Family matters

Family matters

After three months of missing to write for the Filipino Journal, at last, I am back with my column. I’ll be far from being quiet again.

Several months ago, I had to go back to the Philippines because my mom was in ill-health. According to her doctor, my mom was in the terminal stage of cancer and might just have to live not longer than six months. With the anxiety of not seeing my mom while she’s still alive outweighing the fear of losing my job, I made a quick decision to go home,serve my mom, and just simply be with her in her remaining days.

Fate must be a tease or life just wants me to learn lessons the uncoventional way. Maybe at one point in your life, you do not feel like wanting to explain yourself to the whole world. That was basically what i felt that time. I did not want to turn my emotional television on. So for my long trip, I’d rather be quiet, or chitchat with anyone some trivial topics. Just when I thought that I will meet people in my trip to divert me from my emotional side, I bump into people who are in the same boat with me. Aboard the plane bound to the Philippines, I was seated beside a Filipina (and if i remember it right, her name is Emmy) who is from Winnipeg and is rushing home because her grandma passed away. She was telling me how her grannies have provided for her ever since she was a kid, and how much it pains her to know that her grandma’s death came too quickly.

In one of my flights too back to Canada, I met a Filipina from Alberta who went to our home country because her dad died of heart attack. She was sharing to me good memories about how their family started from scratch and eventually, bettered their lives. She told me, “with all that we went through, dad is always present in each scene”. She was holding back her tears while she was telling me her stories.

I do not want to appeal for too much emotions through my article. Moreso, I do not intend to ignite drama here. Yet again, meeting these two strangers made me realize that in the world of bombarding technologies, fads and whatnot, families are still being valued, in fact, are priorities. This, I am so happy to know.

Maybe those women I met weren’t clowns to paint a smile on my face in our conversations, but certainly, they gave relief to my troubled heart that time. I was convinced that I made the right decision to go home, and anyone in my shoes would have done the same- do whatever it takes- lose job, exhaust savings, etcetera- just to be with the family. May it be death or sickness, occasions and good times, struggles or triumphs, we Filipinos just want to be part of the experience, because this is what the sense of family is all about. We can go beyond ourselves and leave our comfort zones behind if our family needs us to be with them.

I work as a nurse in a long-term care facility, and I have had glimpses of how familes could impact the lives of the residents. I see how a simple family visit could make a client’s ordinary day extraordinary, or how some recover quickly from illness when their families are beside them. I see how some people keep holding on for life because of their families, and how some people could decide to go, once they see their families are complete and are beside them. I have heard some people in their last gasps, uttering words of thanks to their families who have been there for them, and words of hope, that even if they are gone, the bereaved members will still continue to take care of one another. On the one hand, I also witnessed how some people live, get sick, and die, without a touch of a hand from their families. To me, it is awful. It can be the most sorrowful journey anyone could take- to live and die alone. Meanwhile, it could be most comforting to have the gift of people who remember you and choose to build memories with you. This is what having a family is all about. This is why to have a family is a blessing by itself.

And as to my mom, she passed away just three months after she was diagnosed with the cancer metastasis. Going back to the Philippines to be with my mom in the uncertainties of her life and death was the smartest decision I have ever made in my entire life. For three months, I was able to build good memories with her, take care of her, and let her feel that she was not alone in her battle. She suffered a lot, but then, she died in our bare arms, in the arms of her family- just the way she wants it to be.