Just a story a daughter wanted to tell

We had a pretty comfortable life.

When we were still kids, we had a very comfortable life. We were not rich but our `rents were able to provide everything for us. A roof above our heads, sending us to school, among other things. All of our wants and needs were almost always met. They busted their asses off to make our life comfortable.

But comfort doesn’t always last. Especially if you have a parent whose life was always on the line between life and death.

When I was fifteen, my life—our life—was turned downside up. A tragedy washed into our lives.

Papa, who worked slinging guns, along with three of his former comrades-turned-bodyguards went missing during one of their bodyguard duties. They were abducted by God knows who. All that he left for us was a single text message and a cryptic phone call saying “someone took us” and “don’t worry, I’ll be alright.”

But it was not alright. Nothing was ever alright after that fateful day.

He never came back. No phone calls. No text. Not even a single goodbye was given to us. People said he was dead. I was having a hard time believing it because he’s my father. He was invincible. He slung guns. How could he be dead?

But there was no trace, no sign, nothing. There was not even a dead body that we could mourn and bury. We were left with nothing. Literally nothing.

And mama… mama was never alright after that day.

 

It was hard to lose a parent. It was harder to see one falling slowly apart in front of my eyes.

 

I never saw her cry when the news happened by us. She was steadfast. She put up a brave façade. But she was not brave for long. After months and months of searching for him—in police stations, hospitals, friends’ houses, and even morgues—there really was nothing.

Then her tears started flowing. I saw how she fell apart. She was no longer the happy, cheery mother that I grew up to know. She looked glum and miserable.

Everyday she cried. That was all she did. Cry.

I saw how she cried every time she sat in front of the altar praying the rosary, petitioning for his return to us—alive or dead. I saw her cry every time she held my two-year old sister close to her. I saw her cry every time she sees their picture together. And I always saw her cry every time she looked at the door with that longing etched in her eyes. She broke down. She was lost.

She lost interest in people. She lost interest in her business. She almost forgot about her children, her family, and her life. Somehow, it seemed that she almost forgot how to live and just succumb to grief and despair.

Our family was breaking apart. Without papa around and mama nearing her breaking point, there was no one to hold the family together. I was only fifteen, my brother was twelve, and our youngest was two. We were on the verge being separated, of being torn apart.

We were becoming a dying family, withering slowly.  I almost lost my hope. Almost.

But as weak mama was that time and as tempted as she was to just let go of everything and be done with her heavy burdens, mama did her best to stand up again, to live life again.

Slowly, she gathered all her strengths—through the help of my grandma—and started back on her life. She said that papa may be gone forever but she still had us. She could not stop living because she lost her husband. She must go on living because she had three children whom she loved very much and who greatly depended on her.

She still had a family who never stopped caring for her and loving her.

She must go on and fight not only for herself but for her children, her family.

And life does went on even after tragedies and hardships.

It went on for mama. It went on for our family.

We may not be living as comfortable as we have been before, the fact that our family was able to overcome a more shattering tragedy was enough for us to go on living and to stay as strong as you could manage.

One would never really know how to be strong not until being strong was the only choice left. And strength doesn’t only entail physical power but also the capacity to survive despite an emotionally and mentally traumatic incident in one’s life…

 

 

Posted on July 22, 2014, in Short tales and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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