Thank you for being an incredible source of strength, encouragement, and kindness during our family's challenge. As we prepare to say our final goodbye to my mother tomorrow, I want to acknowledge you again for the support you've given us. There are no words for the amount of appreciation and gratitude we feel.
In the last 10 days, we have also sensed the love you have for your own mother/mother figure. For that and as a token of our thanks, we want to give her the spotlight as we approach Mother's Day weekend. Please visit www.bringnanayhome.com and if you haven't already, send me your mother's photo, name, and short paragraph telling me why she means the world to you (in 450 characters or less).
These last few months have been a rollercoaster of heartache, hope, and grief. Through it all, my family and I remained steadfast in our efforts to do what's best for Mom. We consulted with a number of international and domestic specialists for her care. We made sure she had the best chances despite all the complications. That's why when we realized we couldn't keep her alive, we were completely devastated ~ even though logically we knew we did everything we could, inside it felt like we let our mom down. Not being able to take her home was another blow that made us feel hopeless.
You became the light that our family needed. You came through without hesitation and responded as if Mom was your own. Whether you've known us for years or barely knew us at all, you were compelled to give and help.
And it worked.
We have officially reached an agreement with the hospital to Bring Mom Home. And it has all been because of you. Every dollar, every share, every post ~ you are the ones who made this possible. After seeing the results of the fundraiser so far, the hospital administrators agreed to make the exception to release Mom's remains with the understanding that we will continue to pay the remaining balance.
May 8th happens to be Mother's Day in Korea, and I'm guessing that part of their goodwill toward us is: just like the rest of us, they, too have moms they love. And perhaps like you, they want us to have our mom back home.
Words cannot possibly convey our feelings at this moment. We are humbled by your generosity and we're forever indebted to you for the kindness and love you've shown us.
We will keep you posted about memorial services as our family makes arrangements.
We wish you a Happy (Early) Mother's Day,
It's very much in the style of my mother to teach us life lessons in an Aesop's Fable kind of way. So, when we deal with anything we can't explain we ask "So what's the moral of the story?" This experience begs the same question.
I could wake up each morning and hole myself up in a corner, cry, do the "woe is me" exercise. Don't get me wrong - I've done my share of crying (as my puffy eyes will tell), but it's often overshadowed by pure joy from all the love and abundance my family is receiving. You simply give us no choice but to face the day with courage.
The moral of this story? Too many - patience, love, abundance, humility, boldness...all the things my mom always reminded us growing up. In a way, this is our Final Exam from our teacher mother.
May you face today and everyday with the same courage and strength you've given us!
While Mom was an amazing mother, she was also a wonderful sister...to 8 siblings. As the "Ate," she fulfilled an obligation to her own parents to help guide and care for them. She assisted some with their education and helped others with more personal life matters only sisters could understand. Mom was also a sister to many outside the family ~ offering guidance, love, and care as if they were her own.
Our mom used to remind us kids: "Magmamahalan Kayo" - "Love each other." Through this challenge, we have felt our family bond reinforced and our love and respect for our mother grow even more.
We are so grateful for the incredible empathy you've shown our family. We feel so lucky!
Many thanks for your generous contributions over the last 7 days. So far, 603 people have donated $49,267 in 7 days!
I miss her. I miss her SO much, but I still consider myself lucky.
The relationship between a mother and daughter isn't always easy. Moms sometimes have a "my way or the highway" policy, which sounds a lot like the "because I said so" rule. Mom and I didn't always get along, but in recent years I finally became adult enough to get over my issues [don't get me started on why she didn't let me play volleyball], and instead sought a relationship with her that I'd be proud of. Last year, I spent an entire month traveling with my mom. Being one of six kids, this is a real luxury. I felt like her "bunso" (youngest child) again, though our conversations felt more like those between sisters. I heard stories about her life - as a child, a young mother, a teacher, and wife "“ uncensored. I'll always treasure that month, and while she is no longer with me, I'm comforted knowing we were on good terms. Not everyone is as lucky. Resentment, bitterness, disagreements can sometimes create the widest distance between a mother and daughter or any two people really. Today, I hope you feel only love and warmth in the relationships you value most.
