There is a thought I’ve been playing around in my head which, I have a feeling, will remain a thought. Sometimes I wish I actually had the gift of words and the ability to weave a story so I can write a novel about the story of my Mother-in-law’s heartaches. Not just to extol her accomplishments and recognize her sacrifices, but because I feel her story is worth writing, and should be known by two children whom she loved like her own grandchildren but who were taken away from her by their parents.
I wonder what their parents tell them when they look for their Lola Celia. Did they tell them she died? Did they tell them she is living somewhere far away now? They are just 5 and 4 years old.. as my mother-in-law once blurted out, they will probably forget about her because they are young. The thought must’ve hurt her a lot. She had poured the last five years of her life taking care of them everyday. As if it was not enough that someone she raised as her own daughter disowned her, with that came the exit from her life of two of her precious grandchildren.
I know that as special as Angel is to her, he cannot take the place of his two “cousins”. And although the stepson is always going to be the apo closest to her heart, the loss of the two little girls is something that has pained her heart no end.
So I wish I could write that novel and get it published. Then one day when the girls are of age and their grandmother would’ve said goodbye to this world for good, I could just give them the book and they can read and hopefully remember their beloved Lola. We have enough pictures to show them and jog their memory, but at best, that will just serve to remind them of the Lola who loved them so much — it will not help them make up for lost time after they were taken away from her.
It’s just a thought.. but I’m not holding my breath it will ever be real. But I can try, and when the right time comes, then they can read about their Lola..and maybe they will remember how it was to be loved by this woman with a heart of gold. And they will know that the world as they knew it changed drastically one day as spring was about to come because of circumstances that led to the outpouring of hate that had been repressed — because there was a mother who didn’t feel a need to tell her daughter she was adopted.
Forget about all her sacrifices — she was told a parent does those things without expecting anything in return. That she should not expect to be thanked or be recognized or at least be given due respect for having sheltered her then college-age adopted daughter and her boyfriend — allowing them to live in together under her own roof just so she can make sure the adopted daughter finished college. Or forget that she sewed the gowns for the whole entourage for that daughter’s wedding and embellished what would have otherwise been a plain wedding gown, turning it into a Maria Clara masterpiece. And she should not expect to be thanked for having taken cared of her grandchildren all these years despite the fact that when the first was born, she had just hit 70 years of age.
Parenthood, as I am beginning to realize, is an unending story of giving. And yes, we do it without expecting anything in return. Yet it does not mean that we do not expect at least the love to be returned=. For after all, as parents, we try to give it unselfishly and without fail. We try. My mother-in-law has her own faults — perhaps it was her unselfish giving that nurtured that kind of mentality in her adopted daughter — without asking for anything in return, she gave and gave and gave. She gave of her time and money unselfishly, even to the very last. And all she has now are framed pictures of her precious grandchildren, and the pain of losing a child as if she had died. She used to tell my Mom, “Masakit pala ang mamatayan ng anak.”
It’s a story worth telling. Perhaps one day.. the story will find itself alive in print, and the right eyes will read them and know the truth.