First of all, her daughter in the U.S. needed a way to that elusive green card. However, how could she leave her husband alone in his uphill battle against corruption in our government? Most of all, how can she give up on her life long work in her community?
"The United States indeed has been our friend all these years. I have nothing but respect and gratitude to your country for having helped our people in so many ways. For one, we owe it to the Thomasites whom your government sent to our country to set up our system of public education. In fact, my father played tennis with them when he worked as a school superintendent in the Northern Region of Luzon. So it is with my deepest regret that I have to turn down your invitation."
She mailed her letter to the U.S. Embassy, and never said a word about it again.
Then, one Saturday morning she wrote on her diary before going to a meeting with her friends at Soroptimist, an international organization of women that she led as president of the Philippine Chapter. "The Lord has truly resurrected in my heart, in more ways than one....I shall see my parents, brother and sister...more so be part of God's kingdom."
After her meeting, she came home very happy. She learned that the money she lobbied for the first safe house for battered women and children in Paranaque came through. She entered the bathroom to get ready for dinner. Then quietly, she left us.
Somehow she knew that her "green card" to heaven had finally arrived.
Our mother was born on January 24, 1925. A few years after her death, our family with the help of our friends set up the Lilia Santos-Villa Memorial Endowment.
Happy birthday, Mom. We miss you.