Elizabeth's Story: FINAL CHAPTER
Castro and I didn’t have the best first meeting, hindi kami ‘yung katulad ng marami na nagsimula bilang mag-girlfriend and boyfriend. We didn’t even do this ligawan thing, we didn’t go out for a date, tapos he didn’t ask me kung pwede ba siyang manligaw?
Hindi kami ‘yung typical na couple na dumaan sa proseso na gaya ng ligawan, magkaka-inlove an, magiging mag-boyfriend/girlfriend, at pagkatapos ikakasal.
We bypass this process because of Castro’s determination na hindi na niya ako pakakawalan pa the moment he saw me at our boarding house in Tuguegarao when I was only 17 years old and studying in college.
Because of his determination, he was able to convince my parents and relatives kaya we ended up together.
I really despised him so much noon Leah na if only I had the means to ran away, I would have done it… but to be honest, I was so thankful I didn’t do it kasi I wouldn’t get to have a very loving husband.
It was during our marriage that Castro courted me and showed me that he really cares and that he really loves me and wants nothing but to be with me. Ika nga niya, it was love at first sight.
At gaya nga ng sabi ko, hindi siya mahirap mahalin Leah sa totoo lang ay ang dali-dali. Yes from hating him, I ended up loving him… that I could not imagine myself being alone any more at naka-set na sa isipan kong tatanda akong kasama siya.
Mahal na mahal ko na siya nun Leah and that I couldn’t live my life without him but then, life had made its way into our story where the other was taken away and the other was left broken.
When I was 22 Leah, 5 years after our wedding, I was completely smitten with my husband and just likfe any wife, I couldn’t imagine waking up without him by my side… I couldn’t imagine waiting the whole day for him to come home only to be disappointed dahil ni anino niya wala … I just couldn’t imagine having to go through that fact na wala na siya.
Minsan, life is so unpredictable Leah, kung sino pa minsan ‘yung ayaw mong makasama, siya naman ‘yung taong nag-stick around. Honestly, I dreamed about falling in love with a man and getting married with him… pero ang dumating sa akin, ‘yung taong ayaw ko na muling makita pa.
Pero kahit ganito, natutunan ko rin siyang mahalin, naging dependent pa nga ako sa kanya dahil ni hindi ko na ma-imagine ‘yung mabuhay ng wala siya sa tabi ko.
But just when I thought we had already found the perfect rhythm for a happy marriage and happy family, life intervened.
Napakadaya lang Leah kasi bakit ang bilis naman yata? At bakit kung kailan okay na ang lahat at napaka-saya namin saka naman gano’n? Bakit Niya pa binigay kung babawiin niya naman pala? Wala naman kaming inapakan na tao, wala naman kaming nilabag at ginawa na hindi Niya gusto kaya bakit kung ano ‘yung meron kami… kinuha Niya.
Kasi Leah, as young as 22, I became a widow and had to raise my children on my own.
Isang umaga Leah, hindi na nagising si Castro. He was hypertensive and just like his relative, he died in his sleep. And that’s what killed me kasi how come I didn’t even notice that he was not already breathing?
Hindi ko alam nun ang gagawin ko Leah because I was not ready for that incident. Aren’t we suppose to lose our loves ones later in life? Hindi ba dapat magse-celebrate pa kayo ng at least 30 - 50 years of marriage?
Sa amin, 5 years… we were only given 5 years and at this phase, we were supposed to be enjoying each other’s company while we help each other in raising our children who were that time nasa 4 at 2 years old pa lang.
How is it possible to lose your husband just like that? Ni hindi ko man lang nahalata na we were already spending our last days together … maybe, just maybe, it would at least hurt less kasi kahit papaano na-prepare ko ‘yung sarili ko at ‘yung mga anak ko.
Noon Leah, ‘yung mga taong dumalo sa lamay, mostly sa kanila they were saying I was too young to be left behind… na magugulat sila na ang bata ng asawa ni engineer na iniwan niya.
Well, I didn’t imagine it either. Hindi ko naisip Leah na at 22, I would be wearing black and sit beside my husband’s coffin for days and nights. I didn’t imagine I would have to stand in front of the church to tell how a loving husband and father he is during his funeral. And mostly, I didn’t imagine standing helplessly as I watch people bring him to his last destination.
I should have been good at adjusting Leah kasi in the first place, I had adjusted years ago when I married young and married a person I hated so much. I should have been good at it, you know? Pero I wasn’t… I wasn’t because no matter what I do, I just couldn’t get used to my husband’s absence at pilit ko pa rin siyang hinahanap hanap.
Alam mo nun Leah? Sa tuwing hapon, I would stand in our door and wait for him to arrive… only to cry kasi ilang oras na, wala pa rin siyang dumadating. Meron pa ‘yung sa tuwing may tricycle na titigil sa harap ng gate namin, mabilis akong tatakbo para salubungin sana si Castro pero iba pa lang tao.
Basta iyak lang ako nang iyak nun tapos hindi ako makakain na humantong pa sa point na parang masisiraan na ako ng ulo. Alam mo ‘yung kahit saang corner at anggulo ka tumingin? You will still get reminded of him na kahit subukan akong ilabas ng bahay pero sa tuwing nakikita ko naman ‘yung mga couple, my broken heart would clenched tightly in my chest dahil maaalala ko naman si Castro.
