‘Christmas without my baby’
For those who are spending the holidays for the first time since a loved one has died, especially when the death is recent, celebrations are bittersweet.
“It’s very hard for us especially this Christmas season,” said April Rose Lucine, mother of Angel, a child who succumbed to cancer early this year.
“Everytime I see the Christmas lights and decors, my heart aches. Whenever I pass by the hospital, sometimes, I don’t realize that I’m crying already,” she added, referring to West Visayas University Medical Center where Angel had her chemotherapy eversince she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2010.
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a malignant round-cell tumour found in the bone or in soft tissue.
“Daw amo na ina ang second home namon halin sugod nya chemo,” Lucine said.
Prior to December 25, Lucine said the family does not feel the spirit of Christmas. “Maybe, we’ll just go to church. My husband has put up the Christmas tree that Angel made last time,” she added.
Lucine said, “We’ll continue to miss Angel. There are so many things we love about her. She’s malambing and she laughed a lot. When she was around, we forgot our problems. To sum up, she was loving and caring, had a strong faith and personality. She’s a true angel for us.”
Meanwhile, Fema Jaro who lost her grandson Kyle Ferolino to acute lymphocytic leukemia for over a year now, admitted that things have gotten better.
At their house in Oton, one shanty beside their house contains all the memorabilia of Kyle – his toys, photos, tarpaulin of activities where he participated, and even boxes of his medicines. One photo that will catch the eye of the visitor is of Kyle on a hospital bed being pushed by an Irishman during a fund-raising activity. Kyle was a poster boy of the Mga Kaibigan ng mga Kabataang May Kanser (KKK) group’s appeal for Ilonggos to donate to the treatment of children with cancer.
It was Jaro and her husband who took care of Kyle when he was sick and dying. Jaro had to endure sleepless nights in order to alleviate her grandson’s pain. “I had to continuously massage his body, otherwise, he cried in pain,” she once said.
It was Jaro who was the most hurt and the one who took the longest time to move on after Kyle died.
“There were times when we recall his memories especially his being sweet and talented. We really missed that,” Jaro said.
“Ever since he died, we never dreamt of him. Maybe he does not want me to cry anymore. He used to tell us not to cry even if he’s sick,” Jaro added.
Jaro said this Christmas, the family will gather hoping that Kyle’s spirit will be in their midst.
Now, Kyle’s younger brother whom he has not seen, is giving the Jaro and Ferolino household hope.
For those who are in grief during the holidays, About.com has the following advice: Be kind to yourself by allowing yourself to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, get the rest and nourishment that you need, ask for help and make your needs known as this is the time when others around you want to help but don’t know how, share your feelings, make yourself busy, like helping others to take your mind off your grief; don’t compare your situation to the happy families who are enjoying the holidays, and most of all, remember that this, too shall pass and you will survive.*