Today, I’m recovering from sickness. I was at home
for two days and third day today. I was sick even two days before I was down.
Even if I was already sick, I had to go to the office and be present for two
days. Even if I was already sick, I had to go to Makati and expect a friend who
confirmed attending a business meeting (a financial literary talk) but would
later would cancel due to alleged LBM. I thought I had no right to cancel
because he was the one who confirmed attendance. He cancelled while I was already
there, attending my higher series of seminar and I felt dying already of severe
headache, clogged nose, fever, back pains. I had somewhat UTI about three days
before I was down – painful and upper back pains. I drunk a lot of water and
it’s gone after two days.
Thereafter, I had somewhat that repeating allergic
rhinitis. That’s the start of my clogged nose, irritated nasal cavity,
difficulty in swallowing and then chilling. In Thursday morning, I can’t even
move my body. I felt severe headache. I can’t drink liquids – water, coffee,
milk. I vomit every liquid that I drink. The colds stuck up in my nasal cavity.
I should have bought some over-the-counter medicines last night but I didn’t. I
only bought four tablets of Biogesic, that one I had taken while on my way home
on the night I felt I was collapsing and losing consciousness as I walked along
Ayala Avenue to catch up for a jeepney bound to the train station.
I’m not used to buying OTC medicines unless
prescribed by the physician. So when colds strike me, I just leave it that way
until about three days. After three days, I have to visit our resident doctor
for medical checkup and she would eventually give me proper meds. However, this
one is quite different from what happened before. I asked myself: “am I that
old really?” “am I sick of a serious thing?” Silly things come up my mind but
I’m helpless. There was a time before when I felt so bad, I didn’t know what
happened because I went asleep for several hours. After those sleep, I realized
I was half dead perhaps? I was so hungry and felt very weak. God is so great,
the pain was gone.
I am used to undergoing medical checkups regularly.
Two years ago, I had a request for a CT scan because my head kept on aching. I
searched for cheaper lab facilities, I got one – in the East Avenue Medical
Center. On my way to the hospital (I was already inside the hospital premises
then), somebody called me up and told me, “are you really ready with what you
are doing? Or you just turned paranoid of the things you feel in your body?” He
further reminded me: “you’re a health buff and you’re so conscious of your
health. You might just be wasting money to a medical exam you don’t need at
all.” Until now, my head still aches seldom and it happens when I have colds,
upcoming menstruation and it’s very severe. Yet, my CT scan isn’t yet done.
Back to my Thursday suffering; since I can’t move
and I had nothing to eat in my pad, I texted Mama to tell her that I’m sick.
I’m a single mom who lives in the city alone. I have a small pad where I live
by myself because my kid is with my parents about 500 kilometers away from me. I
used to suffer pains and get sick alone in Metro Manila. Sometime in 2010, I
submitted myself for a hospital confinement but the Catholic hospital where I
went to refused to admit me because they told me that I am just alone and no
one’s to run errands for me. I told them that a kin can come in the morning
(because I went to the hospital in the evening), but still they refused to
admit me. Instead, they suggested that I undergo “outpatient services”. Nothing
to do since alone, I underwent to outpatient services – laboratory
examinations. I would have loved to crawl in the hospital benches waiting for
my lab results for hours until midnight. I would have shouted and asked for
help. I would have turned hysterical. Yet, I patiently turned to several
positions sitting, standing in the waiting area despite I felt as if I was
dying already because of severe headache. I asked myself: Is this the prize of
I am not used to informing my family, not even my
officemates, of my medical condition. I don’t want people to be panicking. I
don’t want to cause trouble. I don’t want bothering people. Since, this is
reality, I had to text my Mama just to inform her that I’m sick. As usual, she
would reply: “I just can’t be there. Should I’ve been near, I would have been
there for you.” Years pass by and this is her universal reply.
I didn’t marry, I promised myself to take care of
them – my parents, my family, my kid. I used to call at home – but seldom do I
receive a call from home. I used to send money at home but sometimes my text
message will end up with a reply “I got no cellphone load today.” Before, Mama
and Papa used to have individual mobile phones. I was glad then that Papa tries
his techie side but problems came. I can’t understand if it was still midlife
crisis or somewhat psychological or somewhat medical reasons. Quarrels at home
happened – Mama shouting at Papa. Great jealousy that until now I still cannot
figure out the cause and the reason behind. Great jealousy that until now I
still can’t see any person behind. I am
a father’s girl. And when I went home, I had nothing to say about the issues.
