4:30pm (Philippines)
This morning I called Jac to update her with what was going on.  She updated Em and Em called me right away.  She told my sister and me that she contacted the State Department and that they said not to help this woman get into the United States.  The State Department has seen these cases too many times, and they are afraid this woman will try to blackmail us.  Evelyn and I are just so desperate, that we would do anything just to get Dad home. 

The one victory that happened today was that we were able to get Dad’s passport, and we surrendered it to the US Embassy.  We prayed so hard this morning, we prayed to God, to Mom, to Dad – to please give us the strength and courage to get the passport from this woman, as she had all of Dad’s items in her possession.  And we got it.  And when I crossed the Security Gate at the US Embassy I felt this over-whelming feeling…  Rushing to Room J, where Jas, our US Embassy rep, who silently was hoping and praying for my sister and I, was going to be.  As I picked up the phone in the room to call the operator - knowing that it was already lunch time for them and nervous that she wouldn’t be there - a gentleman picked up the other line, I took a deep breath and asked is Jas there.  His reply, is this Vicky…she’s been waiting for you.  I sat in that room, she pulled up the blinds and there she was, looking at me through the glass window, I could see her relief that my sister and I were able to get Dad’s passport.  She immediately canceled it.  She came back, and said all we need is the certified copy of the Death Certificate and our Record of Death for Dad was going to be done.  I looked at her, tears running down my face and placed my hand on the window…she looked at me, her eyes watering up, and I said to her.  I know you don’t know me, and I don’t know you…but thank you, thank you, for helping my sister and me.  She says to me, I’ve been praying for you both.

I know Dad had a document about bringing his whole body back to the US, but it’s looking more like it won’t happen.  I’ve been reflecting – this has been a hard journey, but I’m trying to come to terms that Dad passed away in the Philippines for a reason.  I know Dad struggled a lot with his own Mom’s death, and in Dad fashion instead of talking or sharing it with us about it, Dad dealt with it in his own ways.  When the cremation option came up, Evelyn and I was a firm, absolutely not!  I think we have had to go on this emotional ride of learning why this may be what Dad actually wanted.  This is totally Dad – a story he’s probably sharing with the angels already.  How his daughters came to the Philippines to bring him home, how this woman’s true colors came out, how we tried to figure out a compromise – to realizing all along Dad does want part of him resting with his mom, and that he wants part of him next to mom.  I still don’t know what this journey has in stored.  What it’s teaching me is patience, honesty, forgiveness.  When mom dies I remember this indifferent feeling about my faith and God.  I was so stuck in this analytical narration about death, pain, hurt. 

As I reflect during this journey with dad’s death, I realize my faith in God, my love for Mom and Dad, has guided me.  They are with Evelyn and me, and are giving us strength, sending us all their love and guidance.  They are making sure we don’t lose site of what really matters.  To stay strong, and know God will prevail.  When I was hitting such a low, I was getting so sad and depressed.  When I felt powerless and a victim, I realized NO, I will not allow this!  Stop!  You are not a victim, you are fighter.  And I am never alone.  Evelyn has been my pillar when I am weak.  My family isn’t necessarily what blood line you are from.  That has just been proven with the way my Uncle has been acting.  Mom and Dad had it right when they left the Philippines and never turned back.  They raised Evelyn and I with the best intentions and values.  I love them and thank them for that.  They instilled the core values I need to be a good honest loving person.  I look forward to the day we re-unite as a family, but not yet.  My work is not done here yet.

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