Their source of strength is their love for each other and the promise of better days
Soon-to-be married couples worldwide had to cancel, postpone, or change their wedding plans because of Covid-19. Ryan and Trisha know this traumatic experience by heart as the lockdown was mandated just days before their big day which was originally set back in March. To make things worse, their rescheduled celebration for August was halted again due to the continued presence of coronavirus. As if this wasn’t enough of a hurdle, the couple and their families simultaneously found themselves facing a greater plight: Ryan’s battle against cancer. Amid these painful ordeals, Ryan and Trisha share their journey with us and how their relationship has become stronger in their efforts to encourage one another to keep moving forward.
Where were you in the wedding planning when Covid-19 hit?
Ryan: Everything was already set in place. Planning was finished–from the event organizers to the wedding suppliers. Even the banquet hall and airplane tickets for Trisha’s parents and relatives (who are from Davao) were already booked for their flight to Manila where our reception would be held. We were in high spirits and super excited for the upcoming month-long honeymoon to Europe. I had already found substitutes to take my place at my work while I am on vacation, so I was really looking forward to that much-awaited bonding time with Trisha.
Your wedding was supposed to happen around the third week of March. How did you feel when you had to cancel it?
R: It was so difficult to say the word “cancel” to our family and friends, because my family is Chinese, we have to kwa di tsi (Fookien phrase which means to check the lunar calendar) for an auspicious wedding date and to make sure no one in our family is chong (Fookien word for incompatible energy in feng shui). The feelings included the stress of reorganizing everything, from venue availability to compatibility of schedules of our godparents and guests, etc. Emotionally, it also took a toll on us, because definitely we are sad that our dream wedding, which was so close in reach, was already canceled altogether.
You had it postponed to August, which unfortunately could not push through again. What’s your plan?
R: Due to the pandemic, the feasible next step is to really just reschedule to 2021. Since there really is no certainty as to when this pandemic will end. On the brighter side, we are actually considering a very small and intimate wedding before the year ends.
When did you find out you had cancer?
R: I was experiencing severe pain in my leg for over a long time in May. When I finally decided to have it checked, the doctor said there was a tumor located in my left calf area. After undergoing a series of biopsy and other necessary tests, I was diagnosed with high grade osteosarcoma stage two.
Trisha, how did you feel after learning about Ryan’s health condition?
Trisha: I felt sad, devastated, and shocked all at once. We shouldn’t be spending our time in the hospital as future newlyweds. If everything had fallen according to schedule, Ryan and I would have been traveling and enjoying each other’s company. But I feel that this is part of God’s plan, and I believe this is meant for us to emerge stronger together.
What’s your daily routine like nowadays? (Both families had decided for Trisha to move in with Ryan to help care for her fiancé)
T: Both sides of our families have decided for me to move in with Ryan to take care of him, so we wake up at 8 a.m. every day to have breakfast. Then Ryan gets his daily dose of vitamin D with reasonable sun exposure. We just stay at home when Ryan does not have his chemotherapy sessions. But when he has treatment scheduled, we spend our days in the hospital as Ryan recovers from the chemotherapy. Our daily lives have changed so much since. It has become simpler, and we are happy to be able to spend it alongside each other. At night, we always make sure to pray before sleeping.
It is important to stay positive, but we understand it can be difficult in your situation, plus we are in a pandemic. Where do you look to for inspiration?
T: Our friends and family have been very supportive and have shown deep care for us. Their encouragement helps us to stay positive. Ryan likes good food whenever he is out of the hospital, so we take pleasure in these simple joys. He particularly feels grateful and blessed to be surrounded by loved ones. Even though he is suffering from cancer, he acknowledges that there are many others who are also encountering the same predicament. We have been meditating, appreciating life a lot more, and counting our blessings.
Has anything changed in your relationship? How do you cope together?
T: Nothing much has changed, but we do feel that we are loving each other more, and have grown stronger together. Our faith has grown both individually and as a couple. In a way, we feel that our bond has become sturdier and have confidence that we will not be so easily shaken by the hardships of life because we will fight them together.
What message do you have for each other?
Ryan to Trisha: Thank you for always waking up at night to accompany me to the bathroom. You handle all the “caregiver” duties and make sure that I drink my medicine on time. I am grateful and thankful that you stay by side all the time.
Trisha to Ryan: Always stay happy and strong. This is just an adversity that you will definitely conquer. It is tough and tiring, but I know you are a fighter, and I am always here for you.
Do you have a message for other couples whose wedding celebration had also been delayed?
R & T: Take things one step at a time. We know it can be tiring and tedious to arrange everything again, but do not forget that what’s important is to be united in front of God and celebrate your union together with your family.
Any life lessons that you would want to share?
R: Life is unpredictable and we should not take it for granted. Always keep a cool head when deciding on a matter, as it can affect the lives of the people around us. Do not lose hope in the face of adversity, because there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, to always have empathy is something we both want to impart to everyone.