No Longer Here, But Still With Me
by Cristina C. Santos
It is so hard to accept that Tiyang Luming is no longer around for me to see, talk to and embrace with all my love. Tiyang means Auntie in Tagalog, a language of the
Philippines, my native language and hers. When I heard last year that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I shared the distressing news with my friends on the Conscious Evolution forums, and your support and prayers have helped as the time has passed. Tiyang Luming, my aunt, godmother and second mother, passed on in the early afternoon of November 16, 2003, and I want
to share with you the eulogy I gave at her funeral.
As I said at the memorial service, it is so hard to accept that Tiyang Luming is not with us anymore. Ive been trying to comfort myself by saying repeatedly that this is just a dream and I will soon wake up and see her smiling at me, but in reality she has moved on to much better
love place, and that is with God. I still cant help referring to her as, she is still here with us, because I believe in my heart that she will always be with us, in the hearts and memories of those who love her, and I cant see why I should say was when in my heart I know she is with me, with all of us who know her, here today and always.
I remember the days when I was young, and how I would always love to tag along with Tiyang Luming to the office at the Oraca Building and the Chua Lim Co. We would go downstairs to the Turo Turo and buy goto. I remember how much fun I had going with her shopping at
Escolta, and how we tried on different shoes at Leeds. I remember going with her to the movies, and we must have seen just about all of the Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis movies. I remember crying, scared, and dragging her out of the theater when we saw the Jerry Lewis movie where he turned to Mr. Hyde. I remember she and I would go take off
to the beauty salon and get our hair done. I remember sneaking into her air-conditioned room when she was at work, and turning it on the air conditioner, reading her Bible and trying on her perfumes. Most of the time she would catch me because I smelled so much like her perfume. She would look at me, squint her eyes and then smile. I was, almost, in trouble.
I remember Christmas time in the Philippines. She was always the first one to fill the Christmas tree with presents at Lolo and Lolas house, my grandfather and grandmothers. She would display her wonderful walking doll with a pink dress, and her godchildren would come and visit
Christmas Day to get their presents. I also remember her being away for a month to travel around the world.
Tiyang Luming is a very, very dear person to me. I love her very much. I am her goddaughter, and she is like a second mother to me. I remember how everyone used to say how we look alike, and she and I would get a kick out of it. In some ways, I do feel that she and I are
very much alike, except that she does not have a hot temper like I do, unless of course she hid it quite well.
At times, I was referred to as her favorite, but you see, if I was, it was not an easy position to be in. I seemed to get the short end of the stick because she did not want anyone else to feel left out. But being
her shadow when I was little did make it a lot easier when I got older for us to talk openly, and we all need to have someone like that in our lives. She loves all of us in the family dearly, and the last thing she wants to see is quarrels. It makes her nervous and upset. And that includes my temper, for which she has scolded me so many times.
Tiyang Luming is a very loving soul and has a cheerful spirit that can lift you up when you feel down and makes you feel good about yourself. She has the sweetest smile, and I love it when she laughs with no sound, just a twinkle in her eyes and seeing her shoulders go up and
down. She is always there when you need her and you do not have to ask. She somehow seems to know. She has made herself available for her family all the time. She may not have any children of her own, but to her, we are all her children. She made herself like a mother to all of us, and that has made her happy.
Knowing that we all, in our own ways, would go running to her, saying, Tiyang Luming, I want this, I want that, can you get me this, can you get me that, tickled her. It made her feel important and needed, and that, to her, made her feel loved. She has given us, her family just
about anything we want that is within her reach, but then, she never really asked for anything for herself. Seeing our faces light up, seeing us all getting excited with all the gifts she brought us, made her happy. Seeing all her family happy, and revolving her life around us, made her fulfilled.
We all saw Tiyang Luming as a very strong independent person, and she is. Deep inside she is also very shy and very sensitive. There were events in her past that hurt her deeply, but with her love for all, she was able to set the hurt aside and let go. There is one request; a wish
that she has that I know worried her before she left us. We, her family know what that is. Let us honor that wish as way to show Tiyang Luming how much we love her and appreciate all what she has devoted to all of us.
Michelle, my daughter, found this Psalm, 139:1-18, and I want to include it, for I feel that this is what is in Tiyang Lumings heart.
Lord, you have probed me, you know me:
You know when I sit and stand;
You understand my thoughts from afar.
My travels and my rest you mark;
With all my ways you are familiar.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
Lord, you know it all.
Behind and before me you encircle me
And rest your hand upon me,
Far too lofty for me to reach.
Where can I hide from your spirit?
From your presence, where can I flee?
If I ascend to the heavens, you are there;
If I lie down in Sheol, you are there too.
If I fly with the wings of dawn
And alight beyond the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand hold me fast.
If I say, Surely darkness shall hide me,
And night shall be my light -
Darkness is not dark for you,
And night shines as the day.
Darkness and light are but one.
You formed my inmost being;
You knit me in my mothers womb.
I praise you, so wonderfully you made me;
Wonderful are your works!
My very self you knew;
My bones were not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
Fashioned as in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes foresaw my actions;
In your book all are written down;
My days were shaped, before one came to be.
How precious to me are your designs, O God;
How vast the sum of them!
Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands;
To finish, I would need eternity.