By the way, in about 3 hours, lululemon Studio City will be holding their free yoga class. If you're in the area and into health and wellness, you should go. Even if you've never done yoga, it'll be a great way to spend your Sunday. Plus they'll be dedicating the class to my wonderful mom and collecting donations to #bringmomhome.
If you want to take this fundraiser off the interwebs and into the real world, feel free to do so. Bake sale? 10K? Lemonade stand? Mother's Day parties? I'm sure you have a ton of ideas!
In just 5 days, you've already raised $45,000! Amazing! Please help us reach our next milestone of $50k.
Today, I celebrate the newest graduates of the University of Michigan! I'm so proud to call you my brothers and sisters in this incredible family of over 500,000 inside and outside the mitten. Be proud of what you've accomplished and go out there and let your leadership shine!
During this difficult time, my Wolverines (I hope Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN and Richard Liu of MSNBC are reading this) became some of my first responders, along with my Wildcats and 49ers. Some of you don't even know me, but felt compelled to support based on these ties alone.
Mom also had a special bond with her high school and college classmates. Visits to the Philippines usually included reunions used to reminisce and catch up. I was lucky enough in 2013 to witness them laugh about memories from 55 years ago, but also surprised to see them use the event as a fundraiser (ironic). Since education remains a costly investment in the Philippines, Mom and her classmates, even in their golden years, would commit to supporting a high potential student in need. I was so impressed by this that I took a photo of their tuition pledge.
Day 5 and already 11,500 visits, 551 supporters, and $44,172 raised. Help us reach our next milestone of $50,000!
After 47 years of marriage, my parents were entering a really fun phase in their relationship. The kids were grown, they were both retired and free to focus on each other. These days, it's easy to dwell on the sadness, but my dad finds comfort in remembering funny moments with Mom. I asked him to write a letter to her with that in mind.
To My Beloved,
Now that you have returned to the Kingdom of God all my favorite memories of you will be with me for the rest of my life. I am going to miss the looks you give me each time I buy a load of groceries we couldn't possibly finish [don't ask where I get my food obsession]. Who will provide me the warning and caring advice each time I indulge myself to too much food? I'll especially miss the fun of seeing you getting carried away with emotions while watching Filipino drama on TFC and GMA. And I will miss hearing of all the breaking news from your "call center" [Mom was a natural connector and was constantly on the phone with friends all over the world]. Sino na ang magbibigay sa amin ng the latest at most confidential tsismis from all corners? Ang lahat ng ito ay magiging bahagi na lamang ng mga matatamis kong alaala sa iyo.
There are millions of things I am going to miss about you but will stay alive within my thoughts and my heart all the days of my life.
Rest in peace, my love.
We are so grateful to have your ears at a time like this. This platform has become a source of comfort. Seeing support from old and new friends, relatives, colleagues, and strangers who are touched by our story warms our hearts.
We have been receiving so much support from our Kababayans in Orion, a small, yet cohesive town in Bataan, Philippines. Mom was born there during the war, a painful time for our home country, particularly Bataan, where tens of thousands perished. American movies were made about the devastating loss of Filipino and American lives there, especially from the Death March, which my grandfather also experienced. It's no wonder then that our Kababayans from Orion are so united ~ they experienced tragedy and loss that reinforced their bonds. Nowadays, our Kababayans live in Orion, San Diego and other parts of the US, Canada, Australia...even Korea. Upon learning of our loss, our Kababayans in Seoul reached out right away. Just yesterday, my sister and father were treated to lunch by 2 of them.
I left the Philippines at only 9 years old. And while I consider Orion as my hometown, I'v become part of so many communities along the way, forming new Kababayans in all of them. During this difficult time, I've heard from childhood friends, co-workers, Wildcats, Wolverines, communities I have treasured over the years.
Hardships like this become a reminder of why friendships, family, and community are the foundation for happiness.
Thank you for continuing to fill us with love and kindness and for giving us the strength to bring Nanay home.
Imagine the fear and hesitation I felt before posting/sending my first email to ask for help. What if we don't meet our goal? What if this? What if that? Well...what if we don't try?
If we didn't try, we would have missed out on the abundance that has comforted us in the last few days. We've heard from over 500 people, this page has been visited over 10,000 times, and tonight while we're still in Day 3, we've already passed the 25% mark and we're only $100 away from $40,000! The best part ~ we've been learning about my mother's impact from around the world ~ her former students, girlfriends (or kumares), and classmates. She was a big sister, a sage adviser, confidant...definitely our Golden Girl.
