The Little Things in Life
Months after Maia. We are still trying to piece our lives back together. I started working part time. Rizza is thinking about work sometime after the new year. Marcus is steady in school and excelling at Taekwondo.
As we all miss Maia, every second of everyday, I have been finding it hard to focus. I luckily have the best bosses ever. Before I started working Maia had just passed away and my old co-workers contacted me through Facebook. They wanted me to come and work with them again. So after talking with them, then with Rizza and Marcus, we all agreed for me to go back to work. My start date was not yet determined but it was kind of penciled in. Shortly after, my mom was hospitalized. She was like Maia fighting to stay coherent, to stay alive. Rizza and I started our new journey driving to a new hospital in Santa Rosa just about everyday. During her last few days it was just me as we had to figure out how to let Marcus know what was happening and what was going to happen. Rizza did the normal things with Marcus, school, taekwondo, church school and just have fun. My mom was hurting, she was dying and was ready to become a grandma angel. After my mom passed away Rizza and I thought of ways to tell Marcus. So we thought we'd wait till the weekend was over and then let him know since it was going to be a busy weekend with family and we wanted to keep his spirits up. As Rizza was walking Marcus to school she started to go over with Marcus how Grandma is in the hospital and she is really sick. Marcus said “yes I know, she died.” Rizza was in shock that he knew. It had just happened the night before and we discussed our plan after he was asleep. We’re still trying to figure out how he knew, whether it was by reading our body language, by Maia and Marissa coming to him and telling him, or if he thinks you're really sick and in the hospital you die. All things we need to figure out as time goes on. He took it well and went to school.
I worry about my wife Rizza. As a man I do not and will never know how it is to have a baby grow inside me, feel kicks from the inside and to go through birthing a child. You are so strong, you are so beautiful, and I am so proud and honored to call you my wife and to be able to share the rest of our lives together. You have been through so much and I will never leave your side. One thing about going back to work is I LOVE your phone voice. I have always told you this and will continue to.
I worry about do you want another child, do you want to go through carrying a baby inside of you, are you thinking if we have another baby, it could be the outcome that we have gone through and become an angel and join our daughters. I know we talk and I know I listen but, I also know these things are inside of you and you will tell me when it is time, when you are ready. I love you…
The holidays have been hard on all of us, especially on Marcus. In November I was working and he went from me being with him everyday, picking up and or dropping him off at school, to going to Taekwondo, being around for breakfast and dinner, to now only taking him to school on Fridays, to me sometimes showing up at Taekwondo, to having dinner with mom and not dad most days. Thanksgiving was hard for all of us. At first, while working I could not figure it out but I was feeling odd, not right, not 100% at work and I figured it out after a day or so, we spent every holiday for a year at the hospital with Maia and I was feeling sad. I wanted to figure out what Marcus was thinking or feeling. As I watched him, I was able to sense that Marcus was feeling the same I was feeling. The week before Thanksgiving his nino Russell (Jig jig, Balbas = beard) was here with his girlfriend Laurel (hopefully soon to be fiance). Then on Thanksgiving week his nino Rommel (dada) had his girlfriend, Grace, here. The last time we were together was at Maia’s Life Celebration. All this family time and the beginning of the holiday season started getting to Marcus. He was feeling sad just like all of us. We miss Maia, we miss all the wonderful people at the hospital. Thanksgiving morning we had our 15th annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl football game with the Mendoza clan and some of the little cousins were there, cheering on their dads and moms, the teams, the family. Marcus got to play with them and watch over them and even get irritated by them, like if his sisters were there with him. His cousin in a previous post Ely, is the age of Marissa (Ely was born the night before Marissa). Seeing her sometimes is hard on all of us. Rizza and Ely’s mom Bel were texting each other when they were both in labor. You heard of don’t text and drive but they were giving birth and texting... lol... Watching over Marcus, seeing his cousins had an impact on his day as his shoulders were a little slumped and his normal happy self was not as happy. Dinner came later that day and during dinner he ate a few bites and said he was full and went to his room. I followed and talked to him and he told me he missed Maia and that he remembers last year we were at the hospital with her and he wished she was here. I am so glad