It is the second Sunday of May. And I remember Mama, Lourdes Corrales Razon. A few days ago I found one of her favorite songs, “A Cycle of Life,” on YouTube. It brought back heart-rending memories of Mama singing this melody in her beautiful lyric soprano with her sister Tia Titing Razon at the piano.
Today I want to share the lyrics, in her honor.
“Life with here a smile and there a tear, relentless river;
moves from day to day, from year to year nor lingers ever.
“Love, upon its banks, imploring stands in anguish calling, stands with yearning eyes and outstretched hands and soft tears falling.
“Life thy ways are long, thy end is dark, and we, unknowing, whence it was we came or why embark or whither going; live and love a while, and pray at last to reap our sowing.”
The song brought tears. I was alone in my room and felt the urge to release pent-up emotions of loss, a pain that still visits no matter that Mama has been gone for over five decades.
I was transported to our home on Calle Legarda shortly after Liberation, in 1945. One night Mama was singing for friends and there was a knock on the door. It was an American army doctor. He loved music and asked if he could come in and listen. Captain Polimeni came up and sat by a window. Later he noticed my legs full of sores and offered to get them treated.
It was a memorable evening, an unforgettable song.
Here’s my shoutout to all moms: let’s enjoy our day. What a privilege it is to be a mother.
Tomorrow we vote. I hope everyone stays safe. Our church group will pray for good men and women to make it, regardless of party or affiliation. We will pray that the winners love our country.
My friend from Madrid asked if I thought elections would be clean. I must confess I did not know what to say.
It is unfortunate that we have become resigned to the narrative that cheating is part of our electoral process. People say the counting happens even before the votes are cast. Some of us accept that this “democratic exercise” is nothing but a joke.
But why is no one laughing?
I cannot count how many times I have been part of a support team, campaigning with all my heart for someone I believed was worth the effort. I have been a loud advocate of lost causes; I have offered my time willingly for a just cause, marched up and down streets shouting for or against certain issues.
Neither can I count the times I have painfully learned that my loyalty was ill-placed. Or that my vote was not counted.
Today my once ardent enthusiasm has cooled. The presence of social media and its millions of bashers and haters have only aggravated the nausea that I have been suffering much too long.
I am burned out. Over the years, I have been disappointed, disillusioned, and now I can say I am totally disgusted.
It is no wonder that on one hot and steamy afternoon a week or so ago, I sought solace in the comfort of my casita and watched a video of the abdication of Japan Emperor Akihito, the first monarch to step down from the imperial throne in more than two centuries, and the acceptance of the mantle of leadership by his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, whose name means “virtuous person.”
The ceremonies were stark, simple and solemn. Naruhito, 59, ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne a day after his father, 85, abdicated his position as emperor after three decades as Japan’s ruling monarch. He received the sacred imperial regalia and the sword, representing his rightful succession to the world’s oldest monarchy.
Akihito succeeded his father Emperor Hirohito, who died in 1989 after a 60-year reign. Although the role of emperor has become ceremonial since the end of World War II, Akihito acted as Japan’s consoler in times of calamity. He was a peace seeker, trying to make amends for his nation’s wartime crimes.
Naruhito is largely expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and has sworn to “reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty, bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors and devote [himself] to self-improvement.”
I watched in rapt attention. I loved the solemn ceremony. There were no functionaries strutting about. I was touched that it was quiet, no applause or fanatic adulation. There was no contrived drama. No effects. No drum roll. Yet it was deeply dramatic.
There was an air of unspoken awe, of reverence for tradition. Respect.
It was such a rare treat! Indulge me, please.
Let’s do it right!
Tomorrow when you vote, call upon your own best lights. And pray. There always is hope that just maybe, the choices we make this time will not come back to haunt us.
One young woman said, “When I go to market, I always choose what is best for my family. I get only the cleanest and the best products I can find. No damaged goods. I shall be just as picky when I vote.”
One last word. Vote your conscience. Vote your country. Please!