By Dr. Daisy Joy Espejo-Torina, 12/15/2010
I find moms of chronically ill children admirable. I don’t know where they draw their strength day after day. Because it takes a good deal of strength to take care of a sick child and not feel helpless and hopeless. I take one look at a cancer patient, at her bald head with only a few tufts of hair remaining, at the bruises on her hands and arms where the needles did damage in the wake of chemotherapy and something tugs at my heart and my eyes well with pity and sadness. But here is her mom, calm and composed, still able to dispense a smile in my direction as she catches me watching them. I don’t know if moms like her are really strong or they only pretend to be strong for their children. They are the pillars from which these kids draw hope and strength. It must be so tiring to bear such weight, such responsibility but I find that moms are ever so steadfast, ever so tireless and ever so unconditional.
The thought that my own baby has a terminal illness is heartbreaking as it is. How much harder it must be to actually live it. I am ever so thankful that my baby is healthy. I couldn’t wish enough that no child would ever have a chronic or terminal illness, that no parent would ever feel the same pain that the mom across me must be feeling.
Moms only want what’s best for their kids. That’s universal. No matter how crooked the means might be, and no matter how twisted the aftermath might be, what’s behind it all is still that one universal idea. It’s what drives the campaign to save Lysander’s heart. It’s what makes moms in their heyday suddenly quit their jobs to devote time to child care. It’s what drives moms out of the country in search for greener pastures. And as unsavory as it may sound, it’s what pushes a helpless poverty-stricken mom to end the life of her children.
I catch another glimpse at the mother and daughter on the row of seats across my table. It is the wee hours of the morning and the daughter falls asleep on her mother’s lap. Her mother strokes her hair and stares at her innocent and serene face as she sleeps. In that moment of vulnerability, I saw a sad and beaten look on the mother’s face. Then she takes a deep breath and straightens her back and she looks strong once again. Ready yet for another day.#