In life’s darkest hours, a mother’s resilience shines through

Taken on Simone's birthday last December 2020, this is one of the last few photographs where her family is complete and before her husband succumbed to sepsis.

Motherhood is one gigantic yet special job that requires 24-hour dedication and a lifetime of commitment to her family.

A mother is not only a mother to her children, but also a wife to her husband, a daughter to her parents, and a highly important part of the society she lives in.

But how can a mother move forward in life amid a pandemic and life's darkest times?

Simone Claire Ting, a 43-year-old mom of four, has been working as a clerk at the Medical Social Service of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) for 10 years now.

This job fulfills her desire of helping people in need of any social service assistance and at the same time, provide for her children, husband, and senior citizen parents all living under one roof during the first months of the pandemic.

When the government announced a total lockdown last March 2020, Claire had no choice but to thrive in the new normal and even switched to riding her bicycle from her home in Malabon City to UP-PGH just to get to work and still fulfill her duty.

"Nasa 1hr and 30 mins po ang pag padyak. Lahat na nga po ng bridges papunta ng Manila nadaanan ko para lang po malaman ko kung anong way ang mas maiksing ibiyahe (It takes one and a half hour of cycling. I have already been through all the bridges in Manila just to know which route is shorter)," shared Claire.

The constant thought of possibly bringing the virus into her family is also one thing that makes her anxious. One of her children, Eunice, is also working at UP-PGH as an encoder at the swabbing center.

Strict time management is the key for a working mom like her. She still manages to take care of her children by protecting herself from the virus and constantly checking on their needs.

Luckily, she has her little sister to help look after their parents who, with the aid of a government pension, still have the means to have their necessities.

"Yung mga anak ko po hindi ko rin po pinalalabas. Kami ng husband ko lang po talaga ang lumalabas noon. Tapos before po ako umuwi nagtatanong na po ako sa bahay kung may mga kailangan para po pag uwi dala ko na yung mga kailangan nila (I didn't allow my children to go outside. It was just my husband and I who went outside. Then before I go home I ask them what they need so that I could bring it to them at home),” shares Simone.

But life turned completely upside down when she, her husband, and three children contacted Covid-19 last August 2021.

And on October 1, a day after the 7th birthday of their youngest child, her husband suffered from a stroke and eventually passed away days after due to septic shock. He used to be a freelance layout artist who also tried his luck selling food but the pandemic made it hard to push through.

Simone's last moment with her husband was when she and her sister brought him to the hospital. They were denied the chance to be with him even after testing negative on the RT-PCR test.

"They were trying their best po para masave siya. But maybe it was really his time to go. Hindi po madali lahat sa akin kasi for 24 years I was with him (They were trying their best to save him. But maybe it was really his time to go. It’s not easy for me as I’ve been with him for 24 years).”

Now a solo parent, Simone continues to move forward in life for the people looking upon her. Just like every mother, she draws strength from the love of her family to continue each day.

Change is inevitable and it will always come but it will surely prove how strong a mother’s heart is. (Luisa Cabato)