Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Mom's Death- The one thing I never thought I could survive

It's been a hard year, the hardest year and ten months of my life, but God has given me so much peace and comfort. This has been a hard year for many of us. Loss of jobs, loss of homes, loss of loved ones, and the list goes on. Five months ago, I lost the rock in my life, my dad lost his wife of 34 years, my sister lost her mom, and my children lost their nanay. It's amazing how it still doesn't seem real. It still feels as if she is still here.

The greatest gifts my mom gave me was her joy, zeal for life, love for me, and her braveness. My mom loved hard, forgave so much, and truly lived her life. When she was diagnosed with cancer she told me, I may have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me. She loved God. She placed her trust in Him. And until the day she died she loved with her entire life. Everything she did was for others. Especially for my dad, me, my sister, and my children.

Because of the closeness that my mom and I shared, my mom's death was the one thing I never thought I could survive. But time and time again God has comforted me, given me peace and joy even though I thought it was impossible.

In Psalm 136 it says 26 times that God's love endures forever. No matter what hardship, disappointment, sadness, or trial we face, the one thing we have certainty in is that His love endures forever. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.

None of us knows what tomorrow brings. We are not guaranteed anything in life, except that if we know the Lord, he will fill all of those places that are hurting and afraid. We also know that this world is not the end. That when we die, if we have a relationship with him, we will be with him in heaven and my mom and I will be together again. I cannot wait for that.

As we anticipate the end of this year, and the newness of 2012, I am thankful for God's love for me. No matter what we go through--good or bad, His love never fails. His love endures forever.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Best Christmas My Mom Has Ever Had

I found a journal entry I wrote exactly a year ago today. Coincidentally, the picture of me and the kids with my mom, on the blog header, was our taken during ourlast Christmas together last year. What I wrote below makes me realize how much more every single day is a gift. We do not know what the future holds for any of us. God didn’t answer my prayer as I begged him to. But as my mother-in-law told me the other day, a week after she lost her sister to a year long battle with cancer, “They are in a better place than us, walking on the streets of gold.”

If you are still blessed to have your mom (or dad) with you here on earth, please celebrate with her this Christmas the blessing she is to you and all she has done for you. And, I will continue to thank God for giving me an amazing momma, for me to love and cherish for 33 years here on earth.

December 22, 2010 1230am
Hilton, San Diego, CA

I don't want to forget this day for a really long time. We are on vacation in San Diego with mom, dad, Boogs, and the kids. It is an awful time to be in San Diego. The weather is rainy and no sunshine in sight. This is not typical of San Diego. Usually it is beautiful. It hurts to be here. I still want to live here, but with my mom near me too. Jesus please bring us back to San Diego one day.

We just found out that mom's cancer may have spread. I want to enjoy every day that I can with her. I don't want to forget her smile, her laugh, the way she keeps me from sleeping because her snoring is like a lawnmower right in my ear. You would never know that she is worried or sad. She is too busy being my mom, being Nanay to my kids. She is making sure that we are ok, that we are not worried about her or sad. But the truth is that all I think about is her getting better, how much I already miss her, how much I am mourning that my children will never know her like I did. They may not even remember her and all we'll have are memories of her. And all I’ll want, is my mom.

Jesus please heal her. Please provide a miracle for us. Please help her not to suffer and to really live the last of her days here on earth. Please fill her life with joy and peace. Please help me to love her and enjoy every minute with her. Jesus please give us amazing memories. Please help me to soak in every piece of her. Please fill our days with times that we will never ever forget. Jesus please provide a miracle for us.


Till we meet again, momma. I can’t wait to rejoice with you on the streets of gold. I know you’re having the best Christmas you’ve ever had.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jericho's Prayer

Most of the time I talk about how God knew I needed to have Karis. My baby girl, the one who I can have, especially during the times I miss my mom the very most. But tonight I am reminded why God knew that I had to have Jericho. For the last month or so, Jericho has been saying the prayer before we have dinner. His usual prayer is thanking God for his trains and cars and all the people close to his heart. But tonight it was different. His prayer went like this, "Jesus, we thank you for mommy and daddy. Jesus, I thank you for mommy and I want to hug her. Amen."

This boy says the CUTEST things and I try very hard not to correct him THAT much. Sometimes I try to remind him that we should thank Jesus for our food too, but that night James and I just looked at each other and smiled. Later that night, James was teasing me because he said that Jericho just melted my heart by what he said in his prayer, especially because he is a momma's boy. I got to thinking, and it made me realize how much Jericho loved me. In his pure and innocent love, he reminded me so much of how I loved my mom. From the second I can remember, I loved my mom. Everyone would always tell me how much I never wanted to be away from her. I remember when my mom had to have surgery when I was five years old, and you might as well have taken her from me forever. That week of being away from her was like ripping my heart out. I still remember sobbing and sobbing when I couldn't see her. I stayed with my grandparents that week and my grandma gave me an EKG sticker that was on my mom, that I placed on a piece of paper so I could hug it, and that was the only way I could fall asleep. It's so funny how that memory, from 28 years ago, still resonates deep in my heart of the longing I had for my mom.

My mom was my biggest cheerleader, advocate, closest friend. She made me feel like I was priceless. Irreplaceable. Loved. When she died she took a piece of me with her. Through my relationship with her, I learned what it meant to be loved unconditionally, how to be nurtured. How to be protected. I never understood the depth of her love for me. Now that I am a mom, I can understand the fierceness in how a mother loves her children.