Mama had to be so angry with me. She kept on telling me I was on my father’s
side favoring him instead of her. Mama was jealous of me – she felt she was
alone in her feelings. She felt nobody understands her. She felt she got no
ally at all. She was so angry with me all over again.
I felt devastated. I had to rush to the airport
because my Tio and Tia called me up asking me to go home. They told me, a great
quarrel going on. They feared someone might end up injured of any fighting that
may occur. Until today, of all the things I heard about the quarrels, I did not
hear a story about Papa shouting at Mama or any chance of him raising a voice
on her – never. I called up a Tia, Tia Deling so close to Papa, she’s his best
friend. She narrated to me that Papa was crying because he pitied Mama so much.
He can’t understand what’s going on with her. He fears that she might get sick.
Mama is hypertensive, she has been into maintenance medicines for years now.
It’s heredity. All these quarrel things happened when I’m away while my kid is
with them. I wonder if my kid is hearing all those shouts in the middle of the
night that neighbors relay to me when I get home. My heart has crumpled.
Going home often is not my priority this time that
I have a kid and that I had to maintain both homes – my solo pad in Quezon City
and my family’s home in the province. Instead of going home, I should sacrifice
and send the money to the province instead or just add the money to my savings
for my kid’s future. To my devastation, the quarrels that happen from time to
time in my faraway home had to drain my little savings. There was a time when
my brother had to go home to just to pacify Mama. There was also a time when,
my Tia’s family (Papa’s sister) had to go to the province bringing their car
and comfort Mama of what she feels. I asked Tia to investigate on the issues
but until now, there was no clarity. It is still a question to me why Mama has
turned like that – was it still midlife crisis or somewhat psychological or
somewhat medical reasons? Mama has her stories and I respect them. I don’t want
to meddle anymore. I don’t want to comment on anything and that made Mama so
mad at me. She believed my silence means favoring Papa. She concludes my
silence means I don’t understand her. I pity her so much. I pity them. They
should be a happy couple enjoying their days. They should be sweet couple
enjoying time with my kid – their granddaughter. Those are perhaps marriage
issues? Couple problems? I believe they should inspire me to get married but I
don’t see any inspiration at all seeing couples quarrelling. What if those are
psychological or medical reasons, who would understand them? Who else but me.
In life, we will never really be able to find our
exact match. Sometimes, we thought it was enough to sign a marriage contract
but to our surprise, we got our exact opposite. Imagine two dancing shoes in
different rhythms? They must dance together in nice melody because the public
expect them to be. Tell me now – will I still marry? How will you ever persuade
me to marry? I’m 32 and I feel I’m too old already.
Back to my Thursday suffering, Mama texted me the
usual reply. If she was just near, she would love to take care of me. Mama is a
very strict woman – as in, so strict disciplinarian. Whenever we (her children)
get sick, she will take care of us to the fullest. She spends sleepless nights
taking care of us, wiping our back, feeling our forehead and neck of fever.
Stewing all possible herbal meds in the yard for us to drink the juice,
preparing a traditional and does a traditional massage for us. Mama is a devout
Catholic. She prays everyday – from Angelus to Angelus to rosary to novenas and
all sorts of prayers. When I was a kid, we used to pray the Angelus in Spanish.
We say the rosary in Spanish and the litany, I remember, in Latin. Each one of
us in the family has a novena – that which we pray for nine days since our
birthday. Mine is a novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel because I was born a day
before the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Mama’s novena is a Novena to
Our Lady of Salvation, so with my brother and my father, they all have the same
novena. My daughter has a Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe because she was born
on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since my brother and I have been
away from home for work or studies for many years now, we all carry with us our
individual novenas. To make it sure that our novenas are read, Mama has to read
them even if we read on our own or not. Even if we are far from home, we are
confident that Mama reads our novenas back home. We are sure that Mama prays
From the reply that she wished to be with me but
she’s very far, Mama told me through SMS to go home so that she could take care
of me. I replied by saying: I can’t do it to be home because physically I
really can’t. Later, she replied again that my brother is coming. I was angry
because I don’t want to see my brother.
I told her not to send him because he has work in Angeles City and that
he’s so busy. Then, I shut off my phone. I told myself that I must not cry. I
told myself: “This is it! This is reality. This happens now and this is what
will happen in the future. I must be used to this. It happened before.”
