I remember feeling secure when Mom’s ashes were still in the house, we would bring her to and from the chapel where we held her wake. It was only after her urn was gone that I felt her absence, which was strange because the urn was little more than a rectangular container with her ashes inside. After it was put into the crypt, after the family lunch was over and everyone had gone home, it hit me: She was really gone.

I felt kind of sad that I wasn’t able to keep a little part of her with me, like the heart-shaped urn keepsake that I saw in a Filipino film (I forgot the title). She didn’t ever want me to hold on to her or depend on her too much for everything, so I figured it was meant that way. She taught me independence, so I should do my best to stay independent.