Dear Mama Nena,

How are you? I really miss you. Even though it’s been more than three years already since you left us, I still wish you’re here. I know you’ve already moved on to a better place with Ninong Joe, but I can’t help it. You were like a second mother to me. You were my mother when Mommy wasn’t around. I’m probably the most attached to you than any of my cousins—probably because you did show everyone that I was your favorite.

I wish more than anything that you could join the family when I get married this afternoon to the kindest man I’ve ever met, Marc.

We’ll be getting married in the Church where you used to take me every Sunday for mass. We tell people that the reason we chose it is because their fees are cheap, but that’s not the whole truth. I chose that Church so it will be easy for you to find. I really wish you could be there, Mama. I hope you and Ninong Joe can find time to drop by, even just for a few minutes. I won’t be able to see you, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll feel your presence.

You’ve already met Marc, but you were stricken with Alzheimer’s at that time. He’s a good man, Marc is. And I’m sure that if you weren’t sick at that time, you would have loved him too. Since you’re now watching over us, you can see why I love Marc so much that I decided to spend the rest of my life with him. You know more than anybody how difficult I can be at times, but Marc is able to handle them well and take my tantrums in stride. He’s very patient just like you, Mama.

Marc and I love each other more than life itself, Mama. You don’t need to be worried about me anymore. Marc will take care of me the same way Lolo Julie took care of you.

When I walk down the aisle later, I will be thinking of you and Ninong Joe—wishing more than anything that I could have one last hug from you (the hug that had always made me feel that nothing in the world could harm me) before I take my vows.

I love you, Mama Nena.