Zia's Story: FINAL CHAPTER
Updated: May 12
Nagpatuloy ang pagkukwento ni Esperanza at talagang halos lahat ng mga nangyari sa sakanya ay parang documented, lahat may representative na pagnakita mo pa lang babalik ka talaga sa panahon kung kailan iyon nangyari.
Esperanza and Dominador had 3 children and sa story at sa way ng pakaka-kwento niya na parang kailan lang din nangyari ang mga nangyari ay masasabi mo talagang kahit pa man punong puno ng pagsubok ‘yung pagsasama nila, they held on to each other and faced the battles that came their way together.
Alam mo ‘yun, ‘yong against all odds. Literal na ganon sila and honestly, I didn’t know it could be possible. Sure I want a long lasting marriage, sino ba naman kasi ang hindi di ba? Pero ‘yung kwento kasi nila iba eh, they came from 2 different worlds yet they managed to merge their lives and compromised.
And there’s only one reason ... love, just love. Kayat kahit anong pahirap ang ginawa nila kay Dominador, he still come home every night to his loving wife and children and just simply feel fulfilled kasi silang dalawa ni Esperanza ang gusto lang naman nila is to just simply be together and right from the beginning, they knew it’s not going to be easy but then they took the risk.
They were really devoted to each other and when at some point I asked Esperanza kung ni isang beses ba hindi niya naisip na magback-out na lang.
She smiled at me at bahagya pa ngang natawa, I’m not sure if she finds the question absurd that’s why. She shook her head and said no. She met various guys na ang parents niya mismo ang nagpakilala sa kanya, they were sons of rich businessmen but she never felt anything from them.
Kay Dominador niya lang daw nakita at naranasan ‘yung ganong pagmamahal at pag-aaruga and if she will be re-incarnated, she will look for Dominador and rummage the world just to find him. Seems exagge[rated]? Well, ganyan naman ang mga nagmamahal Leah, gagawin ang lahat para sa taong mahal nila.
It’s like a fairy tale, they really lived happily ever after ... it’s just that, in this world, sadyang may nauuna lang talaga at sa kwento ni Esperanza, it was Dominador who had gone first.
Unfortunately Leah, kahit gaano man kaganda ang love story ng dalawang tao, kahit pa man gaano sila nagmamahalan ... isa sa kanila ang kailangang mauna at isa maiiwan because that’s how life works. We cannot stay here forever and so as Queen Elizabeth II had mentioned, grief is the price we pay for love.
Yes Leah, at the age of 77, Dominador passed away. He battled with cancer for about 2 years but then his body gave in.
While telling this part of the story, Esperanza stared at a photo taken when Dominador who was in the hospital. Kitang kita rin si Esperanza na nakaupo sa tabi niya, her other hand was being held by her husband while the other one ay may hawak hawak na libro. Kitang kita ‘yung tawa nila, naisakto sa pagkakakuha ng picture.
The photo, Esperanza said was taken by one of their children and during that time, she was reading him a story. It was a comic book so all throughout, they were really laughing out loud.
They were so happy, alam mo ‘yon? ‘Yung two old couple, both were silver-haired but then the affection was still very much there. Pero what’s really heart breaking was the fact that Dominador was battling for his life and that there was no certainty he’ll get through it.
Pero kahit ganon, Esperanza remained by his side at nagagawa pa rin nilang tumawa and just live with the moment that they can still hold each other’s hand because she said, they were aware that any moment, he will have to go.
Esperanza showed me many photos at the hospital hanggang sa nahinto kami sa isang photo kung saan nakaupo lang siya tapos ‘yung nasa tabi niya, isa na ngang coffin. It was Dominador. Kitang kita sa picture ‘yung lungkot sa mga mata niya.
She was sitting beside her husband’s coffin habang nakatingin lang sa malayo. Her eyes were so sad and empty… and from the photo itself, my heart breaks.
We remained in silence, just simply staring at the photo however, bigla akong napatingin kay Esperanza nang makarinig ako ng isang malalim ng buntong hininga and there, her eyes were already watering but, she still gave me a sweet smile.