A few months ago, one of my best friends and I started a bible study, by Beth Moore, called Breaking Free. This study has completely changed my life. God knew that I needed to be in his word and soaking in his truth, especially during this season of life.

One of the truths that was revealed to me in this study shook me to my core. Here is the passage as she quotes from an amazing man, Oswald Chambers.

Our soul's history with God is frequently the history of the "passing of the hero." Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and flail and get discouraged. Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died--I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? Or-- I saw the Lord?

It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever. "In all the world there is none but thee, my God, there is none but thee."

My mom was and always will be my hero. What got me was when Oswald Chambers says, "In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died--I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? Or-- I saw the Lord?" and truly, I want to say that when my mom died, the one who stood to me for ALL that God was, I saw the Lord. It is hard. It is painful. Sometimes I just want lie in bed and sleep, and just be sad, but because of my babies, I get up every morning, make sure they are fed, and loved, and nurtured, and KNOW without a doubt that they are one of the greatest gifts and blessings God has ever given me, just as my mom showed me.

Another thing that I have been thinking about is how I don't ever want to be the one who stood for God to my children. My mom never intended that to be, but my mom what God in the flesh for me. My love and dependence on her was so strong because of her ever perfect way of loving me, the best that she could. My mom and I had gone through hell and back together, not in our relationship with each other, but in the things that we went through, together.

Though I pray that my babies love me, and know that I love them so deeply, I LONG for them to have their reliance on Jesus. I long for them to place their hopes and dreams on Him, because He is the only one who can fulfill all of the dark, lonely, and hard places of our souls. He is the only one who will never let us down, and He is the only one who will love us despite all our ugliness.

Especially since I know my Jericho loves me in such an endearing way, I have made it a point to try to let him know that God loves him so much more than I ever could. There was one day that he was crying for about twenty minutes, because in his two year old world, the worst thing that could ever happen to him every day is that he has to take a nap. The most loving thing that I could think of to say to him was that I loved him so much. But it hit me, my words and actions need to start now. He needs to know that no matter how much I love him, the only one who could ever love him more than me is Jesus. So now I say to him, "Jericho mommy loves you the most in the world, but do you know who loves you more?" and his ever so emphatic response is, "Jesus!" I hope one day he realizes the truth of those words. That me, as his mommy will love him the most that is humanly possible. But the truth is that no matter what, the only one who can love him perfectly, flawlessly, and without fail, is Jesus.

Oh, how I am so grateful to God for my mom. How she loved me the most that was humanly possible for her, and how she made sure, in the most possible way she could, that I loved God too. And though difficult for me to accept at times, only He can fill the void of her in my life. But how beautiful, how my mom's legacy of love and faith in God, has been the greatest inheritance that she has passed down to me, and now to the best of my capacity, will passed down as an inheritance to my children as well.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time Heals All Wounds

They say time heals all wounds. And I really hope this is true. It's been four months exactly since my mom has been gone and I can't say it's any easier. If anything it seems as it gets harder and harder. It gets longer and longer since the last time I saw her, gave her a hug, told her I love her, saw the joy in her eyes and the happiness in my babies eyes when they were with her. I think that's what I mourn the most. I will mourn my children never knowing what an amazing grandma she was and how much she loved them. She always wanted to be a grandma. In fact, almost every second since we got married all she wanted was to have grandchildren. And for the 4 1/2 years before Jericho was born, believe me, she didn't hesitate to let me know how much I needed to have kids:)

Tonight we came back from our third trip to Hawaii together. The first time was right before we knew that we were going to be moving to San Diego for James to go to grad school. We went to Hawaii so we could check out Hawaii Pacific University. That was the first school to accept him. It was also his birthday so it was an even better excuse to go to Hawaii. The second time was a little bit over a year after he graduated from his MBA and Masters in Nursing programs and Jericho was 10 months old. No one else knew, but we were on our babymoon. I was a month pregnant with Karis and we were planning on telling our parents when we returned from Hawaii.

The really funny thing is that I would always joke with my parents and James' parents about getting pregnant right away after Jericho was born. I guess the joke was on me when I got pregnant when Jericho was nine months old. We decided to tell our parents the night we flew in from Hawaii. We stopped by James' parents house first. They were shocked. They always warned us to wait between kids because of how hard it is to have babies so close together. Of course they were happy but we could tell they were thinking..."what are you guys thinking??" They are always so supportive of us and they told us they were happy, but we could see the fear in their eyes too:)

Next, we went to my parents house. It was just past midnight and their only grandchild was coming to see them so of course they were awake. We had Jericho tell them he was going to be a big brother while wearing his Halloween costume....a kangaroo with it's baby in it's pouch. We told them that he was carrying his baby just like mommy was. My mom's reaction was so classic, my mom. "Are you serious??" was all she could say. Then the obvious question, "are you pregnant?? Are you kidding??" We would laugh about it afterwards, but even our planning, or lack of planning, wasn't going to stop God's plans.

Karis was the girl I always wanted. I was thrilled when I found out she was a girl. Since I had such a close bond to my mom, I always envisioned having s daughter in hopes that we would share a closeness like I did with my mom.

