• Jasmine Mendiola

When Feelings Are Owie

…. the mind becomes blurry. I was told many times of having heart-over-mind tendencies which were more often than not, the more difficult–or worse, the wrong direction to take. Its far from smart and responsible but they’re mine nonetheless. I refuse confrontations because I end up crying and shouting which is far from being diplomatic, the acceptable and more rational way of dealing with conflicts which is how it should be. As irresponsible as it may be for some, I’d be quick to defend that the risks and consequences entailed by my feelings are welcome here. Maybe because my skills are built to troubleshoot and I lack the foresight needed to see things through.

It becomes harder everyday. The truth is, when all this started barely a month ago, I had no idea how hard cancer would be. The big C is such a big word and its a campaign worldwide, I was overwhelmed at the start that it was happening to me–to the person who matters most to me. Its exactly where it hurts and the thought itself was hard already. It apparently gets harder elsewhere.

When I got the prognosys that Mio had an 80% chance of survival, I shrugged my shoulders and snickered, “yun naman pala e, so pera nlng yan” (there you go, money is the only problem then.) Not that I had a lot of that, but I was raised with the concept that money is JUST money. We never had a lot of it and I was told that when I grow up and got to have a job of my own, I can buy whatever I want. But back then, we can only afford what we needed. And no matter how spoiled my Daddy made me feel, I knew the difference of what I needed from what I wanted.

I have no reason to complain when you think about it. All the basic necessities in our life have been laid out for us and provided for: Mio and I always had a roof over our heads, thanks to my parents who built a house in spite of the tantamount amount and energy it required from them to work in a missionary office and the government (needless to say that’s not a lot to pull out funds from); we have food on the table everyday and clothes to wear; we have friends, we have family and I never ran out of work to do. Prayers, faith, love and money are coming our way like wind blown in our direction, I can only be grateful.

I was once told that the minute you think you’re wasting time means you start becoming ungrateful of what you have. The way I see things now, regardless of how blurry my foresight is, the only time I’m wasting is the time I spend away from my son.

Don’t get me wrong, he seems fine. He’s even in a better disposition than how he used to. Like right now, we’re just waiting for our turn at the doctor for his intrathecal chemo while we starve ourselves again so he can be drugged to sleep. That doesn’t sound like the best way to kill time but he’s not complaining. He stomped a bit on his way out when I nodded yes to his inquiry, “what kind of medicine will we do at the hospital today Mom? The one at the back? But there’s also injection here and here before that right?” (pointing at the back of his hand and his arm while saying ‘here and here’)

He just called out again and asked me while he was busy coloring his new Spongebob activity book (c/o one of the rare sweet people in the office), “Mom, am I gonna have IV? Coz I’m right handed…” I answered a quick no even before he can finish his sentence.

The way my son is handling his treatments seem inverted to how I’m taking everything else in. I thought the only problem, the biggest problem would be the money to fund his treatment, it being the most essential step in ensuing Mio’s recovery.

What hurts the most right now is that when your needs are threatened such as the means to provide food or your self-actualization, the things you merely want become stronger just like cancer. It eats you up from the inside and everything else beyond yourself feel like its caving in on you. 

I want to be there every step of the way for Mio so I can celebrate the way he conquers the disease and how he looks well in spite of the illness; I want to be able to provide for him even the toys and things I wouldn’t usually give him without much disciplining in mind; I want to cry and shout to the very few people who try to insinuate that the people helping us are taking advantage of us; or at those who I initially expected to be the most understanding of what we’re going through considering they have families and or  are single parents too; I wanna just let go of the thing that seems to be the most important to me next to Mio even if I loved doing it and was good at it—just because this glitch in my routine is beyond their understanding. I want to hide and escape sometimes from everyone scrutinizing and judging the way I’m handling my feelings because I just want to. It hurts when you know the right thing to do and knowing the difference because you’re in no position to make mistakes. It hurts more that I can’t afford to make any more mistakes because it isn’t about me. Everything I’m doing and fail to do is not about me.

It hurts to be helpless and actually know that you are. Its hard to accept and leave it to faith sometimes when your vision is blurred either because of the feelings clouding your mind or the tears welling up from your eyes. The good thing is, I don’t mind when my feelings are owie as long as Mio’s free of it. That co-relation is a mystery but because I see it right before me, I can accept it and believe it to be so with a kind of comfort cradling my heart like a bag of sedatives IV-ed so the owie in my feelings would go. Good thing about knowing the difference of what I need from what I want is that no matter how it hurts, I can appreciate the things I have and actually need precisely because the only time I’m wasting is that of what I devote to apparently the things I just want.

So when feelings are owie, I just try hard… very hard to look at things like this. Soon as the blurr from my eyes are wiped off and the barrage of feelings caving in are cried out, its easier to gain that perspective. Easier than how how it was but not exactly easy. Doesn’t change the fact that it hurts. But its not like we’re gonna let cancer of the spirit eat us up, right? 


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