Phone Call

I already received the wake up call I have been waiting for.

People I am often with knows how was I doing in the past weeks, and it wasn’t so good at all. I have been battling with dark forces in my head slowly consuming me. I was sad and anxious, feeling so problematic and lost. At times, resolving to alcohol and late nights out to get my mind out of thinking nonsense. I would also want to point it as reason as to why I haven’t been doing good at work, I can’t get you to believe it though. Wondering what would be the root cause of this mind battle I’m slowly losing myself to?

Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. *drum roll, drum roll, drum roll*

 
I come to realize the weight of responsibilty I carry in my shoulders to provide for our family back home. Don’t get me wrong, I am not forced by anybody to provide for them, well, aside from the reality of life of course. And I hate that reality. I totally do. Selfish, ain’t I? Believe me, I have been praying for a change of heart regarding this matter. I have long been praying to receive the grace for me to wholeheartedly accept the said responsibility. But the resolution to this matter takes time, and the wait is nothing but difficult.

 
I strongly believe I am not alone in this battle. There were people and ciscumstances in the past weeks that enlightened me, though I seem to get stuck in the dark corners of my mind, or if not totally stuck, then I am taking it one step at a time to drag myself out of this dark side.

 
Then, few days ago, while I was in deep sleep, I was awakened by an unexpected phone call. I literally answered the call while my mind was still dreaming and automatically mumbled ‘Good afternoon!’ upon recognizing the voice on the other line, only to realize afterwards that it was only past eleven in the morning. The caller was someone who has a special place in my heart, mother of a dear friend who passed away last year. After the short phone conversation, I was preparing myself to meet her. Finally, after 12 months, I will see her again. It was like facing my fear; I was excited to meet this woman, but fearful at the same time for I will be facing the woman with the exact resemblance of the person I was always with before, yet I could no more see anywhere on this earth now. Anyway, it was good to see the old lady I fondly call ‘Nay’ (short for Filipino translation of mother, Nanay). We had a good lengthy conversation over lunch at McDonald’s. And as I talked to her, she still tears upon seeing my photos with her late daughter on my phone gallery, yet still displays optimism and oh, that beautiful smile that never left her face the whole time we were talking, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How could this woman who’se heart was broken so bad due to the loss of a loving young child still face tomorrow with such optimism and hope beaming through her smile like rays of sunshine?” God, bless this woman I dearly love! And just like that, realizations dawned to me.

 
There are people who has problems far greater than mine, people who have more reasons to be sad. I shouldn’t let sadness and anxiety consume me, rather I should take care of people like this woman in front  of me who clearly needs an ear to listen and someone to relate with.  Its better to divert my attention to people who needs me more. After all, that’s a life calling I know I need to respond to.

 
This realization was affirmed while I was browsing my Facebook news feed upon going home. A video of Bro. Bo Sanchez, an evangelist and inspirational writer uploaded the day before totally struck me. It was like God was speaking to me through him, telling me exactly what I need to do. It was the answer to all the questions I’ve been asking myself for weeks already. The message was clear and it says to me, “You who are sad, lonely, and feeling down with the weight of problems on your shoulders, go and serve others who needs you. The only way to get you out of this difficult emotional battle is to forget yourself and tend to others instead.”

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Today marks the first death anniversary of my dear friend who succumbed to death due to leukemia. As expected, our memories together are flashing on my mind again (I am trying not to feel sad). Im currently exchanging text messages with her mother while at the same time reading the gospel. 

I am stunned because, in Luke 7:11-17, the Gospel speaks about the son of a widow restored to life by Jesus. Is this a coincidence or is Jesus trying to tell me something?  
In the Gospel, Jesus was moved by the widow who lost her only son. Understanding the pain she feels, He had pity on her and was so merciful that He brought back to life the young man who died. Jesus may not have brought back to life every dead person (at least not until the end of days) but He is as merciful to everyone as He was to the widow. I can sense Jesus saying, “for every family, friends, and/or people grieving for the loss of a loved one, know that God’s mercy is on you.” 
And so I realized, Jesus won’t allow us to suffer all along, alone. So grieve not, for the love of God is with you, together with His mercy. He will be your joy. Just seek Him, allow Him to know how you truly feel. Lift up to Him everything. 

I guess, Jesus just consoled me. I am overwhelmed. ❤

Heartbreak

​”Will I be selfish if I cry? Will I be selfish if I feel pain? Will I  be selfish if I can’t let go just yet?”

Those were the questions I was asking myself September of 2016. Calendar pages turned, a lot of things happened, September’s coming once again. I still cry, I still feel pain, I do not know if I have fully let go of you already. How would I know? Memories are still clear in my mind. Do I really have to let go of them? If yes, how? Maybe this is one way of doing so? Maybe if I spill out everything here, I will not need to keep them in my mind anymore?

Sorry if this bothers you, I’m coping up well, please believe that. God placed quite a number of people around me to keep me company and make me feel happy. I’m doing okay… though there are times that I still miss you.

