Friday, May 30, 2008

On a Wing and a Prayer

Marian says, KAYA!

Almost didn't make this challenge. Couldn't quite start on the journaling. Finally decided to simplify it and remove many details.It's still quite long though. My symbol is the Rosary/Prayer as this is what helped me get through.

Journaling reads:

2007 has been the most difficult time of my life. I lost 2 persons who were very close and dear to me. In March my Tita Sony passed away due to breast cancer. She was the superwoman older sister of my mom. At 83 years old she still ran our real estate business. She also took charge of her household (which she used to share with 3 other spinster sisters though there was just one other sister left), their finances and health concerns. She could multitask and keep busy all day. When there was no driver to take her around she would bake and fix papers at home. She was a take charge person and my cousins and I thought she was invincible. I was being trained by her to take care of the business but found myself inadequate. So when she passed away, it was a big blow to me and my cousins. While still grieving, I had to take charge not just of the business but also of my other aunt, Tita Pilar, the last of my 4 spinster aunts. She fell ill with brain cancer just a few days after we buried Tita Sony.

As if this was not enough, I was also caring for my husband, Alex, who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. The doctor told me they didn’t know what exactly caused it and treatment was at best experimental. The drugs could slow down the progression but could not make the lungs good as new. I could see his life slowly fading away. From a vibrant, take charge person, he slowly weakened and became very dependent on me. At first I would drive for him wherever he wanted to go. And when he didn’t want to be left at home and I had to go to work, he would just ride in the car but wouldn’t go down. He would wait in the car with the aircon on until I was done with work. It was stressful as I had to rush what I was doing because I was worried about him waiting alone in the car. As his breathing became more difficult, he just stayed home while I went to work in the morning rushing to finish all my tasks so I could go home right away. In between he would text me to find out what time I would be done. I had to help him take a bath and dress up as any effort would make him short of breath.

Later on I could see he had difficulty going up and down the stairs, so we moved our bed to the den on the first floor. I had to get oxygen tanks and rent an oxygen concentrator machine. Soon after this he decided he wanted to be cared for in the hospital. He called his brothers and sisters and my daughters for a meeting in his hospital room. He told them that he was dying and that he would sign a “Do not resuscitate. Do not intubate form.” In spite of this, he still had a positive attitude and high hopes that a miracle would happen and he would be healed. He also still had a good sense of humor and could still laugh at his predicament and make others laugh too.

A typical day at this time was to wake up early in the hospital due to nurses coming in. When Alex woke up, I would coax him to eat. If he didn’t like the food, he would ask me to buy halohalo or pancit palabok or whatever he thought he wanted to eat. But when the food came, he hardly ate it too. Then the orderly would give him a sponge bath. At about 10, my daughter Kate would come to take care of her dad while I went to work. I would then rush to San Juan where Tita Pilar lives and thankfully where the office is too. Once in a while if I finished early, I would go home to Quezon City for a while to check on the household, take a real bath in my bathroom, and then rush back to Makati Med by 3 or 4 pm. It was a stressful schedule. I couldn’t leave the care of Alex to a nurse or caregiver as he wanted me to be around. There was a time that Tita Pilar was in the hospital too and it’s good the rooms were next to each other. I also had to take charge of her caregivers and finances and also talk to her doctors.

My older daughter Camille would come on weekends with Sophia. She had work and a baby to attend to so I understood that taking care of her dad was not her role. Whenever she came with Sophia, it was like a ray of sunshine to brighten our day. I was always worried though that Sophia would catch some germs in the hospital so I would send them home after a short while.

Through all this time, my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law were very supportive both financially and with moral support. My cousins were also very helpful. I could ask them to take care of certain things when I couldn’t handle it. I also had my friends who kept me sane with their calls, sending magazines for me to read and simply being there to talk to. Alex and I also prayed together every day, several times a day, the Rosary asking Mama Mary to intercede for us to her Son for a miracle. We stormed heaven with prayers to Jesus, Mama Mary and all the saints. And when Alex was asleep, more prayers for myself to be able to cope. These prayers gave me peace and the knowledge that everything would be alright. And so after almost 2 months in the hospital, Alex passed away and I was able to accept this knowing he was in a better place with no more pain or suffering.

Today I still take care of Tita Pilar, her household, finances and health concerns. I also still take care of business though not as stressful as before. I still have issues to address with regard to Alex’ business. I have decided to postpone any action as I can’t cope with it right now and actually don’t know how to deal with it. So I continue to pray for strength and guidance that I do my best and do the right things.

Cardstock, Anna Griffin printed vellum, Queen & Co felt, ribbon, American Craft Alpha rub-ons

Technique used:
The journalling is printed on the plain cardstock behind the printed vellum. The vellum is attached to the cardstock behind the picture using repositionable glue. The layout looks busy with the print and the text behind to show that there were so many things going on at that time. I used black and purposely chose a dark picture of myself. The only bright spot is the rosary framed in red.

About ME:
I have always loved doing arts and crafts. I used to make macrame belts, paper mache, hair accessories, cross stitch, candles, beaded accessories and Christmas decor. My current favorites are card making, stamping and scrapbooking. I think these 3 are intertwined with each other. I do believe these will be lifelong hobbies as there will always be friends to get in touch with, pictures to document and stories to tell. I am learning to use Photoshop Elements by reading on-line tips and tutorials and trying to do what I read. I hope to become a good photographer through the classes I just started recently.


scrapgurl said...

You are a superwoman Ms. Marian... I salute you!

the dreamer said...

Hi, Marian! I cried when I read your journaling and can't imagine what strength you had to muster to go through what you did and still are going through.

I'm sending you my best wishes and quiet prayers that you find peace and strength amidst all the responsibilities and situations that have come your way.

Hope you are doing okay and just holler if you need a listening ear as we are here for you. =)


Issa Virtucio-Lucido said...

I also had the same experience like you Tita Marian! My dad was sick and had to stay most of the time in the hospital for 5 months, my brother got married while my dad was very ill and the SIL cannot understand our family because of a dying father. He passed away after six months of battle and then after 4 months, my uncle died of Lung Cancer... hay that was 9 years ago! But I still feel the pain of losing someone you love, lalo na when I read your story.

You are one strong person Tita Marian, hope I can be like that too because I'm a super worrier!

God bless po!

Anonymous said...

tita marian, you are courage in itself. what you went through isn't a grain easy at all, but just looking at your face andf how you smile, I know you are at peace with it all. saludo ako sa'yo!

Lee i. said...

Marian, you went through very difficult times but you are stronger, not broken. It's testament to your courage, strength and grace, because whenever I see you, smiling and having fun with us, one never knows you went through so much. Thank you so much for sharing your innermost feelings. And yes, I agree with you about the busy pattern. I was quite surprised because it didn't seem to be your usual clean crisp style. But now I understand.

jeanie nieva said...

hi miss marian!thank you for your story. i am amazed by your strength, your generosity and most of all, your faith. i can only pray that you will be continuously renewed everyday to take on whatever challenges coem your way. :)

Candy said...

Maraming salamat sa pagbahagi, Marian! Your story was very telling of what your journey was and still is like. Your courage, strength, tenacity and faith has pulled and continue to pull you through. You are one strong lady, Marian! I hope I can be like you someday.

marking said...

Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Writing about my experience helped me too.