Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Glorious Mess

It is Tuesday morning. As I am writing this piece, the sun is shining weakly outside the window, the kind that you would see after the rain has passed. There is a certain calmness in the air, almost lethargic, in fact. It is only 10:30 in the morning but looking outside, you are reminded of those lazy afternoons when everything seems to come to a standstill …. when one can barely see any sign of life stirring about.

But inside our bedroom ….. I found the total opposite! THERE WAS COMPLETE CHAOS EVERYWHERE! I was away for only 40 minutes or so and guess what welcomed me when I came back? There was music from Sleeping Beauty as Aurora and her Prince waltzed to the tune of Once Upon a Dream, the volume turned up so loudly I had difficultly hearing myself think! My head started spinning as I surveyed the bedlam … pieces of paper in all forms, sizes, and shapes strewn all over the floor … name it and it was there … torn, crumpled, written on, colored … not to mention an assortment of toys from miniature plates and utensils to an M&M figure that had been dispensing twenty-five centavo coins while I was away! And ohh! … what was the pillow doing on the floor? Grrrrr ……

The bed had not been spared either! About two dozen ballpens lang naman covered practically every inch of the bed, merrily sharing space with crayons and pencils, scissors, a ruler, DVDs and those cute little magnetic numbers and letters that you could stick into whiteboards, and in the center of it all … a tall stack of preschool workbooks and storybooks … and on its place of honor at the top … a mirror from my old powder case, lovingly propped up by a plastic cup weighed down by a bottle of efficascent oil! (Apparently, my 6-year old Abby had been looking for that mirror from among the boxes where all her stuff are kept, and she just happily poured them out as she went about her search. She told me later she wanted that mirror there so she could see if that “white thingy on my tongue” goes away as she drinks more and more liquids!) And as if that is not enough, my sweet little brat pointed towards the ceiling (a crumpled piece of paper was stuck there) and proudly said, “look Ma, my trash can!”

Normally, I would have freaked out at that sight of utter devastation! In any other day, I would have predictably closed my eyes, clenched my fists, filled my lungs up to full capacity with air and start yelling with my trademark ABB – BBYYYYY!!!!

But not now, not today. Today, I saw nothing but GLORIOUS MESS … and that blaring sound? WHAT JOYFUL NOISE!

You see, these past two days have been deafeningly quiet in our home. And our bedroom had been immaculately neat. These two are practically unheard of in our home. But our beloved Abby went down with the flu and the only sounds we could hear then were her pitiful coughs and her heart-wrenching cries while her head was wracked by pain from fever that, at one time, reached 40 degrees. I steadily refused to succumb to panic as I watched my sick child, nearly as red as a tomato, barely eating and vomiting almost everything that she took in.

While I spent sleepless nights caring for her, I remembered those times when she drove me nuts with her boundless energy and near-genius capability to wreak havoc in our home (we only have one piece left from our original 6-piece sala set *sigh*, and we do not have a replacement for that until now. *sigh again* Those were made from cane, and when she was younger, she used to turn them around, upside down, sideways ... then put a blanket over them to serve as roof, there! you see her "house". ). I also remembered myself wishing if only she would sit still for a minute and behave like a proper little lady, just like some of the other children that I see around …

But seeing her that way, sleeping most the time or gazing at me with those dull eyes, and answering my queries about how she felt with a single word, “sick”, I said to myself that I won’t have my hyperactive and precocious chatterbox any other way! I wanted that mischievous sparkle back in her eyes. I longed to see that creative mind back at work, thinking up of ways to amuse herself whenever she is grounded and not allowed to watch the TV.

So what about that apocalyptic scene that greeted me today? Ahhhh ….. what a glorious mess that was (and still is)! And the TV that has returned to the land of the living? Make it louder please … all that noise is making my heart happy :) …

........ They are telling me that my little firebrand is back with a vengeance and that’s exactly how I want everything to be!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My own COLUMN coming around the corner...




That's me, your archetypal housewife ... notably well-fed :) ... queen of my home, at my most element in my kitchen! I love to bake but try guessing what I love better than baking? Eating what I baked!




