Three main characters in Reason Reigns are named Josephine in honor of my mother. I rushed to finish Reason Reigns so Mother could see the book version, but she passed away on January 17, 2008. She lives in my mind and in Reason Reigns. So do my father (Cissero) and my mother-in-law (Vangel). In three occasions celebrating Mother’s life, I gave the following tribute:
“Ma, I see you now, thin to the bones, ravaged by time. Yet, I see a strong woman who battled life’s challenges with nonstop hard work and steel determination.
I see a beautiful life. Unbowed by circumstance. Forging ahead through numerous hard knocks to make a better way for loved ones.
I see a loving mother, a wonderful grandma. As a grandmother, you were a model of excellence, my beau ideal.
If I did not make you happy enough as you so overwhelmingly deserved, surely, Roark-1 and Roark-2 did, as everyone of your grandchildren and great grandchildren did.
For you, his beloved Grandma, privacy-conscious Roark-1 allowed me to speak of how he has always cherished you. You frequently visited and doted on Roark-1. He greatly appreciated your delicious dishes. Once, I cooked igado; Roark-1 commented, “It doesn’t taste like Grandma’s.” You patiently waited on him. You did not want a harsh word, a hard tone directed at him. Without prodding, the ever independent-minded Roark-1 often told you, “I love you, Grandma.” My little boy saw your goodness, and identified what you had for him and for everyone in your family: great love.
Roark-1 voiced what I did not tell you often enough, “I love you.” But, I and those who cherish you will say it often for a lifetime, and you will hear it in heaven. I love you.
From here on, whenever I see Roark-1, Roark-2, and any of your grandchildren and great grandchildren: I will see you. I will see your beauty, your love, your goodness.
Though I had hoped that this day will never come, until we see you again: Thank you; we love you.”