Thursday, June 12, 2014

Claudia Denton Rockwood’s Response and Final Farewell

I’d like to talk about a natural source of energy I call “Mom.”  Either you’ve seen it for yourselves or you heard a little about it last night at the viewing from some of her closest friends.  Some examples include those who witnessed her energy from back in Rosales while in school.  You remember her to be hard at work to become class salutatorian.   Friends here from her college days know her as very driven, but knew a fun social side in the days when she was a young woman. Her colleagues among us here remember her energy exercised as a passionate discipline to her profession as a CPA.  Throughout her whole life, it was her brothers and sisters who knew her to have big dreams…and recognized this as a sort of “Maynigo” discipline.  My Uncle Ben called her dreams “Structured dreams” in his recent article in the Asian Journal.  My mom used her energy to help others chase their dreams, especially for those of you in the community who had a cause to fight for, like for example a Free Philippines.  She’d also never just helped a little bit, with each of her efforts meaning she’d give you her all.  For our extended family, those of us who decided to have a wedding knew to expect my mom’s energy and effort to create something extravagant.  

This woman we honor today would personally take it upon herself to produce some of the biggest flower displays, the most decadent wedding cakes, and would fly all the way to the Philippines to custom design a wedding “Give Away” only fit for a royal.  If you weren’t subject to a “Mila-fied” wedding, perhaps you saw more of my mom’s energy while just being an accountant or Filipino in San Diego.  She’d pull you into work and non-work activities, and suddenly you were affirmed of this new elite status…a status which pretty much parallels that to the “cool kids” table in school.  She was very proud of her profession as a CPA.

While this may have been boundless energy for everyone else, what her driven energy meant for my brother and me was having a mom who was a hard ass.  Of course, this was to push us to do our best.  She was still very proud of what Eugene and I have done, even if neither of us went to medical or law school.

In my mom’s final days living with us, she enjoyed an incredible 30-day cruise with Art traveling around the Hawaiian Islands and French Polynesia.   After returning to dry land, she went back to work - making plans with her friends and family.  She enjoyed celebrating a belated mother’s day with Eugene, started making plans to travel back to Rosales for her 50 year high school reunion, and also planning to take another cruise in the future with her brother, Ben and sister, Nelly around Asia.  She also didn’t stay put after her recent cruise, and came out to see me and my husband in Albuquerque.  With it being Memorial Day weekend, we took advantage of the time off and brought her up to Colorado to visit with Greg’s family in Ft. Collins, right outside of Denver.  

The night before leaving for Colorado, I joked and asked my mom if she wanted to try some legalized marijuana. She gave me her noteworthy smile, and didn’t say anything.  She didn’t need to say or do anything, really.  Now, some of you are familiar with my mom’s struggles in maintaining her own properties and business ventures.  She seemed to be always searching for trust-worthy builders.  She learned hard lessons while losing a lot of money due to failed promises, and even felt betrayed by those whom she contracted with.  

Her trip with us was progressing amazingly, and my mom seemed to be on a natural high.  So no, we did not experiment on the legalized marijuana in Colorado.  Of course the 30-day cruise may have helped, but on this trip my mom saw for herself what a talented family I married into, and felt comfort in what lay ahead for the family Greg and I were growing.  My in-laws live on 35 acres and have built a house on it from the ground up by themselves.  Greg’s parents are also professional contractors who help design, build, and renovate homes. 

Seeing this beautiful site with the Colorado Mountains in the background was one part.  But being surrounded by the love of Greg’s family was the true highlight of the trip.  She was getting to see who she was going to be grandparents with.  The morning before her collapse, she was walking around floating on Cloud Nine – the happiest I’ve ever seen her.  She was living and breathing such a promising future for our entire family, including the grandchild she’d been patiently waiting for. 

I believe my mother’s illness may have been pending, and God allowed her enough time on earth with us for one more exotic trip with Art, to make exciting plans with her friends and siblings, to celebrate being a mother to her son she was extremely proud of, to have comfort her properties are in good hands, and to see such a loving, promising future for her granddaughter, who already has the name of Perla, which with her energy, she already loved calling “Perlita.” 

I must add there is a follow-on reception in the next hall after our service.  I know it may not be the caliber of what a “Mila” reception usually is, but looking at the caliber of friends and family here with us today, it most certainly will be.  

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