• Jasmine Mendiola

Faith in the face of Cancer


I’ve been spending time with my childhood friends who’ve known me all my life and know me better than I do myself. At the end of much anxiety and worry they have over Mio because the events in our life seem to have happened due to my lack of foresight or the abundance of drama and “living for the now” kind of attitude towards life, I’d like to think that I have assured them that there is integrity and whole-heartedness in the decisions I make regardless of how they feel them to be a mouthful of justifications for untraditional methods of raising Mio and dealing with his illness that isn’t as simple as a cough or a cold.

I share with you valuable thoughts I had that have graced my mind that I consider to be snippets of wisdom only our unique life could have provided us with:

Knowing fully well that my son is unique and is going through a tough time throughout his crucial formative years, I struggle hard in this less than ideal situation of ours with juggling time, pratical decisions and instilling values in his innocent mind. My son as have been said, is wiser beyond his years and although I do not take credit for it, I “justify” our life experiences–mine for that matter–that may or may not affect him directly by enumerating or analyzing the life plan I’ve led into these ideals in spite of the difficulties surrounding our world.

1. Integrity

Fighting with Mio over a toy versus giving in to his petulent whining is his luxury for being merely a five year old. Disciplining and yet indulging him at the same time is a tug of war on so many levels but I insist on arguing nonetheless because I’d rather he knows why and how decisions are made based on what’s good for him. Its a long and arduous task of debating with him for the rest of his life infused with drama but I gladly go through them in spite of the heartaches because I want him to learn early on that he should and will have to make decisions for small and big things eventually.

Saying sorry is not as simple as saying the word. I make it a point he knows what I’m apologizing for in spite of the risk of it sounding like a fake apology or that he knows what he’s supposed to apologize for the best way his vocabulary can express it to be so. That for me is integrity and is important so Mio will grow up to be responsible, the most responsible way I know how.

2. Honesty

Whether its about how I feel, what I do, where I am and who I’m with, I include Mio and make him figure even in the littlest way as telling him or letting him know. This encompasses the harsh and cruel realities of his medication, what’s going on in his body and the perilous ins and outs of my work and personal life (in a kid-friendly and understandable explanation of course).

This kind of transparency and lack of suspense and sheltering, in my opinion, makes for valuable life skills in weaving and making sense out of what he is or might have to go through. In the end, I’d like to think that my son has that sense of openness and is aware of even the less ideal facets of life or of other people, his mother included, that will equate to him formulating his own path and perception of justice, of family and of the people he chooses to be involved with or include in his life as friends or co-workers eventually.


3. Goodness. I was told wasn’t a value at all. But it is part of what I have been trying to instill in my five year old the past years and now more than ever. If I were to describe what goodness is for me, what makes a person essentially good by nature it would be allowing his gut to trigger him to avoid malice or thinking ill of others, the absence of judgement and prejudice and ensuring no harm is inflicted to man, nature or to himself the best way he knows how and hopefully lead him to developing a cancer-free flow of blood from his compassionate heart.

Where does faith figure in this formative life plan intended for Mio?

The onset of cancer has triggered a momentary lapse of faith where I end asking God the why’s and how’s on dealing with the cards i’m dealt with. My own faith is nurtured as I grow older and I am fortunate to have been raised with a truly conservative family, a humble home and intelligent yet grounded sets of friends from a generally Catholic or Christ-centered communities.

It is only recently that my faith has been opened to its aspect of full surrender. I have realized that living in the now, although not practically admirable or beneficial in the vital future has been my inner core’s way of offsetting the arrogance that is hindering the higher being I consider in my life to fully work His mysterious and wondrous ways in my life. I let things walk in and take it full throttle in spite of the hurdles or the simple fact that i could say no, precisely because my faith will tide us through it all along with the learnings these life experiences equip us with. That much I know about faith. That much I leave to Mio to realize when he’s older. That much faith–and a whole lot of it if it is to be quantified at all–I integrate in the way I raise Mio.

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Jasmine Mendiola

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