Ano ang patay? (What is death?) chorus the 3 boys.
Cristy, the group’s secretary was shocked with the question and fumbled to find the right words to explain the children the meaning of death.
Ano yung kabaong? (What is a coffin?) Bakit nakahiga si Nanay sa kabaong? (Why is mother lying inside a coffin?) Bakit hindi sya sa kama na lang mahiga? (Why can’t she just sleep on the bed?)
Again Cristy lost with words and when she almost cannot control her emotions and in the brink of crying, she changed the topic.
The boys did not go to school yesterday, the morning of their mom’s unexpected death. They said their father cried a lot last night and hit the wall but they have no idea what happened, they didn’t cry. They have no concept of loss or death. They were happy, laughing, joking when we came over and casually telling where their mom is like she’s just really sleeping.
Alita, the mom, was a strong woman in my opinion in spite of what the others say about her. I only met her towards the end of last year and I was impressed, she was tenacious, she knows what she wants for her children and very patient in taking care of 4 boys and 3 of them are visually impaired with physical deformities of the trunk and upper limbs. When you understand their situation, you will understand why she fight strongly to get what’s due for her children times three.
Now she’s dead.
What will happen now to the family she left behind?
The irony of the situation was that not long ago her family was featured in an afternoon social service show where Alita kept on talking about “I am training them to look after themselves because I cannot be with them all the time” like a premonition of an impending demise and the host mentioned about the parents getting old and the children are very independent and are joy to have because they bring home the medals for their parents but the reality is they will still need help from someone. (Watch the show here Mutya ng Masa).
Two weeks later the children are motherless. She’s gone like what she just said in the TV.
Because there is no money, Alita told her husband to not bother to bring her to the hospital and just used a nebulizer to help her breath until after 3 days, at night she just said I can’t go on anymore and collapsed and eventually died. Neighbors helped them get funeral services and prepare her for the wake.
How much would have cost to go and get her hospitalized? If only ...
I heard of it late afternoon yesterday. Was in shock, I don’t want to believe it, I just saw her a month ago and we were even chummy because she was so grateful of all the help given to them by the group and I was happy to know that because that completely dispel all the negative thoughts I have of her based on the stories of other people who doesn’t like her. So we called someone who can confirm before we send out the news to the others — it was true and my friend and I were dumbfounded and immediately our thoughts went to the 3 children with disabilities.
What will happen to the children?
Who will now fight for her children’s rights?
It breaks my heart thinking about the children, the real world is cruel.
When I actually saw them last night I have to pull back and not cry because I felt pity – yes pity for the children and a lot of question rushed in my head for when she’s finally laid to rest.
When the children realize there’s no Nanay to wake them up and help them get ready to school everyday and wait for them to go home, how will they react? Will they finally understand the meaning of death?
When they don’t hear their mother’s familiar voice, will they realize she’s not waking up from resting?
Will they finally cry?
Their father will now have to look after all of them on top of his job driving a tricycle earning pittance I must say. They said relatives would come and mourn with them, will they talk about the children’s future?
It’s really hard to know what will happen tomorrow. We cannot do anything but to wait for the situation to settle and for the family to realize their situation. For now all we can do is to pray for her soul and for the future of the family she left behind.
For Alita … may your soul rest in peace!