Thank you, Casa San Miguel!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tomorrow is our son's first angelversary and I am having mixed emotions. I am very heartbroken to say the least, but at the same time I am happy because once again, our angel has made us proud.

Since Keith showed interest in art at aged three, I have dreamed that one day he would have his own art exhibit. Unfortunately, he had to go home to Jesus sooner than we all expected. But that dream didn't end the day he left us because since then, I have been working hard in looking for ways on how to make that dream come true. Little did I know that Keith's former art and music school, Casa San Miguel would be interested in featuring some of Keith's paintings at one of their art exhibits this year.

Keith attended Casa from 2009-2011. Despite traveling almost two hours every Sunday, he never complained. He always looked forward to going to Casa, so he brought his violin and his portfolio bag to church and after the service would take the bus with his Mama and his Adings to Pundaquit, San Antonio Zambales. Yes, Keith took two lessons in one day- art and violin. That's how much he loved Casa. I'm sure if he was still with us, he would still be going there. I am also hoping and praying that one day soon, when time has healed all the wounds, his Adings would go back to Casa again. This is the kind of place where children should hang out on weekends- where they can freely express themselves through art and music. This is where reluctant young artists and musicians realize their own potentials and this is where dreams do come true.

A lot of times, I make no sense but there is only one thing that I want to say- that I am very grateful to everyone in Casa for giving Keith the opportunity to do what he loved doing and for giving him the chance to experience something that is quite extraordinary- the gift of culture, art and music.

If you happen to be in Subic area, please don't forget to drop by at the CASA Kiosk in Harbor Point. The exhibit is now open and will run until May.

For more information, please visit CASA San Miguel's facebook page. 

Mabuhay po kayo, Casa San Miguel!

tintin x

The Year That Was 2012

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Despite what I went through last year, I think I never lost that smile.

- My life changed forever

January 28, 2012 will remain the saddest day in my life, This was the day we lost our beautiful and talented  son, Keith Ashley. He was 11. 

- In search of that Solace

I can't remember ever feeling so depressed until the day I left my family in the Philippines. I asked so many questions and I felt like I needed to find the answers straight away. I wanted to know why God took my son. At that time, I was in desperate need of comfort. It was as if my husband, my family and my friends were not enough. A random trip, or shall I say retreat at a friend's house in Oxfordshire paved way to my recovery.

After trying on several things to make me feel better, I found myself writing open letters to my son.  Honestly, this has given me more comfort than anything else. I have been writing to Keith everyday since I started this blog. Some people may find it weird, but this is what's helping me. And I know somehow, Keith gets to read my letters (or so I wish).

-  Visit from friends

My friends Z, A and MJ visited London.

- A run for Keith Ashley

I did my first official 10k run in Bristol in April last year. My boy truly inspired me to do the things that I thought I could never do. One day, I would like to do something bigger for him in order to keep his legacy. He is too good to be forgotten.

-  More time with friends

Apart from hanging out with my good friend M, in May I started spending more time with my Adings in London. H took me on my first trip to a London bar.

-  The Queen's Diamond Jubillee

We wanted to be a part of another history, so we went (well, at least we tried) to watch the parade but couldn't get through as there were a lot of people and they closed some of the places. But it was still a day well spent with people we consider family.

-  My Birthday Month

A trip to Bologna and The Cinque Terre was a birthday gift.

Cinque Terre

On my birthday, we went on a day trip to Porto Venere and sunset date on top of the mountain overlooking the village of Manarola.

-  K Lighter Month

August 17 was Keith's first birthday in heaven and to celebrate it, I asked my family and friends to make that day a Keith Lighter Day by doing things that Keith would have done or would normally do. I was overwhelmed by the support that my friends and family from all over the world have given me on this difficult day. It was indeed a K Lighter Day!

It was also in August when we went to  back New York. This trip to New York is actually the best for me as I was able to spend more time with  family and friends. We also went on a couple of day trips.


Also this month, I made one of the biggest decisions I have ever made in my life- to leave Bristol for good. I finally found the courage to leave my comfort zone and face whatever the challenges the Big City may bring. It was August 22 when I formally left my job at the Bristol Heart Institute as a Nurse Practitioner.

-  A new beginning,  A new challenge

Few months before September, I went for a job at St. Thomas' in London. I was not expecting to be offered the job because I don't think I was that serious about it. I was just curious about what London has to offer and there you go, I had one of the best job offers ever. It was my first interview in London and I was blessed to be successful first time.

I took my running further because I wanted Keith to be proud of me. Besides, we wanted to raise funds for a boy who has Biliary Atresia and needed a liver transplant. So we joined the 16k run from Paris to Versailles in Memory of Keith and to Help Save Jacob's Life.

-  Looking for Claude

Since the day I asked Keith who inspired him to paint and he told me it was Claude Monet, it has always been my dream for him to see his Lolo Monet's garden in Giverny, France. It's just a shame that I was not able to fulfill this dream.  This was a very emotional visit as I knew that Keith would have loved it there. I visited the garden for Keith and all I had with me was his memory and his favourite toy, Meowmeow.

-  Pumpkin Carving

Our first Halloween in London with my good friend M and her family and some random trick or treat-ers.

-  It was Merry after all

Because of what happened to Keith, I was not really thinking about Christmas at all.  In fact we didn't have any Christmas tree or any decors at home because I wasn't feeling it.  But people close to our hearts made it possible for us to at least have a merry December.

-Pre Christmas dinner with our Adings
- Dinner with our Manangs and Manongs
- Christmas Day with M's family
-Cycling around London on Christmas Day
- Boxing Day dinner at Manang V's house

It was indeed a roller coaster 2012 for me. Although a part of me will be missing forever, I know that there are still things that I can certainly look forward to this year. And now that I have an Angel who will watch over me from heaven, I know I will be alright. Here's hoping for a K Lighter 2013!

tintin x

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