Being alone, single and single mom; I am not used
to complaining of little or big things that I feel in my physical body. I’m
training myself to be strong and face the world. I might be old as this – all
alone. I might end up with no one taking care of me. I might end up suffering
all alone. I might even die alone. I forced myself to drink milk and eat a loaf
of bread. I vomited in the morning and my head was aching so much. My tears
flowing out of pain. I can hardly open my eyes. I felt dizziness, I felt I was
fainting. In my pad, I had not enough to eat. I have a kilo of rice because I
cook with my rice cooker from time to time and a can of sardines. Last week, I
bought three cans of sardines and cooked two of them in chilli. I then felt as
if I have not eaten sardines for a century. Only one was left now and I had
nothing to do than to eat it by all means later. I may have money but how can I
order for food if I can’t read? How will
I be able to read if I felt severe dizziness?
When I’m sick, I usually order food from Chowking.
Through online ordering system, I can order for my food for the entire day
without bothering. However, today is different. How will I order online if I
can’t read any texts? How will I open my notebook? How? How will I survive
today? I can order by phone but it will take a lot of cellphone load for me to
call a hotline number. I don’t have sufficient load today. Unlike for online, I
have my cart ready and in just a click after an unlimited Smartbro service for
a day, I can have my food delivered. I have done this several times already
especially when I am sick. But today is strange. Today is different. Am I
becoming older? Or am I sick of something worse? What’s going on?
I forced myself to take Biogesic after drinking
milk and eating a loaf of bread. Within two hours, my headache subsides a
little but it is back soon. I was bothered. What will happen if this repeats?
How will I survive today? I thought of going out when the pain subsides to buy
some OTC meds but it seemed impossible. Comes noon time, I still have nothing
to eat. I forced myself to rise and cock rice. Immediately, I opened the can of
sardines which as of now I already forgot the brand. I bought three brands then
but now, I can’t recall which one I ate last Thursday. Then, I ate hurriedly
for fear of that headache killing me. I’m on teeth braces so it is a must to
brush my teeth every time I eat whether lightly or heavily. While brushing my
teeth, someone bangs the door and knocks hard for several times. I did not get
bothered. Since living alone, I don’t just open my door without looking first
at the window if who the person is. I’m also confident that I’m living in a
subdivision with three gates and security guards around. Now, my brother has
arrived. It was December 2012 since we last saw each other. After that, this is
the next time.
I didn’t like my brother to visit me at my pad. I
gave him a key of my door since last December, I wanted to get it back but I
don’t know the polite way of saying it. Until now, I haven’t taken the key
back. It is still with him. I had a heavy heart for him since last December for
reasons I wouldn’t elaborate. Since, I am his ate (elder sister), I have to
forgive. I punished him for a long time by not speaking to him, by not giving
in any way my sweetest “como esta” and simply by being mum. We had quarrel in
texts but I shut up until he was able to say a lot and me ended up saying: “you
are amazing. God bless you.” He ended up saying “I’m sorry, ate.” Since then, I
disregarded him. I didn’t even care. I shut myself from him.
Before I regularly ask for my brother’s condition,
if he is ok or not. I am fond of asking, “have you eaten?” “Take care of your
health.” “Did you have your regular medical checkup?” “Do you exercise?” Since,
then I didn’t reach out for him. I proved to him that I will not text him
anymore for the rest of my life. Until this day, I got sick and Mama asked him
to visit me and to take care of me.
Before my brother entered the police academy, he
was my boy. He graduated college from a reputable Catholic school in our
province. He had nice and good-mannered friends. He is not that so expressive
of his thoughts as mine. Sometimes when he talks, it’s like “did he ever
thought of what he was saying?” to me. Events change situations. Sometimes
events change people. Sometimes events change people for a lifetime. My boy
entered the academy. I missed him for four years. I made rivers of tears
thinking of him in his breaking period and before his recognition period.
Recognition happens only after a year of plebe-hood. My heart was shattered
seeing him walking like a stick, he was so thin then like a malnourished out of
famine, when I saw him in his recognition day. Christmas and New Year came, his
birthdays etc; my boy is no longer my boy. I can’t forget bringing him some
small pieces of luces (lights for New Year) before I went home for a vacation
during his fourth class cadetship. My tears will just flow as I pass by the
areas of Laguna whenever I went home then. I thought that somewhere in the
nearby elevated lands that I see with light, my boy is suffering. My boy is
perhaps being punished. The saddest of it was to think what he was eating, what
he was doing and who takes care of him when he is sick.