Since I had my miscarriage, changes started coming into my life. To list down all of them in this post will be one separate story to write about. But I am not writing about that now. I am writing about being offered to write a column for MetroPost, a local publication, from the perspective of a homemaker, that's me!

I am still trying to understand how these changes came about. In a way, it is like being discovered ... I don't really know how to put it ... it's like finally finding my voice and making myself heard, or getting out of my anonymity ... a plain housewife stepping out from the throng ... and speaking out, asserting myself and my ideas!

These are all so new and totally unexpected. In fact, the significance has not hit me yet. I am not even sure if I am going to like leaving my anonymity behind. I am contented that way. And I never had aspirations to the contrary anyway.

Perhaps I am making too much big deal from this development. At this point, I am not even sure if this project will push through, or if it will last, or if somebody would even bother to read my column at all! Besides, having this opportunity to write for a local newspaper does not vest me with celebrity status anyway, so what's this fuss all about?

Wala lang. I am just toying with the idea of this development being part of God's grand plan for me. Maybe, He wants me to do something else with my life, not necessarily my advocacy alone, but something else, something more than what I am now, a simple housewife and mother ......

Trying to comprehend the ways of the Lord can be mind-boggling! Try looking at it from my own point of view. "Ok, God, You placed me in this situation so I can do something bigger than merely living in my own private world as wife and mother. OK, fine with me. So what can I do for You? Keep up with my advocacy? Yes, I may have neglected that for the moment, but I have not forgotten it. Ok, so You want me to do more? Like write a column? Sure, no problem ... but a column about wives and mothers? ... what???? I thought I was supposed to do something bigger than what I am now? And that "bigger" thingy is writing about what I am exactly right now ....... ? OK, now I am really confused, but I will obey. You know me, I do not question too much or for too long, and I generally go where the current leads me. I trust You completely and know You will always be there to guide, protect and direct me wherever Your will will take me.

So here I am now, at this crossroad of my life. I wonder if I have what it takes to see this through. But what the heck !!!! So here goes .......

My first-ever write-up:


HOUSEWIVES ON THE MOVE
Glimpses into the lives of the Stay-at-Home Moms


WELCOME TO OUR WORLD!

Housewife … homemaker … I checked the thesaurus of Microsoft Word for the synonyms of these words, and guess what? I found nothing! What??? We don’t even exist as far as Word is concerned?

Housewives, homemakers, stay-at-home moms, full-time mothers … we are known by many names … I even call myself Chief Executive Officer of my own household! Why not? It is correct, right? I call the shots in my own home and that makes me CEO!

Despite the obvious snob from Word thesaurus (English: U.S.), women like me do exist, thank you. You will find us everywhere in Dumaguete doing our marketing in the tiangge or shopping in the stores and supermarkets. We are very visible around schools mingling with the yayas and doting lolas. If not, we can be found around school gates, slowing down traffic as we take our children to, or fetch them from, school. Some of the more fastidious among our ranks can be found in the schools during lunchtime, packing tupperwares filled with fresh, hot, home-cooked food for our beloved progeny.

Would you like to see a sampling of this exclusive club? Pass by Luce Auditorium on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 5:00 – 6:00 in the afternoon. Look towards the entrance of the dance studio, and you will find us comfortably seated outside, as if in our own living rooms, with our chairs usually arranged in a semicircle (so as to be conducive to conversation), and discussing a myriad of topics ranging from the banal to the sublime. Last Tuesday, we focused on the difficulty of finding good and trustworthy household helps nowadays. We also had a spirited discussion on the question which all mothers, working or not, must have encountered at least once in their lives: how do you feed a child who simply is not interested in eating? That problem may seem simple enough. Well, let me tell you, it is not! Want to borrow my daughter? She has perfected the art of the 2-hour meal. While still in preschool, she would start her breakfast at 9am and finish around 11am, take a 30-minute breather and start with lunch … now you’re getting the picture J. Let me tell you that kind of scene, day after day, meal after meal, is a surefire guarantee to have you pulling your hairs out in frustration and raising your blood pressure to at least 200! Did I mention already that when my BP shots up my voice could be heard all the way to the next barangay?

