my best friend has died and this is just a nightmare

Will somebody please tell me I
just woke up on the wrong
side of the bed and
that I
did not receive the
and over
that this is just
a bad nightmare and it
will pass when I
really wake up.
That my dearest and best friend
of 35 years,
the older sister I had wanted
all my life,
my number 1 fan and supporter
in all I did
has died. I am in shock,
in denial,
grieving, and
very much.
All my notices on Facebook
say I am wrong
because there will be
a wake
an interment
a mass
a funeral
I am numb as
my fingers type away at
the keyboard
and scroll through
the messages
the photographs
the flowers
the candles
the memories
that all say
you are gone
you are no longer in pain
you are with your brother
and mother
and father
but I am not with you
and I am oh so far away
and I cannot be there
by your side
I was not there
holding your hand
even if I wanted to be
and now you have left us all behind
and all I can ask is
and all I can say is
and all I can do is
and I know
I will be reading your messages
and over
and looking at your photos
and posts
even the chain mail
you send me.
I will re-live our last visit together
five years ago
is too long
I will re-live our last phone call together
which was not long enough
you kept me in touch
with news from back home
with the earth
with myself
with life
my sister
my friend (5 times on Facebook)
my best of friends
my confidante
will always be alive
in my heart
in my head
in my soul
in my life.
When this nightmare
is over
I will awake
open my laptop
and see
another photo
from you
but it will not be new.
The nightmare will never end
and I
will never wake up.

My best friend, Evelyn Marasigan, seated (died July 11, 2019, on Blanche’s birthday); some of my closest circle of friends, L-R, Blanche Arguelles, Vicki Gwen de Leon, Gay Castañeda

Carrying On…


I wrote this for my classmates, when one after another, notices of parents’ deaths or serious illness were posted to our group. I just had to share this for the generation of baby boomers who are going through similar experiences.

We are now all at an age when we have no choice but to face the fact that our parents are at that age when they will be leaving us, and in fact some have already left us.

It is very sad that it is one of the most common bits of news we now share.

But I believe that it is a sign that their job on earth is done, and they can finally rest in peace and grace.

I also believe that it is another thing that brings us all much closer together, sharing the same experience of bidding them farewell and taking on the title of “senior.”

I know that we all are capable of taking on the title and applying all the lessons we have learned from our experiences with them and from them, good and bad.

Some of our parents have left large shadows and larger shoes to fill but they leave with the knowledge that we are capable of taking over completely.

I, for one, am thankful for all that we have learned and all we gave grown up with.

I am thankful for having all of you as my classmates and for having known almost all of you almost as long as I have known my family.

I am thankful that, as we grow older, we find that we have more to share and more ways to share.

I am thankful that we have grown to be more accepting and more appreciative of each other and of everything around us.

I just wanted to share this with everyone, especially in the light of all the recent deaths we are experiencing because it helps me to remember to be thankful.

Your classmate,



Children of the Earth (poem)


children of the earth we are born

in the womb of mother nature we are nurtured

we feed at her bountiful bosom and we grow strong

as children of the earth.

we are born children of the earth

we grow strong feeding from her bounty

and when we are grown we forget how we were born

from the womb of mother nature.

we were nurtured by the rich bounty of our mother earth

we have grown. we have forgotten.

we grow fat taking more than our share.

we grow rich taking more than we need for ourselves.

we grow greedy taking everything from the earth.

we have forgotten how we were born.

we have sold our mother to the highest bidder.

we have sold our lifeline to the earth.

we have sold our mother.

we have sold our earth.

we were born children of the earth

and children of the earth we shall die.

children of the earth we shall hunger for more

and when there is no more, we shall hunger again

for what no longer is. for the barren mother

stripped of her glory

stripped of her bounty

stripped of her beauty

and when she can no longer give

how else shall we live?

as children of the earth we shall die

on the barren grounds stripped of beauty and bounty

in filthy oceans populated by flotsam

on bare mountains that will be bare sand

in the bosom of a dead mother

her children will die.


© Cindy Lapeña, 2013

 Mother Earth

Death gives us pause


To know anyone, even remotely, who has passed away, tugs at our heart strings and our mind strings and leaves a bit of an ache. We are reminded of how close death is to us and how no one can ever escape it. It gives us pause. I myself have learned very recently through FB of the deaths of a former student and a former colleague who was a friend as well. I mourn at their youthful passing and wonder at what I will be leaving behind when others hear of mine.

A winter night (poem)


Wispy wraiths drift lazily across the indigo

Gently grazing rooftops

Catching cottony tails

In the pines thrusting their spears

Into the airy soup

Snowflakes drift aimlessly to and fro

Following a fickle breeze

Brushing against pink cheeks

pink noses wrinkling in delight

Following a fickle breeze

Swirling with lazy snowflakes

Landing on pink tongues

Pudgy fingers grasp in the air

As toddling legs churn up resting snowflakes

That join the swirling white flurries

Waltzing with the wispy wraiths

Around the playful pair

And as the deep indigo fades

The wraiths lay the snowflakes gently


on tired legs

tired fingers

cold noses

cold cheeks

Indigo lips

Of two babes forever asleep

Under a blanket of resting snowflakes

Then drift lazily away across the pale pink

Gently grazing rooftops

Catching cottony tails

In the pines thrusting their spears

At the rising sun.


© Cindy Lapeña, 2007


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…and papa was there (poem)


it was a dark and stormy night

and papa was there

to put me to sleep

i had always wanted to be a girl scout

and everyone’s mommy and daddy

was at the induction

to pin the tiny girl scout pin

and tie the white kerchiefs on

i thought no one would come

and just when they called my name

papa was there

mama brought me to my grade school graduation

but didn’t stay

and somewhere in the middle of it all

as i strained to see the tiny faces in the crowd

papa was there

with his camera and his big almost-smile

and when my tummy hurt

really bad in school and

i had to get an appendectomy

before the anaesthetic got to work

papa was there holding my hand

and his eyes and shining eyeglasses

were the last thing i saw

floating next to the iv bottle

and when i walked down the aisle

papa was there holding me

like a little girl again

and smiling and crying

as i was

and when bianca came into the world

i thought i saw papa at the window

in a green surgical smock and cap

and when i woke up

there was a bag of sweets and cakes

and papa

and when i die

wherever i go i’m quite sure

the first thing i see will be papa.


© Cindy Lapeña, 2012


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A death


Today, I just learned that my ex-husband’s younger brother had died. He had just turned 49 on July 7.

I remember Manny as very outspoken when the topic came around to one of his passions: old cars, computers and computer games, rock music, and any one of the many causes he advocated. I’ll have to admit that I don’t share any of his passions, although I do like old cars, and I agree with many of his views about political corruption and similar issues. Other issues I simply did not and could not agree with, but I kept those to myself to avoid any highly charged exchange of ideas.

The last time I saw him, I was in Cebu to give a workshop to a group of professionals and we actually just accidentally bumped into each other, because he had some business to attend to in the same building where I was delivering the workshop. He  looked pretty well, although he had a whole lot of white hair and he had definitely lost a lot of weight–something both good and bad, because he had diabetes. He told me about his job and how the wedding plans fell through but that he was staying because of his work and his new band and the bike he had recently bought.

Manny had a full life. He made the most of it for as long as he could and made it what he wanted it to be. And while I could write so much more of my encounters with him in the time I spent with his family, I will refrain from writing more at the risk of offending anyone.

Certainly, his mother loved him very much and she will miss him more than anyone else. I can only imagine what it is like to have your child die. But I do know how painfully devastating it is to lose a child. As I cannot be with her, I can only feel for her.

I hope he finds peace wherever he is.