Not A Halloween Story

Every night, of late, we read this book , WWJD “What Would Jesus Do? for kidz” . It is a 3 -year old book in our household but my kids still love reading it .

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(photo via google books)

Last night was a fitting story for this season. “Is it a Ghost?” was the title of the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. To sidetrack a bit, if you look around and over time, the market has cashed in on pagan halloween festivities that you can see malls luring kids (and parents alike!) with all sorts of tricks ( because you end up spending) and well, some treats. This is their big sale event before Christmas!  As my kids grow up, they understand the meaning of all these, why all the marketing strategies, and why we don’t celebrate it at all.  We remember our loved ones who have gone ahead of us, which gave us a great time of telling stories about their good deeds and the legacy that they left to their children and the generations to come.

Going back, this is not a story of the dead but of the living.  In our Christian walk,  we lay down our graveclothes as we put on a new one when we celebrate a new life in Jesus.   Jesus declared, ” Unwrap him and let him go.” (John 11:44).  Spooky as it seemed to be, (just like a ‘Thriller’ event), it was realized because Jesus loved Lazarus ( it was recorded that He even wept!) and so that the spectators, (including us!) may see the glory of God and a picture of what it means to be have a new life in Him. (You may read the story here.)  We break away from what binds us, putting away the filthiness of those graveclothes. If there are still things that keep us from completely surrendering our life to Him, a new wardrobe is required! (Oh how women love this!)  Graveclothes belong to the dead, not the living!

There is a great offer, never so cheap, not a one big sale that we can pay it on our own.  Jesus offered his life , our new wardrobe, so that we can be wrapped in Him for eternity.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” – John 11:25

 

The Long Hyphenated Years

A petite lady with a BIG heart. That was Lola Tukay. Literally, because she had a medical condition of an enlarged heart despite of her cute frame (which seemed impossible to some) and figuratively speaking as the number so implied and she had touched so many lives in her lifetime. At the ripe age of 96, 6 months short of 97, our Creator took her home to be with Him for eternity at 11:30 in the morning today. Her earthly tent now destroyed, has been replaced with an eternal home. It’s like having a vision of how heaven is rejoicing at the grand entrance of what my then 2 yr-old daughter Dana used to call her “Tukay, Tukay!” unabashedly without being irreverent at all!

In my younger years when my parents still used to work in the city, a visit to my dad’s hometown is something to look forward to. I admit, i didn’t like the 6-hr bumpy ride back then, but despite that ‘agonizing’ condition, I can well remember those times spent with her, my uncles and aunts and my cousins where we used to line up for that must-have photo shot!

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Reunions in my father’s side were marked with mini programs complete with games..

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and much dancing! From the 1980s…

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to the 90s!

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Lola Tukay has always been the crowd-drawer, not that roasted pig that poses stately in special occasions like that of her birthday

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Because she was a widow at a young age, she devoted her life to her children, grandchildren and great-grandkids. The moment we stepped in her home in those visits, the first thing that she would ask us was if we have eaten, what we liked for snacks and lunch and insisted that we stayed on for dinner – never mind that she ate the last – I just realized that she must’ve quietly enjoyed watching us  – our rowdiness , our appetite, or even just merely looking at us and realizing how fast the years have gone by for her!  She was a homebody, or so i thought, until that time came when my parents and an aunt and uncle brought her to the country’s capital , Manila and enjoyed the iconic Manila Hotel for a  sales incentive treat from a top company back in the ’90s. She had a new wardrobe, a new hairstyle, nails polished and a brand-new smile!

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I must say my younger brother (in the pic) was fortunate to have lola all by his own back then. Right now, I am looking through some old photos and saw these –

My youngest brother with her..

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and back when there was still only me in the family..

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the background is still the same and so it has been meaningful to have pictures taken with her in that particular spot.

Last December 8, 2012 , when she celebrated her 96th birthday, I was determined to pay her a visit. After all, I have been missing 7 birthday celebrations because of my work’s annual staff meeting that happens on her birthday week. I didn’t know that was our last picture to be taken with her on the same spot.

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Our tribe has been increasing and I am so blessed with the legacy that my Lola Tukay has left us. I always say that I come from a bloodline of strong women – my maternal grandma is still with us at 84 yrs old and although Lola Tukay was around for such a long time and we know this “she’s just there” feeling will come to an end, I truly miss her. A survivor, she was a woman born at the break of World War 1, overcame World War II, migrated to the Land of Promise at a young age, worked hard alongside our Lolo Tacio and has become the epitome of the Proverbial Woman. That brand of gentle strength is worth emulating. Will I ever match her in terms of accomplishments and age? Eustaquia “Tukay” Roda  Cabatic  (Dec.8, 1916-June 19, 2013). Looking at those years that come in between life and death, I can say she has lived a long, full life. Those are long ‘hyphenated’ years that witnessed a lot of sorrows and tears, of joys and wonderful memories. As to myself, I trust God on what remains of that single hyphen in my life. I can only pray that this dash could be as meaningful as that of my grandma.

Farewell , our dearest lola. Rest in peace in our Maker’s everlasting arms. We love you!!!

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(On her 96th birthday, December 8, 2012)

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“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT)