This year we attended the annual christmas party of my mother's friends (parents of my classmates since playhouse in Angelicum) without my mother. It was only last year when we attended the same party at the very same house with my mother. Little did we know that a year later, we would not be attending the party with her. My tito Rudy (the husband of our host Tita Net Munar) went to our table and fondly recalled his craving for my mother's staple "toka" for the party -- Laing. He told us (me, my brother-in-law and sister Rose) that it was his favorite dish and that he looked forward to these parties for a taste of mama's laing. Of course, we didn;t bring laing this year. My mother's friends are still the same, although a little older. Tito rudy munar still gave money as gifts, and tita net prepared her specialty paksiw lechon and dinuguan. It was fun, but we all knew there was something missing. We missed our mother at that party -- although im sure she was there in spirit.