Thursday, December 22, 2011

Afterglows in the Sunset of Our Lives

Sunset afterglow as viewed from the balcony of Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Marinduque, Philippines.

The other day, I took a photograph of a sunset and its afterglow from the west balcony of our retirement home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Looking at the photo reminded me of both Macrine’s (my wife for 54 years) and my professional life in the US. Macrine retired as Manager, Quality Assurance Nurse from one of Maryland’s Home Health Nursing Company. I retired from the FDA as a chemistry Team Leader in the Center of New Drugs, Silver Spring, MD.

Both of us had satisfying careers (I had received several awards, letters of commendation and appreciation, and an EEO award from FDA). So when we retired in the early 2000, we often asked ourselves if this is all that we could contribute to society and to the community?

Retirement is often called “the sunset of your life”. Are there afterglows in our lives that we can be proud of? Yes, indeed! The following are examples of the afterglows in the sunset of our lives.

Five years ago, Macrine received a letter of appreciation and thanks from Governor Carmencita Reyes because of her involvement in Marinduque International Inc. Medical Mission of Love, 2006. Macrine was president and over-all chairperson of the medical mission in Marinduque that year. Here’s an excerpt from Carmencita Reyes letter of thanks:

Dear Mrs. Katague,

I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for all the assistances extended by MI, Inc. Your association is one of our full-time partners in the delivery of health services particularly in the conduct of medical/surgical missions which benefited hundreds of Marinduquenos. Thank you so much for the support and assistance extended to our administration and to the people of Marinduque. Mabuhay Kayo!

About four years ago, Macrine and I also received a letter of thanks and appreciation from then Governor Antonio Carrion for our efforts to promote tourism in the island not only during Easter but also the whole year round. The letter mentioned several of my blogs and articles that proclaimed my love for the province and encouraging other Filipino-American Balikbayans (Retirees) to build retirement homes on the island.

In 2009, my dream as a “citizen journalist” was attained when two of my articles were accepted for publication in HULIQ News. The first article was about Marinduque as the Ecotourism capital of the Philippines. The second was on the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

Last but not least, just recently two of my hundreds of readers of my blogs commented: “I have been reading your various blogspots and websites for about one week now. They are all well written and great reading. What I have been reading and following intently in your blog is your life story, very interesting indeed. Please keep on writing and thanks for opening yourself up in your blogs.”

A second reader also commented: “I have been following your blog for quite some time. I learned a lot about Marinduque and the Philippines. I especially enjoyed reading your childhood experiences during the Japanense-American War. Your contribution as an FDA employee to the burnt victims of the bombing in New York and the Pentagon is indeed commendable and worthy of an award. Keep writing!”

Will there be afterglows in the future? I hope so. I would like to hear that our oldest grandson (now 20) got married and gave us a great grandchild (that Macrine and I can pamper whenever we want to). In addition, we would like to hear the news that our youngest grand daughter (now 8) had graduated from college and that both Macrine and myself are still healthy to attend her graduation.

Lastly, Macrine and I thank the Lord for the past, present and future afterglows in the sunset of our lives.

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