he can communicate and let us know somewhat of what he is feeling. The rest of the evening went good and we all kinda left him do what he wanted and kept his thoughts and emotions in mind. As time has gone by and we entered December, Christmas trees and lights are going up and we're seeing more and more everyday. We were in the city one day and one thing Rizza and Marcus did last year to take our minds off of things, was to count the Christmas trees in people's windows as we drove to and from the hospital. As Christmas gets closer, Marcus has been acting out at home more and cries easily. Rizza, Rommel and I have been discussing Marcus' feelings and also include Marcus by asking "what are you thinking and what are you feeling?" Marcus has been good about answering but doesn't always know how to express his grief. We have realized that he acts out during or after seeing his little cousins, This makes sense since its been hard for us too, but seeing his boy cousins and all the little girls dressed up looking so cute, some still having baby rolls, running around, and so excited to see Marcus and to copy what he does, is so precious. Marcus will always be a big cousin (Kuya) for his generation.. Such a great responsibility without even knowing it yet. We have been teaching him and using his sisters as an example and that may be hard on him. I tell him that he is the protector of all his little cousins, to make sure they are doing good and not bad,to keep them safe, teach them as they grow just as you would have with your sisters. Give him examples that he would understand that clarify his title. He has a better grasp on it but finds it hard and we told him he still is a Kuya to his angel sisters, which does help. We emailed Marcus' teacher and briefly talked to her and he is doing good in school with no abnormal behavior. Marcus and his school did get a rain day last Thursday, yes a rain day. He was happy and wanted Friday to become another rain day. lol.
At my mom's memorial service he did okay. During the mass he wanted to go outside and we ended up in the car talking. To be back so soon for another death in the family must be so hard on him. I told him that grandma is now an angel grandma. I told him I bet she is doing like his other grandmas (lolas), chasing the little cousins around and she is chasing Marissa and Maia around in heaven. That seemed to relax him and it made him laugh to think about how funny it is sometimes when the lolas are chasing his cousins around a room, chairs and tables. We then went back into the church just as the pastor was telling a story. No one knew except my dad that the story was about myself. Marcus got through the rest of the mass and was ready to play, ready to take his mind off the hurt and celebrate life. With everything going on in Marcus life he continues to wish as we all wish for Maia and Marissa to be here. We know we have payed attention to him, watched him and explained everything to him so he understand and he knows how to communicate. As I wrote before he does not always know how to explain things, but recently he has said he is really sad, and he has been grieving. We did start to get him counseling as we need more help to make sure he is okay, mentally, emotionally and physically. We love Marcus so much and we will always be by your side, like we were by Maia's.
Marcus has also been doing great in Taekwondo, earning his red white belt.
Marcus also was asked to come in and take pics with the three World Series Trophies. Thank you Gail. Memories he will have for the rest of his life and memories that are helping mold him into the person he will be.
With all that is going on emotionally with me and with Marcus, I took some time off of work.
Thank you Lee, Brian and Candy. Thank you to my co workers for understanding and I know you will all handle the work while I am gone. I took some time off since it has been very hard for me to focus at work with all that is going on. I thought about it this weekend on our long drive to dad's house up north to Willits, CA and back home as Marcus and Rizza did their normal thing and slept. I was thinking that Marissa was still in my head and not settled when Maia was born, until I got my tattoo of Marissa's name, birthdate and death date. That seemed to make it official. Again, thank you Abraham Ortega at Death before Dishonor Tattoo in San Jose. When I started working it was just a couple of weeks after my mom had passed away. I had to work since we have/had no money. I needed to work for me to get my mind off of what was going on in my life. It was my getaway. Shortly before I started, one employee had left, and after I started one got let go and his two friends left, and another employee went on paternity leave. It was time to sink or swim. I did swim... with weights on me, mentally, emotionally and physically. Things my mom and Maia taught me is to never give up and to do the best I can. The owner came down one day and popped his head in my office and said “how are you doing Gordon?” I told him it's sink or swim and “I am swimming!!” Thank you all again for letting me take this time off. Time to get my head, and heart straight.
