Saturday, September 24, 2011

An email in behalf of Pops

It was January 2010 when Pops had some health issues; he had difficulty walking, gait problem, and memory lapses. That same month (also his birth month, born January 19, 1936) was his first of three hospital confinements prior to his demise. Changes in his behavior and physical health were becoming obvious. This was an e-mail I wrote to Pops' siblings and relatives, in appreciation for their support and at the same time, requesting for more understanding, patience and encouragement. Pops' siblings responded by giving him, and us, his family, all the love and support they could extend as they journeyed with us throughout those trying times.    
Dear Kamag-anak Inc.,

As many of you had already known, our Pops (Susing) was hospitalized last month (Jan 22-25, UERM) due to diabetic neuropathy and myopathy.   To all those who came to visit him, in behalf of our family (Inang, Ate & Kuya Vic, Nenette, Lita, Pam, Hans & me), we thank you for your presence and presents, which really helped us a lot, especially Pops. We really appreciate it, especially your presence, which encouraged Pops to get well and try hard to recover from his illness.

May pakiusap lamang po kami sa inyong lahat: 

Now that he is on his way to recovery, aside from your continued prayers, please be careful po when talking with him, especially pagdating sa alaskahan. Due to the medications that he is taking, he is having depression and mood swings, some of its side effects. (Lyrica, try to google it.)   Kaya, please po, we request you to be more sensitive towards Pops.   More than anything, he needs encouragement from all of us.

His limited mobility also affected his activities thus he couldn't go out on his own.   He hasn't fully regained his balance and his neurologist also told us not to leave him alone.   Kaya, Inang and I take turns in keeping him company.

SA MGA KAPATID NIYA, Tito Mon, Ninang Lina, Tito Pito, and Toots: ngayon lang po ako makikiusap ng ganito sa inyo : please try to call Pops kahit once a week.   Yung mga nasa ibang bansa, kahit po once a month (or 2 months), 5 minutes lang, that won't cost so much. (Our landline is -------.)   Give him words of encouragement. Words are not enough to describe how much you make him happy kapag nakausap niya kayo sa telepono.   He may not be as articulate as you are, but often when you call him, after hanging up, I could hear him say, "Mahal ako ng (mga) kapatid ko. Tinawagan ako." I'm not asking you to visit us here kasi po alam kong malayo ang bahay namin pero Metro Manila line naman po kami, so walang cost sa phone calls (except for those abroad).   I don't know how you all grew up together, pero kung me pagkukulang po siya sa inyo noon, please find it in your heart to forgive and understand him now.   He did the best he could in the way that he knew how to be a big brother to you.   He needs your love and understanding now more than ever.

His doctor also told us he has dementia (google nyo na lang), which will be scheduled for treatment after his diabetic myopathy and neuropathy. In his case, the cause is, as his MRI results showed, an arachnoid cyst was found on the left side of his brain, doon sa portion where the seat of memory is. Some of you may have noticed na minsan paulit-ulit siya magtanong. That was our main purpose for consulting a neurologist. He was given a drug for it but it has adverse effects on him.   And since he is having medications for his neuropathy/myopathy, the doctor said one treatment at a time because the drugs might have side effects, it will be hard to pinpoint which one is the culprit.   Besides, it's part of aging na rin daw. Una-una lang. Let's all pray na hindi kayo magkaganito.

So, we ask for your understanding and compassion. Pag paulit-ulit po ang tanong, please be patient with him, ulitin nyo na lang uli ang sagot at huwag po kayong maiinis.   He is very sensitive these days too, may mga mood swings brought about by the drugs and his depression. And please continue to pray for his complete healing and recovery.

God bless our families,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pops and the triumph of the human spirit

My sister Sr. Lita, me, Inang and Pops proudly displaying
our collection of academic medals. Pops has always encouraged
us to excel in school.
I missed watching the Miss Universe 2011 coronation night. My gosh!  Where in the world was I? While millions of people around the world were hooked on their TV sets cheering for their countries' bets, I was obliviously busy at work in front of my computer.  A day before I read  in one of those online newspapers that it would be Miss U the next day.  Oh, well, I totally forgot!  Thank heavens, for the internet...and facebook, that's where I saw my friends' posts that Miss Philippines made it to top 5. Yay!  I hit "Most Recent" and then came the big news-- Miss Angola was crowned Miss Universe and our very own Shamcey Supsup was 3rd runner-up.

If Pops were still here (and healthy the way he used to be), I (we) wouldn't have missed the Miss U. He loves watching beauty pageants and he'd have his own bets too, aside from our country's very own candidate. He's also fond of watching awards shows on TV. He would even stay up late at night just to finish a local film fest awards night every December. In the morning, I would ask him, "Who won?", he would simply give us a rundown of last night's winners.

Pops was an avid sports fan, too.  It's a routine for him turn on the TV at 4:00 in the afternoon to watch basketball, volleyball or boxing.  International sports competitions such as the summer Olympics, Asian Games, SEA Games, and boxing title fights, especially Manny Pacquiao bouts, were in his mental calendar of events to watch. And he would remember those dates!

April 1988, our V-day. Our family graduation picture. 
Looking forward to and watching beauty pageants, awards nights and sports events was his way of celebrating the triumph of the human spirit.  As I see it, while watching these shows, he was reminiscing the days when he himself was rejoicing over the victories of our family. He'd never miss school recognition and graduation days.  Many of our old photos would show Pops pinning our ribbons or medals during those special events. He has always encouraged us to excel  and actively participate in school activities. 

My parents, Pops and Inang, ordinary employees that they were, told us that education is the greatest legacy they could give us. It was their ultimate dream that we all finish our college education and become degree holders.  We'd been through hard times but we all endured. In April 1988, their dream became a reality. My youngest sister Lita and I graduated from college! To capture our family's moment of triumph, we went to a studio and had our graduation picture taken. A big framed version of it is proudly displayed in our home. :-)

Beauty pageants, awards nights and sports events...more often than not, I'd miss watching them.  But the one who I would always miss the most is my Pops.