I knew her heart was breaking over the memory pero nagpatuloy pa rin siya sa pagku-kwento. She told me, oo napapag-kwentuhan na raw nila nun ‘yung what if hindi na nga makauwi pa muli ng bahay si Dominador. At first, Esperanza was in denial at ayaw niyang pag-usapan ‘yung ganon kasi she cannot visualize living a day without him.
But then she said, inch by inch, hindi na niya dini-dismiss ‘yung ganong topic sa tuwing nabro-brought up kapag nag-uusap sila because Dominador is right, there’s a possibility kasi nga mahina na rin ang katawan niya to respond to the medication.
Pero kahit ganon, kahit hinanda siya ni Dominador para sa araw na ganon nga, mawawala na siya … the pain is still as strong as the strongest pain a person could ever endure in this world.
It has been 6 years since his death, but then, describing and narrating the pain brought tears in her eyes and when I attempted to comfort her, she again flashed me a smile at pinunasan nga ang luha sa kanyang mga mata.
You know, I just couldn’t imagine the grief, the hurt and all kapag nagising ka na lang isang araw, wala na pala ‘yung tao na nakasanayan mong laging nariyan. And for Esperanza’s case, it’s 53 years of marriage … 53 years niyang kasama si Dominador, idagdag pa ‘yung ligawan nila noon. So how? How are you supposed to go through a day with this reality?
After Dominador’s death, ‘yung mga anak ni Esperanza raw they have been trying to get her to live with any of them. Her children were living in different cities, miles away from the island.
But she declined. Ayaw niyang iwanan ‘yung lugar kung nasaan nadoon ang mga traces ni Dominador. It would have been easier for her to move on Leah kung siguro hindi niya makikita ‘yung traces ng yumao niyang asawa, however, ‘yun ‘yung gusto niya in the first place, ‘yung hindi malayo kay Dominador.
She wants to stay doon sa lugar kung saan nag-stay si Dominador with all the things na hinawakan niya at ginamit. She really loved Dominador Leah and she was willingly taking all the pain and she was not looking for an easy way out of it. Tanggap niya na ‘yun ang isang side ng love, ‘yung grief.
For the first two years, she stayed only with her two helpers hanggang sa ‘yung tatlo ngang apo niya nag-decide na lang to live with their grandmother because they cannot get along with their step-mother.
‘Yung about sa sunset, part of their afternoon walk daw ni Dominador ang panoorin ang paglubog ng araw at pagkatapos ay pupunta sila doon sa spot nila sa coffee shop and order their favorite cocoa and waffles.
Esperanza said, araw araw niya raw naaalala si Dominador and there were times, the pain and sorrow hurt more than she likes and she cannot do anything about it and just simply sit down with her feelings and just get lonely.
But eventually, it will pass and she will get to smile again over the happy memories she had with her late husband. She noted that people thought feelings could fade, but actually, they don’t especially when you are the love who was left behind.
Leah, hindi ko napigilan ‘yung sarili ko and I asked her a question, sorry I just needed to ask her about her adjustment.
Sa totoo lang naka-ready ‘yung sarili ko na baka nga hindi niya sasagutin pero she acknowledged the question and again smiled at me for the nth time, pero ‘yung ngiti niya pagkatapos kong magtanong, para bang alam na alam niya kung ano ‘yung pinanggagalingan ko.
It was hard, she said. Getting up every morning was not easy. ‘Yung tipong, out of a habit, she would still seek him sa side niya sa bed for a morning cuddle only to be welcomed by a cold side which used to have a warm and inviting body.
Tapos when she would take a walk, her hand would instantly reach for his only to be holding an air, tapos at some points she would just stop and look around in search of him.
Alam mo ‘yung nakasanayan mo talagang lagi lagi siyang nandiyan, ‘yung may niyayakap ka first thing in the morning, ‘yung may kahawak kamay ka kapag naglalakad … basta alam mo ‘yung routine na kasa-kasama mo siya pero in just a day, bigla na lang nawala.
Sabi niya kinakausap niya pa rin ‘yung mga portrait ni Dominador, it’s just like the same, ‘yung lagi lagi silang nag-uusap … the only difference she said, is walang response from her husband.