God knew that I needed Karis. His timing was perfect for when I got pregnant. Mom was able to meet her. My mom called Karis her replacement, and my mom got to spend the first year of Karis' life with her. Mom was there a few hours after Karis was born. In between her chemos she would come and visit us in San Diego or we would come up and visit her. We got to move back to Pasadena for seven months before mom had to go and we spent EVERY possible second we could together. We went on trips to Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Las Vegas during those seven months. And mom was there celebrating with us the day that Karis was dedicated to the Lord. All the while, that entire year of Karis' first year of life, my mom had cancer. She went through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and then chemotherapy for almost ten more months after all of what she already endured. And then went to be home with the Lord almost a month exactly after Karis' fist birthday.

I've heard the quote, "Everybody dies. Not everybody lives." And I am reminded of my mom when I think about this quote. Though my mom had cancer, you would have NEVER known. She was so positive. She was so hopeful. She watched my kids the night before she went to the hospital so James and I could have a date night. She didn't allow cancer to take away her life.

No wonder I was missing my mom so much more tonight. The last time we came back from Hawaii, we went to share with my mom the amazing news. It's really ironic how our memories have such ways of reminding us about things that sometimes we want to forget. On the flight home, during one of the movies I watched someone said, "All I remember are the good memories, and those are the worse kinds."

I still can't believe she's gone. I miss her every second of the day. They say time heals all wounds. It’s going to take a lot of time to heal this wound, but God is so incredibly faithful. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” - Psalm 147:3

Thank you, Jesus for your promises. I will trust you no matter what.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Drug of Choice

This morning was a complete blur. You would have thought that I was drugged with the illegal type. Last night I started getting the sniffles. The kind that doesn't let you breathe properly when lying down. I decided that I wasn't going to go to sleep at my normal sleeping hour, around 1 or 2am. For one night this week, or should I say one night since February 22, 2010, I was going to take medicine to help me sleep, and not replay in my mind over and over what could be different, if my mom was still here, and what could've been done so that she didn't have to have cancer. I know I sound crazy, but for the last 19 months, I've had a hard time going to sleep because of my thoughts that don't turn off.

All this to say, all heck broke loose, my kids were screaming their heads off and going crazy for an hour before I had any recollection of the fact that I am mom. When mommy is sick, the world continues. Moms have no time to be sick. Thank God, my cousin was here and watched dinosaur train and gave Jericho milk so that I could stay in my unconscious splendor for another hour. I finally woke up at 8:30 because the screaming alarm clock wouldn't stop. I got out of bed, still lost in the cloudiness of Tylenol PM and carried my sweet Karis and placed her in my lap. My cousin walked into Karis’ room and explained the past hour to me. I'm sure I looked crazy...out of it. He asked me what drugs I took...I responded slowly, "T-y-l-e-n-o-l P-M." I was out of it. Really out of it. I couldn't even imagine myself on the illegal drugs. SCARY. And I thank God for keeping me away from them in high school. Many, many years ago I had some friends that had the goal of getting me get into it with them. I know that with my type of personality, if I would have given in, it really would have destroyed my life.

Yesterday was the first day of MOPS. I can't say enough about MOPS, and what an amazing blessing it has been to me this past year. The speaker talked about faithfulness and asked us to think about what was hindering us from being faithful.

A culmination of different conversations, a recent argument with the hubby, exhaustion, and sleepless nights came together and confirmed: BUSYNESS.

I have always been a busy person. For those of you who know strengthfinders my number one strength is arranger. In layman’s terms it means multi-tasker and living passionately and striving when being able to live this way.

I don't know why this surprised me. Or why it took me ALL these years to accept. In high school I was involved in everything possible ASB, cheerleading, choir, clubs I was president of, because God forbid I couldn't just be a part of something. Committees, fundraisers, oh dear God it makes me tired just typing this. In college I was a Nursing Major. Nursing majors had the reputation of being the people you went to school with for four years and no one knew because they were always so busy studying. But to no surprise I was in choir, a resident advisor, and I prided myself when people were surprised that I was a nursing major.

This "strength" has always driven my husband crazy. The detriment of this strength for me is that when things get hard, I delve even more into busyness. Busyness is my drug of choice. The thing that numbs the pain and helps me to forget what I don't want to remember, until the night comes, everyone is asleep, and the only person I am left with is myself. Which is why, even though my children sleep so amazingly, 10-12 hours to be exact, since Karis has been a baby, I still have sleepless nights.

The day my mom died I told James, "It's time for me to go back to work." Right away I contacted my previous company and told them that I was ready. I was ready to take on new projects. I started emailing around inquiring about jobs that I heard about. Retrospectively, I was looking for something to fill the void and numb away the pain of losing my mom.

A few weeks ago the routine of September began. Mommy and me preschool Monday and Tuesday, MOPS (and being a part of leadership) on Wednesday, Positive Parenting Class on Thursday, Bible study with two of my best friends at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. We are scheduled every single day, not to mention taking care of my children, feeding them a decent meal, getting a couple of showers in sometime during the week, the normal taking care of my family and my own life, having a decent relationship with my husband, and taking care of my mom’s affairs. I was beginning to feel a little run down. Did I mention that I'm a part of the women’s ministry at church, and working on starting a new ministry? No wonder I'm exhausted.

Yesterday I started to accept the fact that my busyness, my lifelong coping mechanism, was starting to wear on me and my kids AND my husband.

This morning we stayed home. I didn't rush out the door to our scheduled activity. The kids and I stayed in our PJs until after 1pm. I was able to have a phone conversation with a dear friend who has been encouraging me in my marriage and with my blogging. I got to tell her how thankful I am that we were able to become friends because she sought me out because I "wear make-up."

