The Roces Family Around the World

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My dearest Mamita - From Marl

This was asked to be read at the eulogy of Alicia Villa-Real Roces. It was sent to me by Marlene Sioson-Roces, the daughter of Raphael "Palito" Roces.

My dearest Mamita,

I made the call.

Here in California, I called the See's Candy Company and told them to brace themselves for the steep decline in sales.

All these years, it's been such an honor to send and hand deliver your favorite selection of nougats, caramels, mint patties, nuts and marzipans....All dark chocolate, no creams! I took pride in being the customer who snobbed and walked past their pre-made assorted one-pound boxes and lovingly selected each piece and had it wrapped with care. I always looked forward to my trip to the See's Candy store because it meant that I was going home to see you. I knew how much a one-pound box of chocolate made you happy, made you smile that smile I will never forget.

Boxes of chocolate seem like nothing compared to what you've given me all these years. Our special Mother-Daughter relationship started when I was 1. When I lived in Oroquieta with you, I became your "bunso" and Lolo would make me pasyal in Central Market. I was too young to remember, but I cherish the stories of me announcing "No eat! No eat!" Well..., times have certainly changed in that department!

After returning to the States, I came back to permanently live with you and Lolo in Magallanes at age 5. After school, it was so nice to come home to you and Lolo. Many an afternoon the three of us just kept each other company in your room. When we weren't chatting or having Spanish lessons, Lolo read his Newsweek or played solitaire, and I always wondered why you were forever making the menu for the week at your desk.

Not long afterward, Daphne joined our little barkada. And we went everywhere, movie, bowling at Club Filipino, buying fruit in the market, fun road trips to Baguio and La Union. We tagged along so much, your bowling-mates literally watched us grow up. When my mom and her dad were abroad, you were always there for us...even doctor's appointments and school functions. You filled that void of missing one parent and you proudly introduced us as "mi nietas". It made us feel like a million bucks. All these years you never lost that magic of making Susie, Daphne and I feel special like that. Being a "rosebud" was truly a privilege.

Today we are responsible, family-loving, God-fearing adults thanks to you and Lolo. You will be proud to know that though we still eat canned corned beef, you've expanded our palate to appreciate Paella and Bacalao.

And by the way, I forgive you.

I forgive you for hiding the boxes of See's chocolates and not sharing. For trying to confuse us by strategically placing a full box among empty ones. Even though I knew which box held the treasured candy, I was quietly amused. It was so naughty... so charming... so Mamita. You so deserved to enjoy them one by one, savoring them in peace and quiet. One could only wish to live a life eating yummy See's and so loved by her children, grandchildren and great much so that they had "sip-sip contests".

It will be difficult going by a See's Candy store from now on. Knowing that no matter how much chocolate I buy, I will never see your face light up again. Not even a 5-pound box will bring you back. But See's candy will forever remind me of my
sweet Mamita.

I love you,


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