This is an excerpt from our May Towncrier regarding the passing of our matron, Iluminada Blasquez:
An Illuminated Life
Reflections on Illuminada
I recently watched a video about someone explaining that happiness isn’t determined by how much water is or isn’t in the glass -- it’s determined by accepting how much water is in the glass, accepting it with satisfaction, and then being okay with trying to pursue more. I believe in many ways, my grandmother didn’t have a lot of water in her glass all the time, but by the end of her life, “the cup poureth over”.
Iluminada did not have an easy life but she was content and made the most of every moment. She was raised in the countrysides of rural Philippines. She was a sickly child but ironically that saved her. Her family worked to send her to school since she was not capable of doing the manual labor. Starting from nothing and being in a working family, this girl would eventually gain a bachelor’s and a master’s teaching college English literature.
Her relationship with Arturo was not always easy. Though loving and well-meaning, he was a cantankerous man who had his own demons to battle. He trapped himself in an affair for ten years, one that Iluminada knew about. But she never left him, and instead she remained tenacious, serving her family, running the business, getting her master’s. Ten years later he would return to her patient love that waited and together they enjoyed the best years of their beautiful marriage.
In his sixties Arturo and her daughter Veronica became very sick and passed away. Iluminada went back and forth between the United States and the Philippines watching and caring for both of her loved ones in their final stages, all the while caring for some of the grandchildren who had become like second children to her. Despite everything that life sent her, Lu was never lacking in love to pour into the next generation.
In a utilitarian world that’s taught us to run when relationship, jobs, and circumstances get hard, Iluminada thrived as an example of the complete opposite. She was a mother to so many, and a woman who will forever embody industriousness, tenacity, perseverance, and love.