I had a great conversation with my aunt who I needed to talk to about my mom. We talked about how it still doesn't seem real even though it has already been two months and we were there with her when she took her last breath. We talked about how much we miss her and how I wish things were different.

At 10:30am, my sister, who is a teacher, called me. She was on her way home from school. She lost her voice. I convinced her to come sleep at my house, so that we could be together.

If I continued to succumb to my drug of choice, even though my kids are sick and exhausted, I would've missed out on two very needed conversations this morning. My sister wouldn't have come over to sleep at my house, and I would continue to be crazy and busy and numb to the pain of not having my mom's presence in my life.

One day of being home with my thoughts, my messy house (because we are actually home to ransack it), and the ability to rest, has helped my soul to continue to mend and be present in my children's lives, and to those around me.

So starting today I will be more purposeful, in what I choose to do and choose not to do, and know that it will take time. It will take lots of time to heal from missing my mom so much, but it is ok. I will try to not fill the sadness with busyness anymore. I know it will take time to overcome this addiction of busyness. But through God’s help, and the grace of those around me, I will get through this.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to Live with Cancer

If I’m being completely honest, I want to rip down every Colon Canswer, Prostate Canswer, and Breast Canswer billboard I see when I’m driving down the freeway. The truth is that the particular hospital that displays these billboards does not have all of the answers about cancer. I cringe every time I see them because they give such false hope to people battling this horrid disease. Two and a half weeks before my mom died, she had an appointment for a second opinion with this hospital. The doctor she met with told her that she could try the last chemo that she was on and all he could recommend was hospice.

I was there with my mom during that appointment, and her response was, “We just have to pray that this one works.” I was speechless. I felt like I got kicked in the throat. I could not get any words out of my mouth.

You see, through the 17 months that my mom knew she had cancer; she lived with so much grace and courage. To this day I do not understand how she never broke down or got angry. Maybe she did in the quiet of her own soul, but never outwardly did I see her anger.

Since the minute she was diagnosed her response was always the same. “I’m not scared. I know where I am going. He can take me any time.”

I hated when she said that because I WAS NOT READY. Didn’t she want to see my kids grow up? Didn’t she want to be with us for as long as she could? We were just starting a brand new phase in life. We just moved back from San Diego so that the kids and I could spend time doing all of the things that daughters and grandchildren do with their mom and grandmother.

The thing about my mom is that she had an eternal perspective. God was close to her, she never stopped praying. And even though I prayed and BEGGED for God to heal her, He decided to heal her in a different way.

My mom’s faith was secure. She did not have any regrets in life. She was steadfast in her hope in the Lord. She had peace. She loved God. And she was ready to be with Him when He was ready for her.

Unfortunately, He was ready before I could ever be.

God forbid I ever have this horrible disease. But if I do, I have an amazing example of someone who lived with grace, love, and hope during the hardest time of her life.

Thank you, mom for loving God and trusting Him with your life. I have a lot to live up to.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Potty training and missing my mom

It's hard for me to believe that last week marked a month since my mom has been gone. People who have lost a parent too have told me that it will always seem like they just lost their mom or dad. Sometimes I just long to hear her voice again and have a conversation with her about nothing in particular. Sometimes I just want to call her cell phone and leave a message for her just to feel like she's still here.

But reality is hard.

It was especially hard last week when my babies hit two big milestones. And I just wanted to call her like I normally would and tell her the updates. She would always be so happy and excited for them. Just last week Jericho technically started to potty train himself. I've heard of kids doing that before, but I never believed it. He is 2 1/2 and I know a lot of boys that are potty trained already. My mom would always tell me, "Potty train him, it's easy." My response was always, "No, we have too much going on, it's too hard."

I would do all the things that people tell you to do to get them ready for peeing in the big boy toilet. Jericho watches his daddy go pee pee, he watches the potty training Elmo video, he has a toddler toilet that he sits on while he's watching the Elmo pee pee DVD, and I would always ask him, "Jericho, wanna pee pee in the big boy toilet?"

Until last Tuesday the answer was always, "No, mommy." I would never push him. I just figured when he was ready he would let me know. Really, I've just been so overwhelmed with everything, our move back to LA; James having a new job, having Karis, and mom being sick, that potty training was the last thing I wanted to worry about. But last Tuesday morning was a little different that usual mornings. Jericho usually comes running into my room and yells at the top of his lungs, "Mommy, wake up! Mommy, get out of bed!" And this morning he said, "Mommy, Jericho go pee pee in the big toilet." I jumped up and we ran to the toilet. Jericho officially pee peed in the big toilet. I know this is so silly to be so excited about, but you don't know my mom. She would be doing cartwheels with me if she could. I wanted to be able to tell her this huge event in our lives, and I couldn't.

Last week, Karis started standing on her own. As a mommy these milestones are huge. And I just wanted MY mommy to be able to celebrate with me and be excited with me too. I know at this point there are going to be many milestones that I will miss my mom being a part of. I will miss her for the huge ones, kindergarten graduation, Karis' first boyfriend, Jericho's first heartache, and the little one's like Jericho LOVING going to McDonalds with papa. But times like this, when I miss her so much, so much that sometimes it feels like it's hard to breathe, I need to remember the encouragement my sister received from her friend, Marc. Marc lost his dad unexpectedly, two months before we lost our mom.


