Two years ago to date my parents celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. I would like to share an old blog entry (written on another platform) dating back ton 2013, when I still lived in New Delhi, that was also written for their anniversary.

Anniv1
Mommy & Daddy in 2016 ©MTHerzog

My parents celebrated their wedding anniversary yesterday, September 17 but the road to the cutest celebration ever was full of potholes – memory loss potholes that is. This was a an example of how a family functions via internet… since we couldn’t physically be with my parents in Manila to celebrate, I did the next best thing – treat them to lunch anyway but send the lunch to them.

Jump back in time with me through the memory portal and let’s teleport back to 1965 when my mom was a nurse at San Juan de Dios Hospital and my dad an Engineering student at De La Salle University. Dad would save up his allowance from Monday to Friday in order to have extra money to take the apple of his eye out on a date for a movie and fried chicken dinner at Max’s Restaurant along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. Several fried chickens and movies later, they walked down the aisle of Pope Pius XII church and were pronounced man and wife before God and the community. The year was 1966.

Teleporting back to 2013, Max Fried Chicken now has a website from which I can conveniently order a complete meal with elements of my choice from my desk in Delhi and have it delivered to the doorstep of my parents’ house in Manila. The only disadvantage to this method is that there is no element of surprise because the restaurant will call the recipient a day before to confirm the delivery details.

It sounds like a simple, clear-cut process doesn’t it? Well, if my mom is involved there is always a cup of humor and a dash of forgetfulness involved. I got an email from Dad confirming the order and telling me that “the gift” actually solved a great problem for them – and it wasn’t a culinary one. Portal time again but this time only one week back in time: On Sept. 13 my mom was very disappointed that dad hadn’t congratulated her or wished her Happy Anniversary. She grumbled to herself that if he wasn’t going to greet her she would just treat herself to a burger. The issue was promptly dropped and forgotten. When mom received the call from Max’s Restaurant she got excited that she forgot most of what the person on the line had rattled off, remembering only the noodles. She then turned to my dad and asked him, “when exactly is our anniversary?” Dad confirmed that it was indeed September 17, thereby being absolved for not having greeted Mom on Sept. 13, what he did get wrong, though was the year. So the two senior citizens tried to figure the whole thing out based on my age. The family formula has always been: my age  + 1 = number of years married. Simple? Should have been be if they could have remembered my age! Senior moments…

After reading Dad’s email containing the wrong number (of years married) I decided that I had to call them and set the record straight! I had two giggling senior citizens on the line: one convinced they had gotten married the year I was born, and the other one who sheepishly still couldn’t believe that they had not missed their anniversary after all. Mind you, I have the paperwork that confirms that I have all the right dates! When I called in the morning to (a) Remind them that it was indeed their anniversary and (b) check that the delivery had arrived, I had Dad on the line who first had to fish Mom back into the house because she was standing by the gate waiting for the food delivery guy. Mom came to the phone ever so briefly before she hung up on me because the delivery man from Max zoomed up to the gate with piping hot food. Dumped by my mother for fried chicken… senior citizens rule! 

I kept up the tradition of sending them meals from Max thereafter until the very end. When I moved to Manila in 2016, it was a joy and a privilege to take Mommy along on regular escapades. Daddy was already bedridden at the time, and could only be fed through a tube. They would have celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary today, and I miss them terribly.

The grief I live with of having lost them both so close to each other, is just surfacing in my life. September 17th is no longer a joyous occasion for me, as I am acutely aware that five days later is Daddy’s death anniversary. But as a friend wrote me this morning, I loved my parents, was loved strongly in return, and lost them, which is far better than not have been loved by your parents at all. And for this love I am grateful.