A story about my grandparents and the inspiration for MMM
September 28, 2002 – It was 5 days before my 15th birthday. My grandpa had just been to the hospital for the first time in my life just weeks before and at this time, he was in the hospital again. A few nights before, my mom called me to the room and said that Wowo wanted to talk to me. He was calling to apologize that he would not be able to be there for the birthday bash we had planned for the coming weekend. We were going to shop at Costco for a bunch of food and my super best friends at the time were going to sleep over and it was going to be a blast! “I promise I will make it up to you – maybe we can have a big party for your 16th birthday instead.” I remember the night my mom came to wake me up. It was 4am and he had passed away. We needed to get our things together to go meet my dad and grandma at the hospital. This was my first experience with death being so close to me. I don’t remember that much except that I played a special number at his gravesite service: “My Heart Will Go On” – played by me – on the flute.
In my early childhood, Wowo used to pick me up from pre-school and we would walk and hang out at McDonald’s. In my adolescence we would ride our bikes to get food from the deli at the grocery store. I know my entrepreneurial spirit came from him. I remember being young and instead of toys, I played with his office supplies: the hole puncher, the note pads, and of course, the customized STAMP that had his name on it. He was a lawyer, a 7-11 franchise owner and he was always trying to start one kind of business or another. I don’t think I ever understood what he was doing or what he was working toward but I know they he had this desire in his heart.
September 24, 2014 – 9 days before my 27th birthday. My grandma was always sick – in and out of the hospital – so many scared moments but then so many miracles when she would somehow get better and come home. At this point, she had been in the hospital for a month and a half or so and everyone just expected that this would be another scare resulting in another miracle and that she would be able to go home. I recall a night I spent with her in the hospital where she said “I’m tired”. Somehow, I knew that it didn’t mean that she wanted to sleep – but that she was done fighting in her physical body. She was tired of being alone and ready to live in heaven with my Wowo.
When you think of all the things that a grandparent is supposed to be…that would be my Wowa. She listened and comforted me when my parents were being sucky – while reminding me to love them. When I complained about my siblings, she told me to be patient and kind and reminded me to love them. There was always food – either she had food in hand when she came over, had something ready on the table or we would just walk to the fridge and open it up to see what’s in there – “Have anything you want,” she would say. My grandma’s house was literally “where the party was at”. It was the kickback, chill spot that everyone knew would always be open – “Bertha Inn” we still fondly call it. Even when she got older and was sick, she would be in her room and let us party until 2am. She LOVED having people in her house. She ALWAYS made sure every person – returning or new guest – felt welcome in her home. She housed so many family members over the years as they immigrated from the Philippines. Her joy was hospitality – she gave you what was hers. She just wanted to see people together – eating, smiling and laughing.
The day my Wowa passed away was so different from the day my Wowo passed away. When Wowo passed I was scared to go in and see him. When Wowa passed, I knew I had a job to do. After we gave our last respects in the ICU, I walked out the double doors and made a phone call. “Hi. Forest Lawn Cypress? Yes, my grandmother just passed and I need to know what steps I need to take to transport her body and prepare for her burial.” Second call, “Hi. New Life Community Church? I need to know what days you are available because we need to host my grandma’s funeral services”. I had already been doing events for about 6 years at the time so I knew what needed to be done. There was a day at the house, family members all around me crying, laughing and reminiscing on her life and there was a HUGE light bulb that went off in my head. Up until that point, I knew I liked events and event planning but I didn’t know what I really wanted to do with it and suddenly, I felt and heard my calling. I heard God’s voice in my heart tell me “You are meant to use your skills to help others with difficult life moments so that they can enjoy themselves and make memories in the end.” This inspiration for MMM was born. We had a beautiful celebration of life for her on October 3, 2014 – my 27th birthday.
September 24, 2020 – I am 9 days away from my 33rd birthday. My grandpa’s entrepreneurial spirit and my grandma’s heart of hospitality have brought me here and Magical Moments by Megan celebrated its 3rd successful year this past April. You never really know where you are going until you get there. I see now how important my grandparent’s impact was on me. This season, this time of year, the week(s) leading up to my birthday have always been so hard. But this year, despite COVID and all the hard things we have each encountered, this year is different for me. I can say now that I know my calling, I have found my purpose and I AM LIVING IT. Nothing in life is guaranteed except death. I am not afraid of death because I know I am doing all I can to live it up while I can. Magical Moments by Megan is an expression of my true self and my desire to help others create memories that we can carry with us until our final days come.
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