Hey Jenny,
No one deserves to lose someone close to them. It's definitely the hardest thing I've had to go through. It's important to remember every positive thing about the present and that everything truly happens for a reason. We could have lost them while we were growing up and may have never known them at all. There are so many other worse situations - always.

There's really nothing anyone can say to take the pain away. And it's not about getting "better." It's more like being able to live without her and coping. You've always been a bright, loving person and I'm sure she gave you nothing but love.

And keep living your life and pursuing your dreams. That's what she would want. :)

When my sis shared his message with me, two things stood out, "There are so many other worse situations - always" and " keep living your life and pursuing your dreams. That's what she would want."

My mom would be upset at us for being so sad right now, especially because of missing her. She would want us to keep living life and pursuing our dreams. My mom was the most loving person I knew and she gave me, my sister, and my babies nothing but love.

I just wish she were here with me and sharing in all of it too.

This made me think, how do I want my kids to remember me and how I celebrated with them. What ways did or does your mom celebrate huge and little milestones with you, and how do you want to do this for your babies? Please comment and share your ideas!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Is this awkward?!?

I was very hesitant to write my last blog post about asking the question, "How are you?" I didn't want it to come across that I was bitter or angry. Some people said that my blog was helpful because they really don't know what to say during times like this. Because of the post, I was able to have a couple of really deep and meaningful conversations. I didn't want people to think that I couldn't be asked how I was doing. Actually, it feels really good to talk about how I'm feeling, especially to people who are asking because they truly want to know and have the time to hear me out.

I've thought about the question a lot and have come to the conclusion that everyone has something they are sensitive to. Two people I love dearly told me that it was hard to hear, "At least they are in a better place," when they lost their loved one. For someone else it will be something else. We are all different, and we all deal with grief in different ways.

After I wrote the blog post and spoke to a couple of people that I trust, I realized that what I had a hard time with was when the question, "How are you?" was used as a filler, just something to say, to fill the spaces of awkwardness, without giving any time to really say how I was feeling. My cousin told me, "Kris, do you really think people ask the question and not care?" and then I realized too that it really depended on the person, our closeness, and how I was feeling at that moment. I know this is not very helpful, but this part is the truth. My cousin also told me that she never felt like I was closed with her, and I never have been, but we are really close, and I know that she loves me and supports me. She has gone through this sadness too with her best friend.

So, I mentioned that I had two really good conversations come out of that blog post. Even though I felt a little uneasy to write that last blog post, these two conversations made it worth it for me. Last week we found out that one of our aunts was diagnosed with cancer. Below is a conversation via text with my same cousin, Julie, mentioned above.

Julie: "I haven't spoken with my cousins yet. I'm kinda afraid too because I don't want to lose it over the phone."

Me: "Call your cousins. It will mean a lot to them to know you care. It's ok if you lose it. You love her and that means that world when your mom has cancer. Believe me."

Julie: "You have me so self conscious now about saying how are Just talking to my cousins and I was trying so hard to not say how are you so I changed it up and you"

After I told my cousin I wanted to include our conversation in this blog post, she wasn't sure If she should remain anonymous and my response:

Me: "No, I think it's human, you don't want to make them feel sadder, but from my perspective being on the other side, it is so comforting to know how much my mom is loved and how I'm not the only one hurting. I've heard from many people that they try to be strong for me and try to give me my space, but the ones who have touched me the most have been the ones who have cried with me and have come to me with their sadness too."

Believe me, I know it's awkward. What do you say in horrible situations like this? How do you approach someone dealing with the hardest loss they've ever experienced? To me, it is better to say something to show you care, instead of not saying anything at all. If you are going to ask, "how are you?" make sure it is not asked in passing just because something needs to be said. The day my mom died, one of my other cousins (he is more like a brother to me), came up to me in tears, all choked up, and said to me, "I'm so sorry." And that was all I needed to hear to know that he loved her and loves me too.

Right after I posted the last blog post, I got a message from a dear friend of mine:


I've been wanting to call you for so long. You have been on my heart for such a long time and the Lord just keeps bringing up your name with everything that I have been hearing and going through.

Not sure if you saw but John's aunt is dying from cancer this week. We're going to say goodbye tonight and I just can't seem to keep it together. I've been crying on and off all day. Then I feel bad because it's not even my aunt who's passing and I have no right to feel as upset as I do. In essence it's a joyous thing as she's been battling this for 3 years and will soon be home with her Lord. Yet I think the thought that she's leaving behind her kids and a husband makes me so sad. I mean she was the glue for that family and I'm not sure how they will do without her.

But I think the thing I'M struggling with the most is what to say when we visit tonight. John is also at somewhat of a loss as to how to handle it. I feel awful and so selfish even talking to you about all this as I know you have your own grief to deal with but you're the only person I know who understands what we're all going through. I just wanted to let you know how timely your blog post today was and how much I appreciated it. It helped a lot.


My response:

I'm so sorry to hear about John's aunt. I did not know about it. Thank you for messaging me. My mom was the glue of our family too.

Do not feel bad about me, I've been meaning to tell you how much your Facebook post on my wall meant to me. Truly. Your words were so encouraging.

