I never thought I would say this.
But I am glad my mother is no longer in this world.
She left this world one year ago today.
I know where she is.
For the morning of her passing
An angel in the form of a cloud hovered over the horizon
I am glad she no longer resides in this world of pain, anger, hurt, destruction.
She is healed and restored.
No longer unable to walk.
No longer unable to remember.
No longer unable to speak.
I pray she would give me her voice to speak for the oppressed.
For throughout her life she was an advocate for those in need.
She opened the doors of her home to those who needed shelter
Not just for a day or two, but for weeks or months
to immigrants coming to America to seek a better life.
She is one who taught the unlovely and children of many colors: white, brown, black, yellow.
Who with compassion and understanding taught the most temperamental and most unlikely to read and write and add their numbers
never unwavering in her care for them.
Fifty years later, a handful of her former third-grade students honored her at her graveside, along with over 150 members of our family from all over the country.
Two of her grandnephews spoke at her memorial, one just hours off a plane from his deployment from Qatar, an officer in the United States Military. The other is also an officer, who recalled how as a young boy she taught him how to read and speak in English, a language that was not his native tongue.
She came to the United States from the Philippines as a wife of an enlisted soldier who defended a country he had never seen during World War II.
She had her own will to fight. She taught me and my sister and our children how to fight. To fight for what is right. For what is true. And to fight with actions that speak love. To nourish others, body and soul. Not only with a plate full of homemade Filipino food, but with words that uplift and bring life and hope to others.
Her words encouraged others. Made them want to be her best. My best friend growing up once told me, “Your mom made me want to always be the best version of my self.”
Not only did she give out words, she was always ready to receive them. She was a listening friend. She was a listening auntie. She was a listening mother.
The art of listening, of empathy, of seeing is needed in this world she has left.
This light she carried is the light needed in this world she has left.
Her name, Ludivina, means “light divine”. Luz divina.
Her light gave her the ability to see, ra’ah, in Hebrew: to perceive the needs of others.
And isn’t that the cry of those around us? To be seen? To be accepted? To be loved? To be cherished?
I see her cry in heaven above, her heart broken for the world she has left.
I pray those she has left behind will stand in her place.
To be a voice for those who have none.
To feed those who need a meal.
To shelter those who need protection.
To love those who need love.
To pray for those in need and those who meet the needs.
I remember her hands, the ones like mine with bony knuckles and arched fingers, ones that one by one fingered the beads of her rosary daily to pray for the needs of others.
I feel her prayers for those she has left behind to stand in her place.
For her grandniece who feeds the needy in her community.
For her grandnephews who defend our country.
For her grandchildren who leave an imprint, her imprint of love in the places where they stand.
To carry her luz divina, her light divine into the darkest places.
“O Ilaw”. Oh, light.
Her grandniece who serves the community: Melissa Miranda https://stories.zagat.com/posts/melissa-miranda-on-creating-community-around-filipino-cooking?fbclid=IwAR0dftIzo9H_EoRA4ZYxNQGTptjDRKV3OxWDLvGp_FN2bdjL3BUzCH3QxJ4