Keeping sane through life’s rollercoaster ride

Published November 26, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin


Survivor’s Tale


(The author is a 38-year-old full-time mother of two doing a little bit of everything. She lives in Parañaque City.)

May 7, 2020 was when we lost my mother-in-law to cancer. That was when COVID-19 cases were increasing and lockdowns were being implemented.

I had to be my husband’s strength. Two years prior to that, we were already experiencing the exhausting effects of my mom-in-law’s chemotherapy, radiology, and physical therapies. And by God’s grace, we were able to pull through that situation.

After mourning her loss, my husband went back to work and was welcomed by the anxiety of losing his job. A senior officer was announcing manpower lay-offs for the company to survive. That was when I started to worry about our future. Our children were all so young and all in school. I thought about how to sustain our responsibilities, like pay our bills and other unpaid transactions.

We had started a small business and with some luck, we were able to build a name and reputation and customers trusted us. The business had started to prosper.

Later, we were so relieved to know that my husband was not on the list of the company lay-off plan. We were so thankful that we wanted to repay God’s blessing by helping those people who had lost their jobs by giving them jobs, even on a daily basis only.

It all looked settled until May 2021. A few days after we commemorated the first death anniversary of my mom-in-law, my husband started having symptoms of COVID- 19. He had high fever that reached 40 degrees Celsius, a dry cough, and an itchy throat.

I immediately isolated the kids. I was left to take care of all the chores as we have no house help. On the sixth day, he complained about having difficulty in breathing. At that point, I almost lost my mind! I love my husband very much, much more than my life! The only thought in my mind then was: “I can’t afford to lose him. My kids are so small, how would our life be without him, we still have so much to do!”

It was mentally draining. I finally brought him to the COVID-19 emergency room of Makati Medical Center after hours of looking for a hospital which all said they were already in full capacity. It was a miracle to me that MMC accepted him.

I turned my back the moment he entered the hospital because I cried thinking that may be the last time I would see him alive. I went home, took care of the kids, deep-cleaned and sanitized our home overnight, and slept at 5:30 a.m. As soon as my back touched the bed, I felt that I may have the virus too. I woke up at 8 a.m. with chills and a high fever. But I am a mother and I needed to take care of the kids so I stood up, brushed it off and started managing the household.

It was then when I realized that the virus had taken a toll on our business too. We had lost clients because we weren’t able to comply with their orders. We started having financial difficulties also because it is really expensive to be sick.

My husband went home after a week in the hospital which was just good timing because I needed to be admitted. My swab test result turned out to be positive.

As I lay alone in the hospital, I realized that months ago I was scolding my kids just because they were too noisy and screaming while playing. I had felt very tired because of the endless cleaning and tidying in the house. Now I was alone in deafening silence, well-rested but my life seemed not to make sense at all. I missed my kids and husband so badly. I missed the screaming and super loud laughter of those tiny human beings. I miss their fights.

I suddenly remembered that I haven’t prayed for so long already. I felt so alone and in despair because I haven’t spoken to anyone to release the stress and other emotions I needed to expel. That night I prayed so hard. I prayed that He would take over because I don’t know what to do anymore, that I was already overpowered by stress and anxiety that I can not think and function well anymore.

The next day, my doctor cleared me to go home. I really felt so small. I had forgotten that there is someone up there who can turn all our situations for the better overnight.

As of this writing, I am still facing battles. My mother, who just turned 60, has been diagnosed with early onset of Dementia in the form of Alzheimer’s disease. It really takes a lot of patience and courage to understand that my mom is now like a child. Actually, my five-year-old child knows more than my mother; he knows his name and address but my mom cannot remember that anymore. It hurts to know that she will never remember the things I always would, but I am at peace knowing that her heart will never forget me.

Our business is now slowly catching up and regaining clients and we are hopeful for better days ahead.