Walang araw na hindi ako umiyak at hindi rin ako nakakatulog kasi I kept on searching for his warmth in our bed. I always held his pillow and it brought me comfort at the same it broke me even more kasi as time passes by, his scent started to fade away.
Hindi ko na alam nun kung paano ako makaka-get over kasi I reached the point where I would go to the woods and just stare at the trees na kung saan para silang gumagalaw sa paningin ko … certainly, I was really starting to lose my mind.
I love him so much that’s why losing him hurts so much if only not for my children, I would have gone next to him.
The pain didn’t go away nor vanish Leah, nando’n pa rin. But for my children, I tried to face every morning na wala si Castro.
Though, no matter how I tried, some days hurt more than I like and I end up just crying. Yes Leah, you’ll never get over the death of the person you love so much… ika nga nila, you just need to move forward.
After allowing myself to grieve for some times, I decided to get back to school in order to provide for my children. Ang hirap, just merely staring at them, along side the pain is sympathy kasi ang babata pa ng mga anak ko that when they grow up, they could hardly remember their dad.
Naaawa ako sa kanila dahil hindi man lang nila mararanasan ‘yung lumaking merong ama na gagabay sa kanila, most probably magii-spoiled. Castro was a good father to our children, kaya lang he was taken away from us way too early.
Gano’n nga ang ginawa ko Leah, at 22 and single mom of two toddlers, I went back to school habang ang mga magulang ko naman ay nakaalalay sa akin at sila ang nagbantay sa mga anak ko while I was at school.
Mahirap…sobrang hirap because apart from nursing a broken heart, you have two children to raise while studying. Pero I was thankful na nariyan nga ang mga magulang ko at hindi nila ako pinabayaan.
And so, I was able to graduate and find a good job.
My 2 kids were very good children at hindi nila ako binigyan ng sakit ng ulo. Kahit gano’n na maaga silang naulila sa ama, pinag-igihan nila ang pag-aaral kaya naman ako ay ganadong ganado sa pagta-trabaho.
Honor students sila kaya naman recipients din sila ng scholarships. ‘Yun na ang pinaka-fulfillment ko nun Leah, ang makita silang lumalaking mabuti at pinag-iigihan ang pag-aaral.
Sa totoo lang Leah, the word hard is not even suitable to describe kung gaano nga ba kabigat at kahirap ang maging isang single mom. With Castro gone, I really had to start from a scratch, nag-aral ako, naghanap ng trabaho, at itinaguyod ang mga anak ko.
‘Yung anak kong lalaki Leah, pumasok sa PMA. Ayoko noon dahil natatakot ako para sa buhay niya, nawalan na ako ng asawa at hindi ko kakayanin pa na may mawala pa sa akin. I tried to convince him to change his mind and take engineering instead, but just like his dad, he was so determined to enter the academe and become an army.
He loves math and he is intelligent Leah dahil sa batch niya, kasama siya sa top 10 ng batch nila nung grumadweyt siya.
Ngayon isa na siyang colonel at may dalawang anak samantalang ‘yung anak ko namang babae, nasa US at isang physical therapist. Meron din siyang dalawang anak na matatalino rin.
And with this, I couldn’t be more proud and fulfilled Leah.
After Castro, hindi na ako muli pang nag-asawa Leah, ayaw din ng mga anak ko. They were my priorities kahit pa man noon, maraming nag-attempt na pakasalan ako.
Binuhos ko ‘yung energy at lakas ko nun para itaguyod ‘yung mga anak ko and everything was paid off kasi nga pareho na silang maganda na ang buhay ngayon.
I was supposed to fly to the US Leah this year dahil kinukuha ako ng anak kong babae, kaya lang na-deny ako sa agency. Gusto ko sanang mag-tour at makasama ko rin ‘yung dalawang apo ko pero gano’n ang nangyari. But certainly, I would try again. ‘Yung anak ko namang lalaki, kinukuha ako and so we are set to move to Bulacan for good.
Now, I am single, senior citizen, at tapos na ang obligasyon. I am certainly happy with my apo na siyang kasama ko ngayon.
I also hang out with friends na kung saan, when I was again reunited with my batch, nakakatawa pero doon umamin ‘yung isang batch namin na crush niya raw ako noon, kaya lang when he look at himself sa mirror, he would withdraw his attempt to confess to me.
Tumatawa tawa kami nun, kasi that’s part of a reunion naman , ‘yung magkalkalan ng mga sikreto maging ang mga nakakatawang pangyayari noon.
If there is one thing I want to leave here Leah, that is to always take the courage to move forward and do what you have to do even when your heart is breaking. I believe everything happens for a reason. Just like what happened to Castro and I, siguro kung hindi niya ako nakita nun at kung meron lang akong pera para tumakas, I wouldn’t get to spend and create a life with my amazing husband at wala sana ‘yung mga anak ko.
Anyway, thank you very much for reading my story on the air Leah. More power to your station.
Lubos na gumagalang,