The life of a stay-at-home mom may be boring to some. To others, it may sound like heaven. It really depends on the convictions, situation, and personal preferences of each individual. It may be a curse or a blessing; a state of choice or one forced upon by circumstances. There are countless facets to the life of a homemaker and the discovery and exploration of the many faces of the “plain housewife” is what this column is all about.

I was invited by my friend Irma Pal to write about these. I will be writing about myself and my life, not only as a full-time mother, but as a figurative “single mom”. Being the wife of an OFW, I am practically alone in the joys and struggles of raising my child. And in this sense, I am “single”.

I will also be writing about other wives and moms whose parallel lives will touch mine as I go about my business as CEO, chief yaya and alalay, driver, wardrobe dictator, security specialist a.k.a. bodyguard, meal planner …. my job description goes on and on … for my child.

Gosh! Do our children realize how lucky they are?

Monday, June 19, 2006

When maternal protectiveness goes on overdrive!

A concerned relative wrote to me about not thinking about my loss because it might affect my health, about focusing on my "tangible" child instead ...

I really appreciate her concern. But I replied to her that I cannot and will not "not think" of my lost baby. I will not relegate her to the back of my mind and go on with life telling people that I only have "one" child. I have two children. One is with me. The other is in heaven.

Had Maia been born, would she have been different or very similar to her Ate? I sometimes find myself wondering about that as I watch Abby. For instance, Abby does not like to cuddle. The longest embrace she would tolerate is 30 seconds tops! Beyond that, she would start wriggling and spewing out all sorts of excuses she could think of, just to be able to extricate herself from my hugs!:(

But whoever said that we love our children, not despite of, but because of exactly who and what they are ... is absolutely right! That person encapsulated in those few words the very essence of unconditional love.

In a perfect world where no child ever leaves us ... where I have Maia as another beautiful 6-year old, would I find her with a personality that is different from that of her Ate? Would she love to cuddle and be willing to stay in my embrace forever? That would be nice.

But I do not have Maia with me. My relative is correct when she wrote that I should focus on the child who is with me. In the weeks that followed our loss, I kind of neglected Abby. Physically, it showed in the way she lost some weight. I just hope that whatever emotional and psychological effects it may have had on her will not be long-lasting.

I resolved to make up to her for my neglect. Without meaning to do so, and realizing it just now, my protectiveness over Abby has gone on overdrive. In her school, I am certain that I must be giving headaches to the authorities with my complaints, demands, suggestions, ideas (name it, I've done it since June 13 when school opened ... and it's only June 19 today!)... they must be reeling until now from typhoon Olga ... I can just imagine what goes on in their heads as I come ... "O-oh! her she comes again!!" Forgive me, but I am only doing what I think is best, not only for my daughter, but also for the other children, and ultimately, for the school itself.

Look! She is the only child I have left in this earth. And I am going to do anything and everything to protect her and keep her safe, wherever she may be ...

I also want nothing but the best for her, but not necessarily in the material sense. There are more important things in this life aside from those that we can see ... and that's the "best" that I want for her.

There was nothing I could do to save Maia. But Abby is with me and my maternal instincts have gone hyper.

I hope and pray that no other mother's instincts will have to get to that point, if it will mean having to go through what I went through.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I was wrong ... and never have I been so happy!


"Dear Mrs. Uy,

I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of your electronic mail dated May 24, 2006, sent to . Allow me to convey my condolences to your family for the unborn baby that you lost. I highly commend your deep trust in God's ways, and you(r) respect for human life and human dignity. I also agree with you that there are medical practitioners who are very cold toward human tragedies, and who irreverently consider the human person simply as a medical case - worse, a specimen - to study, to learn from.

You made the right move in bringing the matter to the attention of Bishop John Du, who is in the better position to see what pastoral action may be proper and necessary, precisely because he is the Bishop of the place.

I am also forwarding your letter to the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life and the Episcopal Office on Bioethics for further attention and action.