And ‘yun nga, she gets sad and gets overwhelmed by the feelings pero she just had to sit down and feel his absence.
At after niyang mag-kwento, Esperanza caught me off guard with her question, “can you live a day without him?”
I didn’t quite understand where the question came from Leah but I knew what she meant. At dahil nga sa komportable ako sa kanya and given na nag-open up pa siya sa akin, I anwered her with all honesty… I can’t. I can’t live a day without him.
And before she could ask another question, ako na mismo ang nagkwento. And boy, she was a good listener Leah. Alam mo ‘yung masasabi mo lahat ng details sa kanya dahil hindi ka natatakot na i-judge ka niya o ano.
I told her about my fear … the what ifs. Like hindi ako marunong magluto, maglaba, mamalantsa … basta wala akong alam sa mga gawaing bahay. Hindi rin ako easy i-handle I have my breakdowns at kung stressed, stressed talaga.
What if I won’t be a good wife and good mom? What if dahil lang dito iiwan niya rin ako gaya ng sinasabi ni mommy.
I was already crying that she had to rub my back.
Nang magsalita na siya, malambing ‘yung boses niya and told me na nothing is perfect. All you just have to establish from the beginning is kung mahal mo ‘yung tao at hindi mo nakikita ‘yung future with anyone else apart from him. If yes, then you’ll be okay.
She added that, if I can see a future with him and that I cannot visualize it without him, then we’ll be okay kasi ‘yung puso at isipan ko na raw ang pumili sa kanya and that kahit ano mang pagsubok ang dumating, dahil wala namang perpekto, makakaya namin at hindi namin magagawang bumitaw agad because our love for each other will get us through everything.
And from her story Leah, what she said to me was not debatable. And I didn’t know she could really read my soul Leah and right from the beginning, the reason why she invited me to her house and tell me her story was her attempt to help me get back on track. And it helped Leah, it helped because the next thing, I opened my phone and call Louis.
After receiving my call, mabilis nga akong pinuntahan ni Louis sa island at paulit ulit akong nag-sorry but he told me there’s nothing to apologize for. Sinabi ko rin sa kanya at iniyak kung ano ‘yung nararamdaman ko hanggang and just like Esperanza, he listened to me without any judgement at saka niyakap lang ako ng mahigpit.
We stayed for 2 days more sa island kung saan ipinasyal kami ni Esperanza at ng mga apo niya. We also joined her for her afternoon walk at sabay pinanood ang sunset.
Had I known there was this old woman named Esperanza when we first visited the island, I would have rummaged the entire place just to find her and listen to her.
When we got back to the city, I was renewed and refreshed. Hindi na namin pinag-usapan ni mommy ‘yung nangyari, we just went with the flow. Pero kahit ganon, siguro napagsabihan siya ni daddy o di naman kaya nag-reflect dun sa nangyari, nabawasan ‘yung pagpressure niya sa akin.
She’s a proud woman and I am as well. Siguro ito ang common denominator namin.
And the wedding came Leah and of course, our specialy guest na kinuha rin naming ninang was there… si Esperanza. Oo bumiyahe talaga siya just to attend our wedding. When it was her turn to give her message, lahat talaga nakinig sa kanya because who wouldn’t? This woman knows what love is and I would give everything just to listen to her.
Oo, ganon Leah. A beautiful love story prevented me from ruining mine and I was really thankful for Esperanza for enlightening me about love and marriage na normal lang pala ‘yung matatakot ka at ‘yung mga what ifs. Ang kailangan mo lang talagang i-establish ay kung mahal mo ‘yung tao at kung gusto mo siyang makasama for the rest of your life.
All marriages are not perfect, problems will always come your way … however, you will be in this together and so you’ll be okay.
Anyway, ngayon wala pa kaming anak ni Louis but we are certainly happy. We had kept in touch with Esperanza through her mga apos, nagvi-video call kami and we’re planning to go visit her pagkatapos ng pandemic.
Hanggang dito na lang po Leah.
Lubos na gumagalang,