Then it came his 3rd class and 2nd
class cadetship. Things changed, my brother already had underclassmen. I was so
irritated then feeling it was the most awkward thing that I did on the face of
the planet – being his partner for two times in his hop. It was like a
Valentine ball, every female wears a night gown. There were dances, partners
that classmates were laughing at. Since I am his sister, I had to obey all what
he had to ask me to do. However, I wonder who defined that word “sister” for
them. I was surprised seeing their cadet dictionary and this is how they phrase
it with a question: “Do you have a sister?” and the answer is: “Sir, that
surging question has been languishing myself totally and mentally polluting my
mind; I became your untaxable property and that evil might besiege my family.
Its sparkle will be lost to demon like whom I would like to run from head unto
feet after asking the question with a ten peso balance on your checking
account. We might be on the same boat, Sir! So, may I pause with the same
question, do you have a sister or daughter sir?”
Things happen so fast. The cadets are now allowed
to go out – sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays. Those cadets in the police
academy came from various provinces of the country, all of them young and came
from conservative families, most often than not. As graduation day is coming,
the most timid boys and girls I saw in their plebe-hood days are now changed
into gentlemen and ladies. I won’t elaborate any further, what negative changes
I saw. However, how I wish we still nurture the best family values that we
Filipinos have. Until now I still can’t find the reason why the culture of
“mano po” was declined apologetically by my brother when he was inside the
academy during visitation period. What’s wrong with “mano po”? He just told us,
it’s “bawal”. Until now, I did not ask the reason why. I am an officer and he
is an officer now.
Here comes my boy, now a gentleman. He came all the way from Angeles City. I did
not ask him why he came. I just asked him if he has already eaten lunch. He
brought a lot of foods. He brought me chicken too. I told him I don’t eat
chicken (simply for the reason that it’s difficult to chew in braces). He ate
some food because I had just eaten my lunch – that rice and a can of sardines.
I had the feeling that he has not yet taken his lunch that time. This is the
moment when we are talking to each other since six months ago. He persuaded me
to rise and that we go to the doctor for a checkup. I told him, I’m just okay
and I don’t want to go to the doctor. Because he was earnest, I just asked him
instead to buy me some decongestant medicine that will relieve my headache and
Siblings are given to us by God for a reason. I
only have one and only brother. In other words, there are only two of us left
when our parents had to depart, which I never wanted to of course. Reality, we
have to face reality, only two of us, siblings. Me, I have one kid and I’m
never married. My brother is still single. Now, I’m thinking of estate planning
so that all our efforts including my parents’ efforts will not be wasted or
diminished in the future. For families with little estate like us, estate
planning is indeed important. Otherwise, all our small properties will end up
under division process forever and it will incur a lot for fees dividing small
properties by small people like us. Small as we are, we should always think of
being big. Estate planning is for a person with a big dream so as our families
will not be left behind.
I told myself, maybe I was sick in order for us to
speak with each other. My brother took care of me for two days. He has to
arrive before lunch and has to bring and prepare my (our) food. Before late
afternoon, he has to leave again because he was not given full freedom to leave
for a day by his immediate superior. This happened for two days, our
communication is back. He now texts me and I now respond. Although not that
often, the barrier has been cut and broken.
Without a sibling, who would have taken care of me? Yes, I have a
handful of relatives in the entire Metro Manila. They can come and take care of
me. However, it is of course not their duty, not even their responsibility to
do so. They care because they are a part of me.
I don’t like the idea of people pitying me. I shut
off from my world for two days and three days consecutively. I don’t like
people bothering a lot. I hate it when my officemates are thinking a lot out of
me. I just texted them once to inform them I can’t make it. Thereafter, I shut
my phone again for the rest of the days. I hate it answering phone calls when I
can’t even speak, eat or open my eyes. I fear people who care might even scold
me for not taking care of myself thereby causing me to be sick. It is not even
their duty to get bothered. They too have their own worries, why would they
worry about me? I believe they are not bound to care, unless one is a husband
of mine. I may have a boyfriend or somebody who loves me but I believe it is
not even his duty to care for me or to worry for me. Unless I’m tied to
somebody else, that’s where responsibility to care starts. Yes, I have parents
but I must not be dependent on them for the rest of my life. I am so blessed to
have them to take care of me and my kid. However, I must bear in mind that I
must be independent someday – that someday I have to take care of them instead
of them taking care of me. Yes, I have a brother but I have to bear in mind
that my boy already became a gentleman. That gentleman might not even be mine
anymore in the future. I may not get a hold of all the people I love one day.