As in previous post we have been going to Philz Coffee for years now I thinks sense late 2008, and spent the last year going just about everyday on our way to the UCSF. Today I went to the grand opening of the Philz Coffee San Mateo. I saw a familiar face, Phil Jaber. As I wrote before he was my first introduction to the cup of love. Congratulations Phil, and to Philz Coffee for the new addition to your ever growing cups of love. I do have to say it was a little hard to see Phil as it brought up memories of our talks and the kindness he and the 24th Philz had extended. I told him my home store will always be the 24th store and I will see him Saturday as we are going to UCSF Benioff to drop off some toys for there toy drive. Congratulations again and our family always wishes you the best.
We have been reading all the post on Facebook, Instagram, emails and texts. We are truly touched by all the positive comments and so happy that Maia touched so many hearts. Today I read a post on FB & IG from Sarah, thank you it was a great start for my morning to hear that Maia Knows Heart touched so many hearts..
This post is dedicated to my mom…
Judith Jean Mead, lived a wonderful 72 years, and became an angel grandma after being married to my dad for years. After they got married they had a baby boy, Eddie, that died soon after birth. Like me, my parents experienced the death of a child and never got to raise their child.
She moved on and as her story goes, God came to her and told her to adopt. My parents did just that and adopted from all over the world, kids with disabilities and from battered homes. She loved us all as her own and raised us all as best as she could. She worked with the schools and the county,to get the assistance and help needed to make sure that all the of us had the tools we needed in life to grow up. This also paved the way for other families that followed. Talking to her one day, she said that the school district back then did not want to do anything to assist kids with disabilities. It took her fighting and her never quitting, to get them to do what now is what is part of the Disabilities Act. She never got in front of Congress or marched, but she fought. Please remember this is back in the late 70's and early 80's. In the 70's we went to a Catholic school, which is weird because any time I drove by this place in my adult life I had a bad feeling. Then I find out 35 years later, we were told our family was kicked out because one of our family members is black... Discrimination, racism and stereotypes was something we all grew up with, including my parents. I think back about what my white parents went through. What did family members, neighbors, friends and people on the street think of them? But at the end of the day, who cares, it's God that mom and dad answers to.
At my mom's celebration of life, Pastor Steve Thrift called it her promotion to heaven. One of the stories that he told was how one of her kids got in trouble in junior high and she got a call to come to the school. As she was about to drive over, she discovered that someone siphoned her gas (gas shortage back then) and she had a flat tire and had to call our wonderful neighbor, Mrs. Shern (it was great to see you this weekend). All things I didn't know until now. The things she went through to come to my school just to find out that her son got into another fight. This was on the second or third day of school and I ended up getting suspended for a week and had to attend an alternate school, TAPs. Mom, what I never told you was that I was protecting my friend Stanley as he was being called a "nip" and "chink" and being pushed around. I am sorry to have caused you so much grief but I was doing what you taught us, to stand up for who I am and to help and protect others around me.My mom and dad had two biological kids, Julie and Karen. They adopted a total of 10 kids, Me (Gordon) Steve, Clay, Luke, Matt, Ben, Peter, Angie, Paulette, and Rachel. Two of my brothers, Matt and Ben, have passed away and I know they welcomed mom into heaven. I love you all. Mom, you will never be missed because we are all a part of you, and you will always be celebrated for the life you gave all of us. I love you, continue to be a mom to my brothers, a sister to my uncles, a daughter to my grandparents, and take care of my babies Marissa and Maia as you are their angel grandma.
The little things in life matter. The hellos, goodbyes, the thank yous, the eye contact and being kind and welcoming to one another. All the things we did and continue to do, all the things that the world should be doing. For all of us, Maia taught everyone to do all the little things as they do matter. Thank you everyone for continuing to follow our journey and giving us support. Your gestures of kindness are appreciated and it has helped us get through our journey. I hope that we have done the same and helped you get through the little things in your life, and I hope you share that so each person you come in contact with pays it forward and passes on the inspiration that Maia gave us all. Love life for every second of everyday. We never know how long our life will be but we know we will live it to the fullest.