragic incident about Ma'am, I searched the net for more info and I was lucky to read your blog.You can call me your net "stalker," but reading your blogs and seeing pictures with Ma'am Pypon ( I even searched for your Picasa web albums, sorry) is such a nice feeling, remembering those good times with her after more than 20 years! I miss your mom and I know she is happy,for I am one of her mentees she could be proud of. Regards to the whole family!


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