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Remembering Auntie Miriam

Who the superwoman was behind closed doors and in private

By Bambi Defensor 

Images by Noel B. Pabalate

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She was feisty and fiery in public but among family, she was incredibly sweet and funny. The moment we would step in the door, she would greet us with a warm “Hello, sweetheart!” and a big hug. She was particularly fond of little children and that became all the more apparent when she started having her own grandchildren. When she was undergoing new therapy for cancer, one of her primary concerns was if she would be allowed to hug her grandchildren.

A LOVING MOTHER, WIFE, AND AUNT (Above) Bambi Defensor (left) and Marge Defensor with their Auntie Miriam; amd senator with her husband (rightmost) Jun Santiago, son Archie (leftmost) with his wife and kids in our exclusive shoot last Christmas

A LOVING MOTHER, WIFE, AND AUNT (Above) Bambi Defensor (left) and Marge Defensor with their Auntie Miriam; amd senator with her husband (rightmost) Jun Santiago, son Archie (leftmost) with his wife and kids in our exclusive shoot last Christmas

Anyone could tell she was a woman of order and discipline, but there was another side to her that was equally warm, endearing, and even vulnerable. And that’s the side that we would always remember. When I was going through a difficult time, she immediately told me to come over to her house so that she could counsel me. “Don’t be sad,” she said. “I used to look at depression in the face and say, ‘You will not win.’ Life will always have problems. You just live to win.” Before I left her house she gave me another warm hug and said, “If you need anything, just call me.”

She would always have wanted to be remembered as a fighter because that’s what she truly was. She fought for her life even when it had become painful to do so and she did it for her family and her supporters, especially the youth. That’s why we as a family will continue the fight for her in our own little way. Whether it would be to excel at what we do or to stand for what is right, we will make sure that a part of her will always stay with us.