the art of being thankful

today is the 27th wedding anniversary of my parents. there are no celebrations, though, the way we haven't celebrated in the past 13 years. it feels odd, given that one half of the couple has not been with us for a long time. i don't mean to post a sob-story so early in this blog's lifetime but it only seems fitting to pay tribute.

while surfing the net a few weeks back, i came upon liz b's contest for human nature giveaways. to join, one had to write a post on what they were most thankful for. while i knew right off the bat what (who) i wanted to write about, it took me awhile to put my thoughts together and when i greeted my mom this morning, i finally understood what it was that i was really thankful for. so, this post (also) serves as my entry to i draw for a living's october giveaway.

when i was 13 years old and just about to enter high school, my dad died. he'd been fighting colon cancer for three years and it was time for him to finally rest. while we missed him terribly and knew that it was inevitable, i can not deny that we also heaved something like a sigh of relief. it's only now, many years later, that i realize how difficult it really was for my mom.

it's not that i never considered how hard it is to work, raise four young children AND care for a terminally ill spouse. we children had a trusted yaya to care for us but she made it a point to come home often despite shuttling back and forth from the office to the hospital. despite the humongous medical bills, she somehow managed to send us to reputable private schools and give us nice things. i never felt poor or deprived in any way, except perhaps wanting to spend more time with mom. i don't at all feel resentful about that; at 13, i wasn't exactly clueless and bratty anymore.

but at 13, what does one know about love? i didn't even develop an interest in boys until i was 17. all i knew about (romantic) love was from movies and tv. and i never really thought about my parents that way, all mushy and googly-eyed over each other. that wasn't how they were.

or at least, not in front of me. <awkward>

but things are very different now. i've been in a six-year relationship with a guy i'm still madly in love with (though not blindly), and i know what it's like to want to be with someone for a lifetime. i know that when the going gets tough, there's nothing like a having a hand to hold so you know you're not alone. i know that even though i'm perfectly capable by myself, i am a better, more capable person as part of a team.

it's strange but in a way, my parents taught me what love really is about. it is so much more than chocolates and flowers, hugs and kisses. love is about endurance and constant choice. it's not difficult to imagine anyone, saddled with so many burdens, to just want to get away from it all. i know that, for my mom, it wasn't just hard; it hurt. and for my dad, i think he tried hard not to leave us so soon even though he was already so weak.

i would not have come out from that experience as a better, stronger person had it not been for the example set by my parents. and i certainly wouldn't have been able to weather the storms i later faced in my relationship, which once resembled something like a telenovela. i don't know that i'll ever "be able to make it all up" to my folks, actually. i think it's more a "pay it forward" than a "pay it back", a lesson to be passed from generation to generation.

for giving me my first lesson in loving, and for many other things besides: thanks, mom and dad.

written on 29 october 2010


Lizz said...

Wow, that was incredibly touching. I just came to inform you that you're the winner of the Pose, Preen, & Pamper prize of my giveaway, but I didn't expect to find such a touching entry! Kindly send me an email at lizzbuenaventura@gmail.com to claim your prize! :)

isea said...

oh wow! thanks lizz! :D

Post a Comment