I haven’t written a blog post in half a year… time flies by so fast. I still love bags, I’m still here – it’s just that a lot has happened in those six months I was away. Some great things, some good things, and yes – not so great things as well; terrible, even.
Let’s start with the great things – almost one month ago, my husband released the debut album of his band Jack of None called “Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear?” It’s gotten some very good reviews so far, with one of them describing it as,”The experimental rock band’s self-produced debut album is an odd, fascinating combination of poetry, art, and rock into a satisfying whole.” The album is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, Microsoft Groove Music, and Band Camp. My husband A.G. was the producer, composer, guitar player, bassist, and synth programmer on the album – you can see why I am so proud. 🙂 He spent months working on the album and the result is really something else – very thought-provoking and truly different. So, we were busy preparing for the album release, which was very rewarding – my spare time which would have gone to writing posts went to this for a certain period.
Another great thing was my husband, our daughter and I getting to spend time with our extended family over Christmas. We had a fantastic vacation, with lots of family gatherings and holiday cheer. As for the good, things continued to go quite well for us in our primary career in software development; our daughter Mui continued to thrive and kept building her skills even outside of school, taking initiative in learning Japanese, continuing her piano lessons, and writing her short stories; we were able to travel as a family in the early part of the year both in Asia and in California.
So, on to the not so great… the terrible, in fact. My father was diagnosed with bone cancer in late January. During our Christmas vacation, it became apparent that he was not well – we just did not know the extent of his illness until after the holidays. Needless to say, I was devastated. Even worse, I had to fly out to another state for work to meet with clients the day after I found out. It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions since then – devastation, sadness, acceptance, hope. My father insisted that we should all go on with our lives and not let it get in the way of living our lives to the fullest. For his sake, I have been doing just that, which is also why this is the first time I am really saying it “out loud”, if you will. Outside our immediate family members and a few other people (some of my dearest friends will only find out after reading this post), I had not spoken of it to others as I suppose it would have made it more “real”. Not that it wasn’t.
So we continued to celebrate things like my birthday which came a month after we found out; Valentine’s Day; Mother’s Day; we continued to have dinners out and did fun things with family and friends. The worst thing would have been for my Dad to feel that we stopped living “normal” lives because of him, so we continued on, consistently reminding ourselves of our blessings (and there were many, still) and remaining strong for ourselves, and for each other. Most people wouldn’t have guessed anything was wrong as I kept my social media posts lighthearted and positive…that was also my way of remembering not to dwell on the bad, and of being strong and retaining normalcy for our daughter.
Which leads me to the title of this post… May is a very busy month for my mom Carmen – there’s Mother’s Day, their wedding anniversary, and finally – her birthday. So, this month has brought out a number of emotions from me as I remembered how this month echoes back to her, my mother. She’s been the one who has had to be strongest through this all, especially since other than my Dad, she’s also been caring for my grandmother who has been battling Alzheimer’s Disease. Her siblings and in-laws have been wonderful, truly been there for her through it all, but I know how hard the past few months have been for her. She soldiers on, and she remains strong for me, my brother Francis, and my Dad Monico.
Growing up, I was very headstrong and while I was a model daughter in some ways (academically I was an honor student and excelled in extracurricular activities as well), I know I gave her a lot of heartache too. We’ve worked out our differences (though from time to time we still argue, as most mothers and daughters do) but I still wish I gave my parents an easier time when I was growing up. I’ve spent close to two decades trying to be the best daughter I could be, but I still feel like I need more time to give my parents the happiness they deserve.
This is the most personal post I’ve ever written, and will probably be the only one of this nature in my blog, for various reasons; I spent months not telling people and I think that I am sharing now because I am ready, I have truly accepted, and I want to share just how much I admire my parents for their strength, their tenacity, their will, despite what we are going through now.
May isn’t just the month for Mother’s Day – it’s my Mom’s month, for many reasons. Thanks for everything, Mommy – don’t get tired of being strong for us.