Tonight, give your uncle and cousins hugs. Just say you're sorry. Tell them all the wonderful memories of their mom and how you've learned from her how much she loves them. And yes, you have every right to be upset. She made a difference in your life and you love her. You feel sad for your cousins and your uncle. You're sad that your aunt has been fighting for so damn long and it sucks and it is not fair. Know that God is with her right now. Angels are singing to her and are waiting for her to join them in heaven.

Feel free to share my info with your cousins, my blog too. I am here for you and for them.

I am praying for all of you, and for your aunt. I pray that she is at peace and ready to meet her Savior.

I love you girl. Let me know what you need.

A recurring theme right now for me is that, God truly works EVERYTHING out for His good. I hate that my mom is not physically here with me anymore, but He uses everything we go through to bring Him glory. When we go through trials and hardships, they would only be a waste if we didn't learn from them and use what we've learned to help others. No matter what your trial is right now, you can always use it to bless others. God works everything out for His good. Always.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How are you?

Some people have told me they don’t know what to say during hard times like this. Because of this, I thought it would be good to write a little something about it. For me, it is better for someone to say something, than not to say anything at all. Something simple like, "I'm sorry about your mom" will not offend me, make me remember my loss, or make me feel sad. I wake up every day thinking about her and still everything around me reminds me of her. I miss my mom every second of the day. Nothing anyone can do or say can make me miss her more.

I know this sounds trite, but when I want to talk and share my feelings I will. Then you will wish you didn't ask because I have a lot to say:)

A hard question for me to answer is, "How are you?" How I really feel is that I wish this was just a terrible nightmare. I wish my mom was still alive. I wish that cancer didn't exist, and that she was still alive and cancer free. Just like everything else, getting married, having children, losing a parent, you just don't know what that really means until it happens to you.

One of my cousins asked me one day, “How are you?” We are really close; in fact we have had a secret name for each other since we were kids (ok, a really long time ago) We call each other our BCFs, Best Cousins Forever. I’m really not a closed person, but never have I experienced a loss or a hurt so deep, that I can barely talk about it. Losing my mom is one of those things. Because my cousin and I are so close I couldn’t give her the easy, “I’m doing good!” response. She would see right through that. But the truth is that it is really hard to verbalize how I’m really feeling, so I write. I told her if you want to really know how I’m feeling, read my blog. We got off the phone, and thirty minutes later she called me in tears.

I say all this because I never want anyone starting this journey or going through this journey to ever feel like they are alone, that no one understands, and that God doesn’t care. When you feel like no one understands, please know that I will support you, pray for you, and fight with you. During this horrible loss I have learned things that I could have never gotten a chance to learn any other way. This journey has made me more compassionate, more thankful for today, more in awe of God’s love through his people who have been loving me so well, and more aware of how great and powerful He is.

If you know someone going through having a loved one go through cancer or have lost someone to cancer, please share this blog with them. If something I have written makes you think about your relationship with your mom, sister, daughter, or someone else, share those too. Please share your thoughts with me and with others. The stories that have been shared with me already have really touched my heart. They really make a difference!

Please do not be afraid to talk to me about my mom. It feels good to talk about her. She is and always will be a huge part of my life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about Learning To Dance In The Rain.”

There were two quotes that my mom wrote down before she died. One I found the week before she went to be with Jesus, and I was able to talk to her about it. That quote was put in the program at her memorial service, and the other one was found a week after she was gone.

Below is an email I wrote one of my best friends right after we found out that the eight months of chemo and radiation, surgery, and chemo again didn't work for mom. I was sad and afraid and I needed to hear words from someone who had traveled this road already.


December 29, 2010
Hi best friend, so good to hear from you. I have been meaning to email you, but can't even get the words on paper. We found out two weeks ago that they suspect that mom didn't respond to the chemo and that it has spread. She has more tests on Monday to determine if indeed the cancer has spread and to what extent. We were devastated to hear the news. God's provision is that we are back here to be able to spend time with her and to be closer to her. At this point I am asking God for a miracle to heal her, and that we, especially mom will have peace. Cancer sucks so bad. I can't even talk about it. I have been so sad. I spend as much time with her as I can, but Jericho just got sick so we need to stay away from her for a while until he gets better. How do I keep enjoying her while I'm so sick thinking about how much longer I will have her? I need to enjoy her instead of worrying all the time and being sad, but it's so hard to find the balance. If you saw her right now, you would NEVER know she is sick. She looks great and is in great spirits, at least around me. Sorry to burden you with all of this. Please give me insight.

I hope you are doing good. Miss you and love you! Please give the kids hugs for me!

December 29, 2010
I am so so sorry to hear this. It breaks my heart that you and your family have to endure this. I hate cancer too, it's horrible. It is so hard to enjoy them when you're constantly worrying about the time you have left. It's hard to have a normal life. It's an emotional roller coaster! I can't believe this is happening. :(

I absolutely know how hard it is to say the words out loud, to talk about it makes it seem so much more real. And at a time when you want it to be a dream, talking about it and making it more real isn't easy to do. Does that even make sense? Sorry....but, what I'm trying to say is that I'm here to talk. I wish I could be closer to be there for you. If you need me I'll talk a few days off and be there! I love you, I love your mom.

This quote may not help at all, but it always reminds me of my mom and it fits your situation when you said, "how do I keep enjoying her while I'm so sick thinking about how much longer I will have her"...Life isn't about waiting for the storm to's about learning to dance in the rain."