Growing up, my mom purposely trained us to view challenges as learning opportunities. She encouraged us to expand our capacity so we could deal with whatever life would throw at us. In a way, I think this situation was taken right out of her lesson plan. And every morning I hear her voice say "Sige pa (Keep going), you're almost there!"
Please help us move ahead - share, donate, hug your momma, and Let's bring Mom home for Mother's Day!
We've also decided to use #bringnanayhome and #bringmomhome in an effort to garner more support.
Mom was obsessed with her orchids, which if you know plants, require a TON of care and attention. She used to "feed" them with eggshells, and every time one would bloom, she would get SO excited...as if it was breaking news! "Mom, it's just a flower. Calm down." Looking back, I see Mom's dedication to raising her kids in the same way. She would nurture us, feed us with books and experiences to help us grow, then when we achieved something we kids considered not so great, she would brag about us to her friends. Moms are funny, huh?
Hey, we just broke $37,000 in only 2 days!!! You are all incredible people. And you give us light in this time of darkness.
Please continue to pass this on. Every bit helps and we're getting closer to bringing mom home.
We love that some of you are honoring your own mothers with a donation. When you donate, please include a comment about why your mom means the world to you. It would make my mom happy and proud to see how much your moms have impacted your lives!
Today, I discovered how much Mom loved Lionel Richie's song "Hello." How wonderfully corny is that! Over dinner celebrating one of my brothers' birthday, we reminisced about how quirky Mom was. She once dressed my brother in girl's clothing when he was 5, brought him to the school where she taught, presented him to her teacher friends and asked them to guess - "Is it a he or a she?" Some people may consider that child abuse. To us, it's just another test of character. We grew up just fine. :)
Dinner was also used to discuss just how amazingly fortunate we are to have a family in all of you. In just a day and a half, we went from feeling defeated to feeling incredibly hopeful and optimistic. We feel your heartfelt generosity surrounding us through your messages, donations, and shares. We know you want Mom home just as much as we do!
Officially at only 1.5 days of our ask, your collective donations total $28,000! Double Triple Take!
On February 19th, 2014, my mom Constancia Cruz collapsed in Seoul International Airport while waiting for a flight home from the Philippines to California. She was immediately rushed to the local hospital and diagnosed with septic shock, a serious condition that severely impacted her vital organs.
Her husband and my father, Pedro, headed to Korea to be with his beloved wife of nearly 50 years, and my 5 siblings and I also traveled to be by her side. Multiple treatments were administered - including cardiac bypass surgery, hemodialysis, and respiratory support. But after 76 arduous days in Intensive Care, our mother's health continued to deteriorate. And on April 28th at 2:19 pm, surrounded by my father and 2 siblings, she took her last breath.
Even with medical insurance coverage, nothing could have prepared our family for complications of international emergency care. After already paying $90,000 up front, of which only a fraction will be reimbursed, we still have to pay $157,000 to bring her body back home to the United States. We have contacted the U.S. Embassy, who told us they cannot help. In fact, numerous families have faced a similar scenario and were left no option but to leave their loved ones in foreign hospitals.
We don't want this for my mom. As you can imagine, knowing she is at her desired final resting place would bring us closure and peace of mind.
To claim my mother's remains from the hospital, we have set a goal to raise $157,000, which is what we need to cover the bill. Audacious goal? Maybe. But one of the things I've learned from this experience is that people are truly kind and generous. We have felt the outpouring of love and support in so many ways. And it's in that spirit that I ask for your help. Even if you cannot make a donation, you can spread the word. Help bring our mom "home" this Mother's Day.
***We love that some of you are honoring your own mothers with a donation. When you donate, please include a comment about why your mom means the world to you. It would make my mom happy and proud to see how much your moms have impacted your lives!***
With sincerest appreciation and thanks,
-Anna Marie on behalf of our family (Pedro, Andrea, Allan, Adrian, Amabelle, Amanda) --- Update: 5/6/14 We have reached an agreement with the hospital and Mom's remains will be released with the understanding we will continue to raise funds toward the full payment of this bill. You are the ones who made this possible...thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Campaign Not Ready
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account.
Our team has contacted them with the solution, it's a simple fix!
Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account.