One of the things I started to do this 2012 is to go back to paper—back to a paper planner (a Moleskine) instead of using iCal, and to read the books stocked in my bedroom.
Since I’m at National Bookstore at least once a week, I happened to spot this book written by Cathy Babao Guballa, Between Loss and Forever: Filipino Mothers on the Grief Journey.
It’s a compilation of stories from moms who had lost a child due to accidents, illness, suicide and sometimes even murder.
I had to think about buying the book because of the scary subject, as though reading it might attract the subject matter to happen to me.
When I first gave birth to Ben, I remember feeling a high and a kind of love I had never felt before, stronger than one’s love for a husband, parent, any other person or object. But along with that deep love came a morbid fear of losing the child. I had postpartum depression for a few months. I wouldn’t sleep or leave the baby’s side. I felt that if I closed my eyes, the baby would die. In between catnaps I would wake up to check if the baby was still breathing.
In the first month alone, we had 9 trips to the pediatrician. I actually had three pediatricians. If I didn’t believe one or two doctors, a third once can convince me my baby’s OK.
Ten years later, I’m a mom to three boys and grateful that nobody’s been confined to the hospital in the last three years. From experience, I’ve learned not to panic at every fever like I used to.
Still I can’t help but think of my kids all the time and pray for their health and safety. My friends understand why I treat my kids the way I do. I don’t stress them for high grades (they get that on their own). I smother them in hugs and kisses and don’t hesitate to let them know they are loved. I rarely get mad. If ever I do, the kids sometimes laugh because they think I’m joking (which is sad).
I don’t deprive them of certain things because If I can buy myself a bag, I can get them what they want. Not all the time, but I do reward them for high grades or a trip to the dentist.
I don’t wait for special occasions because I know moms who have lost a child. I know it sounds morbid but I don’t want to regret anything.
That said, I finally started the book last Wednesday on the way to the Department of Tourism. Traffic was so bad, I was able to read half the book. When my son Ben saw me reading the book at home, he told me to stop because it was creeping him out.
The other half I finished last night, and I asked Jeroen to read a few pages about someone we know who lost a son.
Besides telling the stories of the moms and how they lost their child, the book also offers advice on how to deal with grief and recovery as the author herself lost her son due to complications from an open-heart surgery. It also tells you how to comfort someone who’s had a death in the family—what to do and what you shouldn’t say.
The next video shows some of the moms and kids mentioned in the book, available at National Bookstore.
To know more, visit the book’s blog or Facebook page.