Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I barely made it through the holidays of December and January…and then February came...There wasn’t a time thatI have a hard time expressing myself. It just pours out of me. That’s what I thought but lately I found out that I am so much better at getting my feelings out on paper than in person.

I am remembering back in the beginning when Oyang was first diagnosed I can honestly say that I was in denial, thinking that there was no way that something so horrible could be happening to our family. Then when they told us that Oyang didn’t have too much longer to live it hit me like a ton of bricks. My Oyang was going to die. I had never been so scared in my life and wondered how I would live without my Oyang. More so I couldn’t even imagine what my Oyang was feeling nor could ever imagine what was going through her mind . How do you prepare yourself for death? How do you prepare your children, your grandchildren? How do let them know that everything will be ok? That in time, things will get easier?.

On April 2009 Oyang’s life and the lives of her loved ones, were forever changed, she was diagnosed with stage 3 Sinunasal Cancer. A type of cancer that was supposed to have many options of treatment. Oyang was told up front that what she had was treatable but not curable. Operation was an option in some cases but to her it wasn’t advisable because of her age. She was ready for whatever was to come her way. She did what she was supposed to . As the story goes…her life…my life…and the day it changed forever.

Oyang was a vibrant 88 year old mother of 9 who loved life and life loved her back in return. How true the old saying goes… that your life can change in the drop of a dime. Oyang was in for the battle of her life but, was she ready? Even at age 88, are we? AM i? Is anyone ever ready for what they’re about to endure? How do you prepare yourself for the unknown? Or the unseen? Something that attacks you from the inside… and hasn’t the courage to show it’s ugly head. You know, I used to think that if you could know that someone you love was about to die, it would be easier,or more comforting. It meant you had more time, time to at least show them and tell them how much they have meant to you. Let them know how you felt, and try to comfort them and to reassure them that everything would be ok. Boy, how wrong I was. Because no matter how much time you have, no-one can ever be ready enough. Or prepared enough to lose their life, or to lose the life of someone they love. The part I struggled the most with, the part I felt so helpless with, was watching my Oyang, who was once so full of life and who was once so vibrant and ready to take on the world, just start to fade away. To have her once perfect life taken away from her day by day. That was heartbreaking. Knowing no matter what, there was nothing I could do to take that pain and that suffering away from her. It just killed me. I guess you could say … a part of me also died inside. That, my friend, is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Because I was her favourite grand daughter and did gave me everything I wish for, I dreamt.., I was supposed to protect her, I was supposed to give back.. and I failed. I struggle with that guilt, although in my heart, I knew it wasn’t my fault. I just wish there was more that I could have done for her. I so wanted to take away her pain. I hated seeing her that way… and it still bothers me to this day.

How do you fight back? How do you come face to face with the unknown… something that is so evil and has no mercy? I often think about God…and wonder? Do I have the right to question my faith in God? I have every right, and still have my days where I question that faith. I struggle with my emotions and I struggle with the guilt that I feel. I do believe that God has a purpose and that everyone is put on this earth for a reason. I do believe in God. Although, I still struggle with the understanding of it all, and probably will never know. I remember praying to God to make her better. I remember having so many questions. Was my faith being tested ? I wasn’t sure, but one thing that I was sure of, was my questions and more so my prayers went un-answered. Until my final prayer. I prayed to God, I begged God to please either help her, or take her. The one prayer that God heard, he took her. Now I wish I could take back that prayer, because I lied. I didn’t want him to take her. I wanted him to help her and make her better. At that moment I had never felt weaker, or more alone. Selfish?? Yes, I still wanted her here! Yes for selfish reasons. I also struggled with my anger. Do I have the right to be angry? Very much so! He took someone very dear to my heart. He took my Oyang, a part of me, a huge part of my life. It also took a piece of my heart, a piece of all of our heart…

The look on my oyang’s face the day she died is one that I will never forget. I Felt her pain inside… I was holding her hand that whole day… I wanted to say I’m sorry to her because I did not have the courage to stay when she asked me to.. I didn’t have the courage to grant her request when she said “ bing d na man gyud siguro ako magdugay, pagminyo na kay para musayaw pako sa imong kasal. Unya makakaon pako ug baboynga tulo ka klase”.. God knows how I wanted to but I wasn’t strong enough. I wanted to tell her that…but even on just to tell her, I cant find a courage to whisper it in her ears.. I hold her hand, grabbed a phone and text a dear friend about it. I was crying when a reply came… a message strong enough to make say the words. So I look deep into my Oyang still holding her hand but I noticed her breathing went faster.. and then it stop.. I did not know it was her last breath. I could have said im sorry, I could have said thank you but… I did not know. I wasn’t strong enough.. I was shocked and no matter how I cried my heart out.. she still breath no more.. I pressed my fingers on her vitals to seek for the pulse.. I know she’s dead but she cant be.. I still have to tell her… It felt to me as if two lives were lost that day.

My Oyang was the type of person who was always the first to comfort someone who was hurting… never asking for anything in return. Towards the end she only asked for one thing, and that one thing was “time.” She asked for more time to see me get married. More time to see us enter the next chapter of our lives. More time to know that her children would be ok… sad to say… she never got that time… because as of February 13 2010 a pre- valentines day my Oyang lost her battle… she was taken home. Back to a place where she was free of the pain and the suffering. The only comfort I can find in her passing is knowing that her pain and her suffering has ended, but now for her family, unfortunately, our pain and our battle still continues. The battle to live our lives without her, they say things will get easier. Only time will tell. You know the old saying, that you shouldn’t take life for granted. Me personally, I feel that it’s not so much as taking our life for granted, as much as it is ” making the time ” that we take for granted. So I say to all of you: Take each day as it comes. Live each day as if it is your last. Cherish every moment you have. Take that “time” to let yourself Live, Love and Laugh. Remember to let yourself be loved. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of those who love you the most. This I say this to you from the bottom of my heart…because I know first hand… that “those” days and “those” moments… can be taken away from you at any “time”….

And this I say to… my Oyang…straight from my heart… I will always love you and will miss you more with each passing day…I miss your smile, your laughter but most of all your being… In memory of Patricia Balangiao Acosta who lost her life… February 13, 2010…. we pray that you are resting in peace..