Today, I was sad. I was missing my mom, really feeling the pain of what life is going to look like without her. In the movies they make it look like the worst part is when they die. In my case, the worst part is when the realization really hits that it will be a long time until I get to see her beautiful face again. It is especially difficult when life is harder than I could have ever imagined and all I want to hear is that "it is going to be ok, God is taking care of it." The words only a mother can tell her child and make them really believe it. I was feeling her absence so deeply, especially today....and believe it or not, in almost 100 degree weather, in the dead of summer, it started to rain. I can't tell you how many times in this last month when God would remind me in amazing ways that, "it is going to be ok. He is taking care of it." As I was driving, with tears streaming down my face, all I could think about was the quote that my best friend told me about in December, the same quote I found on the piece of scratch paper that my mom wrote...“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about Learning To Dance In The Rain.”

So we pulled into the driveway, I got Jericho out of the car, and we danced. We danced in the rain. Through this horrible storm we can and we WILL dance.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to DANCE..."

Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,4

Thursday, July 28, 2011

With God between us we can overcome anything

My mom ALWAYS emphasized how important it was for Jenny and I to marry a man who loves Jesus. She knew and believed what a difference it would make in my life, and the lives of my children, to have a husband that loved the Lord. The day I got married she told me that she had been praying for James since the day I was born. I have been doing the same for Jericho and Karis, and the man who marries Karis has A LOT to live up to. Thank you mom for your influence in my life and your fervent prayers for James since I was a baby. Your love and legacy lives on in me, and will be passed on to your grandbabies.

In these past three weeks, it has been more and more apparent how much God brought James and I together. In the last year and a half, my love for him has deepened significantly. Ten years ago when we started dating, I never would have imagined everything that we would have endured together, and how life could be so hard. But together, as he says, "with God between us we can overcome anything." I so deeply love my husband and am so thankful for him and his wisdom, courage, and love. James will be mortified when he finds out that I put this up on my blog, but I just had to show how much his encouragement means to me. With God and James, I really believe that we can overcome anything.

Letter found this morning...

My sweetie,
Throughout all our struggles to grasp solid ground in this life, your deep character continues to amaze me. Your vibrant laugh, your sweet spirit, your love for your family and people that surround you continue to amaze me. With you I feel like with God between us we can overcome anything! Despite the hurt and pain, I have seen your life reflect the love of God, which shows me how real He is in this time. I pray for continued growth and love in God for us!

I love you,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tribute to my sweet sweet momma

On July 10, 2011, my sweet, sweet, momma went home to be with the Lord. She was willing to keep fighting her courageous fight, but Jesus wanted her home. Below is my tribute to my mom, the words that I shared at the beautiful celebration of her life last Saturday.

My tribute to my sweet momma

Thank you for celebrating mom’s life. This is exactly how she wanted to it be. She wanted a celebration of her life and wanted to be remembered like she always was, happy with her contagious laugh, vibrant, and full of life, just as she was until her last days.

This by far has been the hardest year and a half of my life. The mourning process for me started when we first found out about her cancer. The loss in my heart is so deep I can't even describe. My mom was my greatest supporter, biggest cheerleader, and everything to me. Our relationship so strong, words cannot even describe.

God’s provision and mercy

Through all of the sadness and the pain, God has been so faithful. His provision and His mercy so undeniable. In Romans 8:28, Paul tells us that, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” God is always working out everything out for us. Three months before we found out about mom’s cancer, I was able to resign from my job to be home and take care of Jericho. Though I knew it was a gift to be able to be with him, I now know that God was also giving me a season to be with mom. Two weeks before we found out about mom’s diagnosis, we found out that I was pregnant with a baby girl. As you all know for James and I to have a baby girl was nearly impossible, but both of our moms’ prayers were so powerful. God knew that I needed to have Karis in my life when she was gone. Mom called Karis her replacement. Karis looks exactly like her. Her smile lights up her face, just like how mom’s smile was. God knew before we did the void that I would have, and through His mercy, He gave me Karis so that I would have her especially during the days when I would miss mom so much. Karis’ middle name is Faith, because of mom’s unending and unwavering faith in God. When I asked mom what got her through this last year and a half, she said that it was her faith and trust in the Lord. Last November we moved back to Pasadena. My plan was to convince mom and dad move to San Diego when mom retired. Us moving back to Pasadena would ruin my plan. Again, God was working everything and providing everything we needed, a job for James, a place to live, and friendships deep and new to support me during the hardest times of my life. And most importantly, God was giving me and the kids precious time to spend with mom to make memories that would last a lifetime.

Mom’s legacy

Mom’s legacy to me was her unending love, faith in God, continual forgiveness, and selflessness. The greatest gift she gave me was her faith in God. She was the first person who shared her love for God with me, with words, but mostly through actions. Through any trial she would always encourage me to pray and ask God. She always believed that He provided all that we needed.

When you think of a mom and how they should be, that was her. She opened up her heart and our home to all of my friends. Our house was always full of people. She brought all of my friends with us to church. They were always welcome to eat dinner at our home and also welcome to live with us when they needed place to live. She told me everyone was always welcome because she wanted everyone to have a family. Many of my friends told me how they wished to have a mom like her.

Mom and I talked on the phone at least five times a day. She cared about all the things that no one else would even care about. She wanted to know about everything I did and what the kids did. The kids adored her. When you ask Jericho where his Nanay is, he says, "In Heaven, with Jesus."

