Filipino nanny and mother of two Maricon Gerente died in hospital Monday evening, but her dream for her daughters will live on. “For me, personally, this gives me peace because I know that she’s in a better place and she’s not suffering,” said close friend and former employer Jodie Gilbert. The Oakville nanny left her native Philippines approximately a decade ago in pursuit of a better life for herself and her daughters. She found work in Paris, France, working for a family for about five years and then was hired by Jodie and Eli Gilbert as a live-in nanny for their young children.Gerente maintained constant contact with her daughters Lean, 14, and Saniel, 11, by telephone and Internet and visited yearly. She also supported them financially and sent them to private school. Gerente went to school on weekends and became educated as a personal support worker. She then moved out of the Gilbert home, but remained good friends with the family, when she found a job in her field. Her dream was to settle in Canada and to bring her daughters to live with her, where she would be better able to care and provide for them. However, before she could obtain her permanent residence status, she suffered from a brain tumour, from which she never recovered. Last month, her daughters, chaperoned by Gerente’s cousin Aileen Banzontan, flew to Oakville to see and say goodbye to their mother, thanks to the help of the Gilberts and support of the community. The daughters have since returned to the Philippines.
"They’re of course just ridden with emotion given the fact that they had just literally left a week ago. I almost feel like Maricon knew that she was the best she could be while the kids were here,” Jodie said. “They’re obviously having a very hard time with it, but at the same time they know that it’s for the best and that they have people here who will take care of everything for them. They’ll come back to (take possession of) her ashes when they come back in August.” The live-in nanny was granted permanent residence while in hospital. Furthermore, her daughters received temporary residency status with a study permit, while Banzontan, who will be the girls’ guardian, received temporary residence status and a work permit. Gerente’s daughters and Banzontan are now settling their lives in their native country and intend to return together to live in Canada, where they will be able to apply for permanent residence status. "It’s bittersweet,” said Jodie, in a previous interview with the Beaver. “This is obviously what Maricon wanted. Here, her dream has come true so I’m happy for that and I’m happy the girls have this opportunity. But then a part of me is also sad, because it’s not going to be the real dream that she wished for.” A visitation for Gerente will be held at Glen Oaks Memorial Gardens & Reception Centre, 3164 Ninth Line, on Thursday (May 30) from 4-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at the same location on Friday at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks well-wishers to donate to the Maricon trust fund to support her daughters at the Bank of Montreal, bank number: 001, Branch: 2472, Account: 897-8219. Interac and E-Transfers can be done by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be made through the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling Account, account number 771296605, or online at http://beyondmiles.aeroplan.com/eng/charity/360.