June 2016.
I had many reasons to be sad. Early days of this month when you started messaging me about your sickness. I learned that you were hospitalized after 3 days of on and off fever due to dengue as you told me. We were wondering what’s really wrong with your body.


June 10th
when my roommate, Karen, whom you met once went back to Tacloban City for good. I was sad because having you still admitted in the hospital for some unknown reason and her going home left me feeling SO alone. The two of you were the only people closest to family that I have.



June 12
when you broke the news to me. After undergoing laboratory exams which are unusual for dengue patients, you were diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. You even sent me a photo of your  laboratory exam result. I was initially shocked. I got afraid. Since then, no day has passed that I did not think of you;
that I didn’t utter a prayer for you.

June 18th. My birthday. I remember I was asking random people from the office to accompany me on that day, just so I can have someone to celebrate my birthday with. I was literally alone. Without you and my old roomie around, I have no one else. You were still at the hospital then and it only adds to the drama. But God is good to let me spend the night of my birthday with people whom I now consider as my family. I was also happy when you posted your birthday greetings for me on Facebook, I even kept a screenshot of it in my phone! ☺

July 2016.

I learned you were readmitted to a hospital near my place this time.



July 13.
We were exchanging chat messages.  You told me you were starting to get tired of your situation. It was hard for me to console you and give you comforting words because I was also breaking inside. Thinking of your situation was enough to worry the hell out of me. And it breaks me more to hear from you directly the struggles you were going through, from the difficulty in breathing and moving, to the irritating bruises showing on your skin. All I could tell you was for you to be strong, to continue fighting for your life, that I’ll always be here to help you, and that you continue to trust in God.



July 16.
It was a rainy afternoon, I was sick and had myself checked in a clinic that was only a few blocks away from the hospital you were in. I decided to visit you for the 1st time. With my hair on ponytail and me wearing my usual comfy outfit of 3/4 sleeves top, shorts and my backpack, I went to the hospital and asked from information desks, nurse stations, and other hospital personnel about you until I found you in a shared ward of patients with different critical illnesses. To be honest, the place was not conducive to recovering. Upon seeing your fragile frame lying on the bed located in the corner of the room, I rushed to your side and called your name. “Zur!” I exclaimed. You opened your weak eyes to look at me and motioned through your hands for me to sit on your bedside and I did. I just stayed there looking at you. You were so weak to even open your eyes again. Only later did I realize that you were surrounded with around 10 people. I got so excited to see you that I went straight to you without introducing myself to the people around. I unknowingly intruded your family’s conversation. Sorry for that. Anyway, I guess they understand how I feel that time, nobody seem to mind me at all. And your mom seems happy to finally meet me, she said you’ve been telling them stories about me. I think you did great in introducing me to her ahead of time! 😀

Aug 2016.

I was able to visit you again the weekend after your birthday, I just learned you were already released from the hospital but needed to be readmitted on the very day of your birthday, because you collapsed at home when your birthday celebration was about to start. I could only imagine the horror it brought to your mother. I remember being with Ron and some other folks  during one of my visits. He brought a friend who was generous enough to donate blood for you. After hours of catching up, it was time to say goodbye. We prayed for you before we left. I don’t know why but I felt the need to squeeze myself to your frail frame for a quick hug before I finally turned to get out of the room. Maybe it was because I know I will be out of town the following weekend so it’ll be a long time until the next time I get to visit you.


Before I went to my hometown on the last weekend of that month, I was able to visit you again. That time I was with Raven, we needed to rush to the hospital for you immediately needed some more blood bags and he was a willing donor.


Your situation seems to worsen as days passed by. Platelets and red blood cells continue to drop to critical points even after multiple transfusions. We can not seem to get your numbers to a point suitable for chemotherapy.

The following weekends I wasn’t able to visit you.


I still regret the chances I didn’t take to visit you again.

Sept. 2016.

I’m back in Cebu. 


Sept. 4th
, I attended an outreach program of Lingkod Cebu (another weekend I wasn’t able to spend with you).


Sept. 10-11
, I had another activity to attend to. I was really getting busy during weekends, and I can’t visit you during weekdays due to the nature of our work (graveyard shifts), I’m always exhausted every after office hours.


Sept. 17-18
, third weekend of the month. Finally, a free time for me after consecutive jampacked weekends. Finally, I have time to visit you… but I decided not to.

Sept 19th.

I already planned to visit you that day, but I was half hearted to do so. I didn’t know why, maybe I was feeling lazy.


I slept in the morning and woke up in the afternoon with an inevitable horror I was trying to and praying to be delayed or not to happen at all. When I turned on the mobile date  of my phone, multiple messages bombarded me with me with questions verifying if the news was real or not. It left me astounded. I just came from sleep and I do not know anything. So I called your mom, and the horror was confirmed. You were no more. You were gone. The fight was over. We just lost you. Its hard to believe but I have to, there’s no other way but to accept it.

