My dearest Grace,
So sorry that I’m not within the ‘one meter’ allowed by the social distancing rule to be with you. I’m truly devastated.
‘Tis the first time that I am unable to comfort you physically during a crisis.
Trust that I’m with you mentally, emotionally, psychologically, even financially.
Thanks to FB’s Zuckerberg, FaceTime’s Garcia and Viber’s Marco, help is just one click away. Mankind is so blessed.
We have weathered more ‘one-foot-in-the-grave’ catastrophes than this virus. Top of our list are the big C, torturous chemo sessions, sepsis, surgeries and toxic people who just didn’t care about us.
To this day, we continue to overcome endless chemo complications (TMJ, fevers, heartburn, gout, illnesses, to name a few) which seem bent on accompanying you for life.
Name it, we have fought it.
This isn’t so surprising. After all, we are mother-and-daughter amazons. Our motto: Watch out world, we rule. We rock.
We have laughed away life’s cruelties with hilarious misadventures, sinful food trips — even insane shopping sprees which we ended up regretting later.
Thus, this lockdown is nothing new to us.
For years, we were ‘locked down’ — weeks at a time — at the Philippine General Hospital until you got well. Amazingly, the wacky quarantine memories outnumber the tragic ones.
These include your PGH confinements which we turned into fun ‘staycations’, the hospital rooms which we converted into playgrounds, the nurses we played harmless tricks on, ‘Dr. Vampire’ and other goofy code names, the forbidden meal takeouts, the guard-with-our-lives topical anesthetic which numbed your pain from the endless needles, among mischievous others.
Then there was our ‘child-with-cancer-coming-through’ card.
During medical procedures, elder patients never failed to part like the Red Sea and allow us to be at the very front of the line every time they saw me pushing you in a rickety wheelchair.
It wasn’t a scheme. Yet we couldn’t help but exchange high fives and grin at how our ‘pity duo’ always pulled it off.
You have now matured into a beautiful, confident woman, a successful businesswoman, a loving wife. Heartfelt credit and thanks to the unconditional affection and support of your ‘brader’ RJ, dad Franky, angels on earth led by Dr. Amy Dy, Sir Gus, my family and the Lardizabals.
Yet I will never get tired of answering your childhood query many years ago: “Mommy, how did you and daddy choose my name?”
Again, MARIE GRACE, your name comes from the miraculous prayer which starts with “Hail MARY, full of GRACE...”
On your birthday, I wish that the Blessed Virgin Mary’s miracle continues to protect you and your life’s plus one — Neil. May the Mother of all mothers remain to cloak you from all harm and peril with her supreme maternal love.
I also wish you more divine years of happiness and fitness.
May this crisis be just like all the rest we have crushed and conquered.
Be rest assured that you will forever be loved, cherished and cared for no matter where your dad, brother and I are.
Happy birthday my daughter, my person, my life’s cohort.
We love you, Marie Grace Lardizabal-Tayo.
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