With my assurances of prayer and every good wish.


Sincerely,

(signed) Rev. Juanito S. Figura
Acting Secretary General"


---oooOooo---


I received this reply from Rev. Juanito S. Figura, Acting Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday. Reading his letter lifted my spirits, having learned that I had not been ignored after all. I also felt shame, for having had so little faith on our spiritual shepherds, those men whom, from our childhood, we regard with respect and whom we call our “Fathers”.

For quite some time now, I wallowed in my own pool of hopelessness. I tried to hold on to my faith in God, wanting so much to believe that He is still there, watching and guiding, helping me as I follow the path that I believe He wanted me to travel. I reasoned to myself, how could God not help me when, after all, it was His will that I am here right now?

But then, I received nothing but silence from the Catholic Church and I started slipping away. I held on to God as best as I could, but I started losing faith on the fidelity of His people within the Church. I was so discouraged I could not even pray anymore. Going to mass was becoming a great effort once again. I tried to hold on but my heart was drifting away. I started to despair thinking that if the leaders of our Church could turn a deaf ear to my pleas, the very people who should have been the first to rush to my aid, whose mission and vocation is also the very essence of my concern, love and respect for God, how much more the ordinary people who are less devoted to Him? How can I expect people to listen and to care when the Church itself seem to consider my cause too insignificant to merit its attention?

I felt so discouraged that I started to believe that nobody cares for the advocacy that I had undertaken, that all my efforts will lead nowhere except towards futility.........

I realize now the fragility of my faith in God and in the people who do His work for Him.

I ask for forgiveness from them. I also ask God to forgive me.

I pray for more strength so that I will not start slipping again at every sight of adversity.

I was wrong about God’s workers and never have I been so happy!


---oooOooo---


May 25, 2006
Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
Manila

To my most Revered Bishop Lagdameo,

Please forgive my audacity for writing to you about something that may seem too inconsequential in the face of the more pressing problems that surround you everyday. But I need to reach out to everybody, hoping somebody would hear me. I see you in the news and I remember you were our Bishop here in Dumaguete City once. You are strong in your convictions and you are not afraid to speak out. So I come to you, praying you will listen to me and take up my cause.

I hope that in seeing this letter from a housewife in Dumaguete, a city that was once your home, you will spare me a moment of your precious time to read what I need to tell to you.

I am Olga Lucia A. Uy, a housewife and mother of one 6-year old girl. My husband and I desire to have another child, but due to my infertility problem, I failed to conceive despite repeated fertility treatments. But God works in mysterious ways. On April 26, 2006, I discovered that I was about six weeks pregnant! Can you imagine our joy? I saw that as an affirmation of God’s ever-loving presence in our lives. But I lost my baby on May 9, 2006 through miscarriage. I was devastated Father. But I submitted to God’s will. I trusted in His Divine Wisdom and was preparing to let go and start healing from my grief.

As part of my closure, I longed to know what could have happened why my baby died. I was informed it must have been a blighted pregnancy from the start and I wanted medical confirmation for that. I went through the process of questioning myself, if somehow, I had been responsible for the loss of my much prayed-for child.

So on that same morning, I took my dead child to Silliman University Medical Center for biopsy. I handed my little one to a medical technician. After he received the so-called “specimen”, he jokingly handed it to a co-employee and said to him: “O, ihi-i ni.” (“Here, urinate on this.”)

That single event magnified my pain a thousandfold.

On a personal level, I was devastated, to say the least.

On a spiritual level, I was shocked. At that moment, I realized how far gone MOST of us, God’s people, seemed to have drifted away from our Creator. And what really scared me was the realization that seemingly, we do not even realize what is happening to us.

What happened may have been a small isolated event. But on the other hand, it could be reflective of what has happened your flock, we your people Father, how we seemed to have lost our awe and amazement over God's power to grant the miracle of life. We see this almost everyday in the news Father, about fetuses dumped together like garbage in a barrel, or burned instead of being given a proper burial as befitting God’s creation. The loss of our love and respect for the Lord Almighty is reflected by the loss of our respect for all of His CREATIONS, great or small, whatever its form may be.And maybe, this was what happened to that medtech. To him, my baby was only “specimen”, a mass of dead “tissue”. It never occurred to him that “specimen” was a manifestation of God’s awesome power.