What could be left would be me and my kid. Yet, a friend told me that my kid
will be a lady and when that time comes, I must learn the art of letting go.
Who else is left? Nobody else but my one and only I.
When I got sick and downed last Thursday, I thought
of posting in my Twitter account. That stubborn thing came to my mind and I
edited the sentence for several times in my head: “Wanted: Husband to take care
of me when I’m sick. Rewards: Over a million worth of insurance benefits. Note:
No ex or present BF allowed. DM me for physical characteristics required.“ I told myself, if I tweet it this way, will
it create any harm? Will it be awkward? I didn’t tweet them. I just kept them
in my mind and now, I’m expressing them in words.
I always fear of getting married. I always think
of: “what if I blame myself in the future?” How much is the cost of my
signature in a would-be marriage contract? Every signature costs thousands of
pesos for that super expensive annulment in this only Catholic country in Asia.
I admit I am cynical. However, human as I am, I too know how to love. I love in
full and I should give it all. However, life isn’t perfect. Every circumstance
and every thing happens for a reason and for a purpose. Some people are given
only a kid but never a spouse. Some people are given a spouse but never a kid.
Some spouses are given plenty of kids but have nothing to eat. Some spouses
have lots of kids and lots to eat but end up in a lot of challenges due to
illnesses. Some end up a broke. Some people end up taking care of dogs and cats
instead of kids. Some couples end up adopting kids because they can’t have any
from their own. Some have tried a lot of technology and drained their resources
just to have a child but end up nothing. Big or small as we are, we have
I am a single mom. Yes, I am a breadwinner. I have
a kid of my own. I already so blessed. What else can I ask for? However, why do
they keep on teasing me in my workplace? Why do they keep on telling me to get
married? Because they got kinder of me being teased than others? I told one for
twice already that it will take a miracle for me to change my mind and get
married. What if I decide to get married and no one’s to marry at all? Isn’t it
funny? Whom should I marry? Then everyone will end up tweeting LOL or LMFAO.
I’m choosy. What if my family would end up arranging a marriage for me? I don’t
know, I can’t tell. I’m so afraid that I might not please Mama or I might hurt
Papa. What if they end up blaming me? I told myself many times: how much is the
cost of an igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic rock that I will be hitting my
head in the future if I marry a wrong person?
Whenever I hear the song “Dance with My Father”, I
have to hide what I feel. I feel so emotional with that song. I have been to
several wedding ceremonies already, I have seen fathers cry. I have seen
fathers dancing their daughter – the bride – in tears. For me, I thought of I
will never be able to dance with my father in my life. I will never be able to
hug him. Maybe we will dance together in heaven one day and that would be the
happiest of all.
Now that I’m big enough, I always long for a hug. I didn't feel hug in my family as often as I could. Last time I felt a hug was
seven years ago – that was a hug from my parents. I wonder if when I will ever
feel a hug from them again. Now that I have a kid I always long to hug her. I
thought of her hugs as the hugs I did not receive or the hugs I missed from my
parents. We, siblings never hug. I don’t know why we don’t have that culture of
hugging in the family; maybe because we were raised in disciplinarian and
conservative family. I would have instituted reform for me and my kid but I simply
cannot impose the reforms I want to make because I don’t have a kingdom of my
own. I am under the kingdom of my parents until now. Yes, I am hugging my girl as often as I could
when I go home. I always think of that my kid will someday shun away from
hugging me. I thought of time going so fast that childhood happens only once. I
believe that parents should hug their kids as often as they could because one
day we will not be able to hug them anymore.
My days of suffering being sick is becoming over. My
brother scolded me before leaving. He told me not to do a lot of things in my
recovery. He cautioned me to take care of my self. For me, being alone is
reality. It is not a novel; it is a true to life story. Even if I still feel
dizzy, I had to clean my area. I have to wash my clothes. I have to look for
the water-delivery man and the garbage collector. I have to go to the grocery
by my own to buy me some stuff. I have to do a lot of things by myself. As I am
writing this account, I still felt little dizziness. I took advantage of the
momentum; otherwise it will just be gone. Let us bear in mind that being alone
is not a punishment. Being alone has a reason. Imagine having billions of
people on the face of the planet yet I still can’t find someone for me for the
rest of my life? Sometimes funny; life it is. Without life there would be no
fun. I just calm myself by saying this often: there are always lesser and
greater persons than me. I’m already so blessed with what I have and I must
cherish it every single day.