I called Ron right after I talked to your mom and we both decided to go to the hospital. There we met your family, they were still processing the papers for your body to be released. Reality didn’t sink in just yet. I was still able to smile and be positive in front of everyone. I even initiated to pray over your lifeless body before I and Ron head to office for that night’s shift.


The sad reality started to creep in when we arrived at the office from the hospital. I remember the moment when I entered the office floor and all eyes were on me, people seem to check as to how am I coping up. And then wishes of condolences were addressed to me directly for they know that we have been inseparable since we were endorsed to operations floor after we passed our training as customer service representatives.


Sept. 20th.
It just happened yesterday, reality’s starting to hit me. And its hitting me hard. After composing a letter for you, I finally allowed myself to cry. I cried hard.  I cried myself to sleep. I cried to ease the pain, but of course, it was to no avail.

I visited your wake multiple times, I attended your burial and allowed myself to cry again upon seeing your mother break down in tears. I just can’t accept the fact that you are gone for real, for good. Your life has a lot of unfinished stories. I know your dreams for yourself and your family, your still far from reaching them. And all of a sudden, your time stopped, giving you no chance but to leave everything behind. You became that flower bud that was robbed the chance to showcase its beauty as a fully bloomed flower.


Fast forward to August 2017.


Tomorrow’s supposed to be your 22nd birthday and so I can’t help but be nostalgic. My memories of you are flashing back in my mind. Honestly speaking, memories of you started to haunt me since April when they started to prepare for the annual summer outing/anniversary party at the office. Everytime I was asked if I will attend the said event, I always answer no. And I find it hard  to admit the real reason why, that I do not think I can ever afford to have another summer outing with our officemates for it will only bring back the last series of happy memories I had with you before you got hospitalized. Memories of you visited me more often come June, for it was that time last year when things started to change.

Memorable May

MONTH-ENDER.  Its literally few hours before May 2017  ends as I write this nth draft for my May entry on my personal blog (hopefully I can finish writing this time), see until this very last moment I’m still trying to come up with a finished product. I don’t know what’s with me, why was I not able to finish a composition during the entire month when I still have all the time and fresh idea to put into this. Anyway, thinking of whys won’t help at all, I’ll give myself a chance now and try to hopefully get through this.

So to start, let me share a question which stunned me earlier this month, it says: “HOW DOES YOUR WORRIES REFLECT YOUR ACT OF SELFISH NATURE RATHER THAN TRUST IN GOD?” I came up with this question one Friday night as I had a sisterly discussion  (about faith, love, and life; more specifically about worries) over carbohydrates-rich dinner  with some of my sisters from the Christian community (Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon-Cebu ) of single professionals that I am part of. It was one of the best discussions I had with them so far, I must say. Going back to the question above, I was stunned by it for the reason that I never, even once, looked at worrying as an act of a selfish nature. I didn’t agree to it at first that I fell silent upon reading that question from the material provided for our discussion. Ouch! My poor heart cries as my mind defends myself saying, “I only worry for the welfare of other people, I’m concerned about my family, friends, brothers and sisters in the community, officemates, and even strangers that I can’t help but be worried for them, especially if there’s nothing I can do to help them. Its unfair. Why would it be selfish if what I am doing is to care for other people?”

As we went on our conversation, and after ample time trying to find the sense out of the question, it dawned to me that indeed, worrying is an act of selfish nature. How is that so? In my case, the reason for my worrying is that I tend to own things I could not control. Say for example, the outcome of MY plans and/or MY dreams, HOW CAN I financially support MY family, and HOW CAN I extend help for the people around ME. I am certain that my reason is for what I THINK is good and right, but are they? Really? As much as I’d like to defend myself by saying I have all the right reasons, I won’t because my reasons can not excuse myself from worrying as a result of a selfish act. You see, in the first place, all I was thinking about was myself and the things I care about where in fact I should only be concerned of God and what He wants. Its supposed to be His plans, His dreams for me, and His extended help for the people around me that I should think and care about. I should have let Him take charge of EVERYTHING. Poor me, all this time I believed I’m past this phase already, that  I already learned and allowed Him to take charge of everything in my life. Guess, I was wrong, though I learned to stop worrying some basic stuff like clothing, accessories, bags, shoes, physical appearance, and even my job (those are quite a lot to give up worrying about 😜), I forgot to release my control on the bigger aspects of my life such the examples of worries I mentioned above, I am afraid to entrust Him the control of the great unknown, of the future, MY FUTURE. Unknowingly, I was still holding on to the button controlling a bigger part of me, and I am so blessed to have that conversation as an eye opener that I should LET GO OF ALL THE WORRIES I have in me.

I went home that Friday night with a happy heart and a lesson which I believe will be imprinted in my being for a long time. The bottom line of our hours-long conversation was that, LIFE IS ALL ABOUT GOD, AND GOD ALONE.  So I should worry not, and let Him take control. What a great lesson learnt to start my month of May 2017.

Update: its already few hours past midnight, which means I wasn’t able to post this May entry on time. Let me share this to you anyway, this just a part of my memorable May. Hope I could share some more next time, and on time. 😛