Undas: A Celebration of Lives

I wanted to post something about commemorating our loved ones who are already gone in this world, in view of All Saints/Souls Day on November 1st. I have not thought what to write until I caught yesterday’s episode of Wish Ko Lang, and was touched by the feature on Carlo Cruz, a widower at an early age after his wife died from the Glorietta blast recently.

His story was not at all different from stories of people who lost their loved ones from tragic accidents. But what made it different (at least, for me) was when he posted an email sent to his egroup appealing for everyone to cherish their loved ones while they are still here. I wished then that somebody would send me a copy of the post.

Minutes later, I was found checking my yahoo account, and alas! a friend of mine sent me a copy of the letter the previous day. Let me share to you Carlo Cruz’ letter story…

Good day everyone,

I wish I were writing under different circumstances.

I would like to inform you that my wife Leslie Cruz was part of the casualties in the Glorietta 2 Mall bombing in Makati City, Philippines. She was supposed to have a minor out patient surgery at Makati Medical Center at 230pm.

I had taken a leave from work to accompany her there. We dropped off our daughter, Amber, at my parents place in QC to babysit at around 10am. We then proceeded to Makati and was there at 1230pm. Since she had been fasting in preparation for her procedure, she wanted to move around and listen to some music while I grabbed a bite to eat. We parked at the basement of Park Square 2, and headed for the Glorietta 2 entrance. We parted at the top of the escalator, she turned right towards Filbar’s while I went left towards the restaurants. That was the last time I would see her.

Around 120pm, she had called me so that we can meet at the Glorietta 2 exit just in itme to make her appointment. As I made my way there from Glorietta 1 through the connecting hallways, and was about to turn the corner, I heard 2 deep thumps and the shock-wave from the blast hit me. At that moment my heart dropped as I knew that the origin of the blast came from the same place where we were supposed to meet. I tried getting to where my wife was, but the dust was too much and it was as if I was staring at a white wall.

I still tried to convince myself that she was able to make it out, and that after ringing her mobile without a response only meant that she dropped it in the confusion. After 6 hours of searching from Makati Med to Ospital ng Makati, the blast site, and back again toi MMC – with the help of all the people I could get hold of, that I was able to get confirmation in what the state of my wife was.

My Dad and Uncle signaled me in from the ER of MMC. My uncle (who’s a doctor) asked me to describe Leslie’s appearance to another group of doctors. I saw in the eyes of one that the description made sense. Instead of confirming it to me, they huddled together, then brought me to a small examination room. It was only through a digital camera that I was able to confirm (and deny) that she was indeed gone.

I have so many regrets. I should have met her sooner. I should have ran instead of a brisk walk. I should have not chose to park where I did. I should have braved the dust and went in the blast site. I should have…

Today’s the 4th day. It is terribly difficult to breathe, let alone wake up realizing that your source of strength, your bestfriend doesn’t lie beside you on your bed. That my deepest worry is when Amber starts asking for her Mama.

I am glad that Amber’s too young to understand the loss and pain. In time I would lilke to tell her the details of how her mother died, but more importantly, I would like to raise her as how her mother lived – a loving person, strong-willed, decisive, caring, and nurturing. She has always cared for her family and friends, and sacrificed her career for being a full-time mom and home maker.

As with all couples we had our ups and downs – none of which I regret not going through. The sweet is never as sweet without the sour. For almost 4 years of marriage, we’ve finally hit our balance in life only to be taken away in an instant. I have no regrets about our marriage. She has loved me and Amber beyond her capacity. I will always love her.

It is my first time to write to egroup as I’ve lurked and watched emails being sent to and fro. All I want now is that for each of the couples here is to cherish each moment that we spend with our loved ones. Pretty simple to say, very easy to take for granted.

Thank you for all the prayers. I would still like to ask you to please include Leslie in them until her 40th day so tha the path to God’s kingdom is well lit and she is no longer in the dark.


Carlo Cruz

On November 1, most of us will go to the cemeteries to visit our loved ones who have left us. Candles, flowers, and most importantly, prayers will be offered. Some will even bring food (especially our Chinese friends).

While we are there, let us reminisce the times when our loved one was still alive, when he or she was still around. Let us celebrate the life that was. And most of all, honor the contributions his life made to yours. Lastly, we should remember that as we commemorate those who have departed, we should appreciate the presence of those who are still with us, while they are still here. Like Carlo Cruz, we do not want to say “I should have done this or that” after our loved ones have left. Let us do today what we can do today to show how much we appreciate the people around us – our parents, our spouse, our children, our brothers and sisters, the people in our community, our friends – people who, in one way or another, contributed to making our own lives happy and comfortable, people who are continuously touching our lives. Let us give our honor and thanks before it is too late.

Allow me to thank Carlo Cruz. You made your wife’s untimely death an inspiration to many. It seems as if she did not die at all.


8 Responses to “Undas: A Celebration of Lives”

  1. October 28, 2007 at 12:37 am

    i wanted to add some pics for this post, but unfortunately, i have reached the maximum 50 pics per month for a free blog account. I will just add the pix next month when I will be allowed to post pics again. thanks for reading!


  2. November 3, 2007 at 6:31 am

    friendster has allowed me to post pics in my blog again… thanks…


  3. November 5, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    saw carlo in the news last nov 1… he was interviewed… mejo naawa ako sa kanya… esp nung maalala ko yung post mo… hehe…


  4. June 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Teary eye naman ako sa sotry na ito..ngayon ko lang to nabasa..
    till now parang hindi pa natapos ang case ng bombong na yun..o hindi ko lang napansin na..
    seldom watch news na kasi..


  5. June 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    We have a schoolmate who died in that blast. Even if we never got to talk much, I felt really bad. When things like that happen, it’s like you always want to take back the time and warn them. As for Carlo, I could not have accepted what happened to him. It was all too tragic because you were together then all of a sudden the person you love is gone, just moments before you are together again. It’s really hard to cope with that.


  6. June 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I remember this message when I read this post of yours: “God allows us to borrow the people that he places in our lives for a short time and the time that we are given we should cherish because those moments are unforgettable and can never be taken away even through death.”


  7. 7 kat
    June 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    ay kakasama naman ng look ang story na yan…


  8. January 20, 2013 at 8:42 am

    So sad… Healing love to him and family…


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No one person can ever experience all that life has to offer. It is only through sharing - experiences, feelings, insights - that we can hope to grow beyond our own meager lifetime.

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