Because of this painful experience, I personally undertook an advocacy, a small one Father, to urge the leadership of Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI) to publicly commit that they would implement a true, intensive and sustained VALUES FORMATION PROGRAM among their doctors and other employees. I am hoping that through this program, they will reawaken MOST of their people to what is truly essential:

· that in their profession, their mission is not only to heal the human body, but also to soothe the battered soul of those who come to them.

I hope that through this, their own people will be properly guided along appropriate conduct as they deal with their patients and their companions, who are HUMAN BEINGS, not mere “cases” for them to attend to.

I also hope that through this program, they will likewise be guided about the giving of appropriate regard for the sensitivities of the people they deal with.

· but more importantly, I am hoping that through my advocacy, their people will be reminded that there is a God above whom we should love and honor in every little thing that we do.

I am fighting a battle against an institution and my puny cries remained unheard. But I will continue because I will find my closure over the loss of my little child only when I can see that something good has come out from my pain, a GOOD that will benefit as many people as possible.

Please help me my Father. Please lend me your strength and your conviction. Please lend me the weight of your goodness and every good thing that you stand for. Please show me Bishop Lagdameo taking on the fight of a small housewife because I cannot do this all by myself.

I have been blessed by God with people here in Dumaguete City who have heard and who have listened. Among them is our own Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing, who heard my pleas for help. Father Wilfredo Quijano of the Redemptorist Community also heard me, and each in their own way, have helped me tremendously.

Father, at the risk of abusing your generosity, please allow me to give you copies of various other letters that I have written. I feel the need to give them to you so you will be able to understand me more fully. All my thoughts, everything I have and everything that I am, you will find in those letters. Please Father, if you have the time, please look into my heart.Thank you so much. May God be with you always as You do His Holy Work.

Your daughter in Christ,

Olga Lucia Alinas Uy


Copy furnished:

Bishop John Du
Diocese of Dumaguete
Dumaguete City

Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing
Diocese of Dumaguete

Friday, June 16, 2006

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."

For every pain that we much bear,
For every burden, every care,
There is a reason.

For every grief, that bows the head,
For every tear drop that is shed,
There is a reason.

For every hurt, for every plight,
For every lonely, pain-wracked night
There is a reason.

BUT IF WE TRUST GOD, AS WE SHOULD,
IT WILL WORK OUT FOR OUR GOOD,
For only GOD knows the reason.


I held on to the message of this poem as a grappled with the loss of my much prayed-for child. It gave me considerable comfort to hold on to God’s infinite wisdom, believing that beyond my pain lies something bigger than myself and my loss ..... something good, no matter how small, that can be brought to light only through my suffering.

I believe that we have all been given life for a purpose, and that each little thing that occurs in our lives is a minuscule piece that has its own specific place in a grand scheme being orchestrated by the Lord Almighty.

For a while, I became too immersed in my own grief, I almost started believing I had the monopoly of pain in this world. I almost forgot that there are others out there who are hurting just as much, if not more, than I did. But I came out from that selfish state when I read about the struggle being fought by one very brave lady. She is Muffet Dolar-Villegas, and she writes about her ongoing struggle with cancer in the Negros Chronicle.

Sensing another human in pain and seeing how she also held on to God to ease her suffering, I felt the need to reach out to her, share the poem, hoping that like me, she would find the same comfort that it brings.

She wrote back to me. And she also published my letter in her column. I am greatly honored. I am also humbled. I never knew how my small act could touch someone so deeply.

Mrs. Villegas caught my attention because of her courage. I respect and admire her. She is my model for her unshakable faith in God. The immensity and depth of her faith stayed true amidst the turmoil and uncertainty that surrounds her everyday.

But even the strongest can falter when buffeted by the tempestuous winds that life sometimes brings.

Behind her strength, I sensed a bewildered soul who, despite her convictions, may have at times found herself asking the question, “why me God?”