Mom’s strength was so quiet and so selfless. When she was diagnosed the only times she cried was when we were sad. She was always encouraging us and fighting for us. Though the chemo was beating her body up, she told us that she would die fighting. She told me that she had to drag herself to chemo but she wouldn't stop. She was willing to do everything. But God didn't want her to fight anymore. She was so strong for us. She didn't show us her pain because she wanted us to have hope.
Mom had an appointment at City of hope two weeks before she went to be with Jesus. They said that she could try the last chemo, but after that all they could recommend was hospice. When the doctor told her the news she didn't even flinch, didn't even cry, she didn't even hesitate. Her response was, we need to pray that this works. As her daughter and a nurse I knew what was going on. Bad report after another she didn't flinch, she didn't cry. She downplayed everything. The focus was never on her. She always talked about when she got better and what we would do. She kept telling us that she was going to be ok and not to worry about her. But the cancer was so far advanced and aggressive. Even though she knew as a nurse what was going on in her body she wouldn't give up and she wouldn't give up on hope.

My mom was the greatest example of what a mom should be. I pray that my kids would see from me the ways my mom was so amazing, and that her spirit would live on in me and my family.

Last year

My mom lived her life to the fullest even till the end. The week before she went to the hospital she was driving, cleaning, and playing with the kids. The day before she went to the hospital we spent the day together and she watched the kids so that James and I could go on a date. She told me, “I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me.” Mom had an unstoppable drive and love for me, my sister, dad, James, and kids. I begged God to heal mom, but He healed her in a different way. I know that He loves her more than I do, and that’s a lot of love. We cannot ask why God took her home so quickly. Mom said that she was ready to go when God decided to take her. She was such an example of unwavering faith and trust to me.

Thank you

Thank you for all of the outpouring love and support during this season. Thank you to all who prayed fervently for the last year and a half. Thank you for carrying the burden of sadness and asking God for healing when it was too hard for me to pray. Thank you to all of my aunts and uncles who love my mom so deeply and all the ways you showed your love for her. Thank you dad for spending every single day with her for the last year and a half and keeping her going. Thank you, James my rock, Jenny, my strength. I am so grateful for each of you, for who you were to my mom, and for loving her.

I love you mom. Thank you for loving me and all that you did for me. You are the greatest mom and more than I could have ever wanted. I will miss you for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version, ©2011)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

After 2 months of being MIA from the blog, I'm BACK! The only real reason I can give for not posting anything is fear. Ugly...yucky...fear. Every time I went to work on the blog fear would hit me right between my eyes. I was filled with the fear of exposing on the outside EVERYTHING I am feeling on the inside. For me it is so much easier to not talk about what is going on, what the emotional roller coaster looks like for me, and what the grief and fear that grips me is like. It is easier to look like everything is fine, although in my heart I feel alone. I feel like I am alone in my feelings because it is so hard for me to talk about what is happening. I know I'm not alone. I know that I have so many people who love me and are praying for me. I trust that God is working out everything in His way. But the truth is that I am scared. I am scared to lose my mom. I cannot fathom my life without her.

God is good and I haven't stopped praying for a miracle. This year has been filled with so many blessings in spite of the pain. If mom never had cancer I would not appreciate the things I do now. I would not see the fragility of life that I do now. James always reminds me to be thankful for what we have RIGHT NOW. The future is not guaranteed for anyone.

So here I am, sharing my heart, my grief, my fear, my prayers, and on going lessons. In the midst of this journey I have experienced peace and joy that can only be given by the one who has my heart. I've included emails, verses, and my thoughts in the following blog posts. There are about 20ish blog posts that I am putting up, starting from when we first found out on February 22, 2010 until present day. If you know someone who is experiencing the grief of going through cancer with their mom, or with a loved one, please share the blog with them.

My prayer is that no one feels alone in their journey.

Goodbye ugly, yucky, fear!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mama Jericho

Ok, so I feel like I need to explain the name of this blog. I had an amazing opportunity to go to Kenya, Africa 12 years ago. Lessons and stories from that will come at a later time :) But there I learned that mothers get a new name when they become mothers! They take on the oldest child's name and add it to "mama." If I lived in Africa I would be known as Mama Jericho. But here, I want to be known being mommy to both of my kids, Jericho Christian, and Karis Faith. So there it is, the birth of my blog's name, "Mommy Christian Faith."

Desiring a life of impact

I've felt strongly for a long time, and even more so in the last 10 months to be exact, that I wanted to have a life of impact. I officially became a full-time stay at home mom 10 months ago. Now those in the same boat get what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, I bought into the lie that in order to have a meaningful life I had to have a job. I resigned from a job that I loved. I felt that this job utilized all of my strengths, passions, and giftings and I decided that all of that time and energy spent on my job, would now be spent on my two babies, husband, and home. Little did I know what that meant!

So here is my attempt to make an impact on this world. I know that there are too many women out there going through this with me. Twelve to be exact. Twelve women I know have either lost their mom to cancer or are going through cancer with their mom right now. My husband told me when my mom was first diagnosed with cancer, you don't know what it feels like until it happens to you. I hope that what I have gone through and continue to go through can give you hope and peace that only God can give. I have been feeling really led to start a blog about my own journey with my mom having cancer. Going through this with my mom has been the hardest thing that I have gone through, and continue to go through, but I truly believe that through our stories, people can have hope, healing can begin, and God can speak and shine His light through us, and ultimately lead people to Him. I pray that in some way my journey can bring hope and healing to those going through it too.