My mother is dead. She died today. She died peacefully in her sleep. She was 87.
Nature took its course.
She now touches the stars of the Universe on her way to the World of the Divine.
She died in the “Land Of The Brave And The Free”, 11, 736 kilometers away, a land that nourished her bravery and freedom.
She was born in 1929 in Palompon, Leyte.
She was a twin of The Great Depression. They matured together.
They faced the pain of economic survival together, with the rest of the world until World War II.
After the war, Manila was in her mind. It was the center of opportunity.
She worked as a domestic helper and a nanny of a rich family. While working, she finished a vocational course on dressmaking.
She was destined to be a mother and an entrepreneurial home-based dressmaker.
My siblings and I grew up under her maternal protection and affection.
She was our first teacher and mentor.
She taught us both the alphabet of writing and the alpha and omega of living.
She was our life coach.
She taught us the value of freedom and responsibility.
She was the treasurer of the household.
She taught us the value of hard work, thrift, and modest living.
She showed us the dignity of labor by her own example.
She was the light of our home.
Nothing frightened us. Her brightness scared the darkness away.
She inspired my father.
Together they faced the responsibilities of parenthood in a post-War jungle called Manila.
My father was a family driver of a rich family where he met my mother.
(The life of my father is a separate inspiring story altogether).
My mother was a natural charity worker.
She helped many relatives and friends navigate life in Manila (and in Los Angeles, for that matter).
They will forever remember her. Many of them have families of their own now.
My mother was a caring, kind, and thoughtful grandmother.
She radiated love and inspiration to her grandchildren.
I am nothing without her.
I owe her what I am today.
She was my strength.
She taught me the meaning of genuine love that only a responsible parent can give -- a parent who is prepared to sacrifice everything for her family
Now she is gone.
Only the memories remain.
But the link between us is never cut.
Death does not end love.
Death has no power over love.
My mother is Paulita Juanir Laserna.
To her I dedicate this essay.
I know God is with her now.
As I write this essay, I order my pen not to cry.
It disobeys me.
Manuel J. Laserna Jr.
Las Pinas City
May 29, 2016