I had hoped that the poem would lead her to an answer, however incomplete it may be. And it did. It is indeed true that no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

At this point in my life, I am coping with my loss by not focusing too much on my own woes, but rather, by looking at it from a larger perspective. I have resolved never to lose touch with the fact that no matter how big my hurt may seem to me, somebody out there is hurting more. Others have made it through and have found their “new normal” lives, but more may still be going through with their struggles.

Maybe, God placed me at this point in my life so that whenever I would see somebody who is pain, I could empathize with that person, and not just sympathize.

Maybe that is the reason why my little bird never got her chance to fly in this earth.

Muffet Dolar-Villegas: My Journey with Cancer


As a broadcast-journalist, I am documenting my battle with the Big C as I journey with the Lord in what could be my ultimate trial. I also write about my co-combatants against the Big C, hoping that our readers will know what it is like to be blessed by the Lord worth acknowledging. Please email me your feedbacks.

A Reason for Everything
by Muffet Dolar-Villegas (Blue_bell57@yahoo.com)

A few kind words can make a Big difference between giving up and going on. I have received this email from a beautiful person who touched many lives when she wrote in this newspaper about her painful experience as a mother who deeply grieved over the lost of her unborn child. Her name is Olga.

Pain seems to connect people in some way. It could be in different ways or level. But pain is pain. She writes so beautifully that I asked her permission to publish her encouragement.May this will also serve to encourage others.

Olga wrote,

Dear Mrs. Villegas,

I truly admire your courage as you battle your cancer.
The braveness and graciousness with which you face your trials speak of your tremendous faith in God and of your complete surrender to His oftentimes, unfathomable will.

I remember my conversation with another formidable lady of faith, Dra. Maria Salud Kho, whose body is likewise ravaged by cancer. She sees in her condition the Hand of God guiding her to the path that He wants her to follow.

I, too, am scared of the Big C. I have seen relatives succumb to its destructiveness. I also fear that it would come to me, or worse, to any of my loved ones.

I am terrified at the thought of leaving my loved ones behind, not because I am afraid of death itself, but because I still have a little girl. She still needs me. That is why whenever I would talk to God, just like you, I would ask Him to please give me more time. Just enough until she is ready to stand on her own. You see, my little one still has a lot of growing up to do and she is going to need me during that time. I do not know when God would call me back, but I keep asking, please Lord, not now, not yet?

I decided to write because there is something that I want to share with you. I hope that somehow, this will bring you comfort as it has brought me.

"For every pain that we must bear,
For every burden, every care,
There is a reason.

For every grief, that bows the head,
For every tear drop that is shed,
There is a reason.

For every hurt, for every plight,
For every lonely, pain-wracked night There is a reason.


BUT IF WE TRUST GOD, AS WE SHOULD,
IT WILL WORK OUT FOR OUR GOOD.

For only God knows the reason."

I have been through some rough times lately, so say it lightly. Sir Ely wrote about my story in the May 21, 2006 issue of the Negros Chronicle. He also published the letter that I wrote to him while I was in the midst of my grief.

There is a REASON for everything. I believe in that with all my heart. I get comfort from that Ma’am, believing my pain has a greater purpose and meaning. I hope it will help you too.Please continue to be strong. Never lose your faith.

After all is said and done, there is really nothing left for us to turn to except our faith in God’s loving goodness and how every little thing that happens in our lives fits into His great plan like pieces of a puzzle.

Stay strong. You are my model. If somebody like you never wavers in your faith, how much more the likes of me, so puny are my troubles compared to yours.
I will continue to follow your story and you will be in my prayers always.

Your sister in Christ, Olga

I carry this letter with me, when fear and depression come like dark shadows. I take some time to read Olga’s words. Thank you Olga. I also thank Ely, the publisher of Negros Chronicle for he had encouraged me to write this column, which I thought no one would care to read. I came out of my shell of fear, that people would shun me because I am different. Receiving feedback from different people also encouraged me to publish every issue into a book.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The loves of my life.


Papa and Abby

"I have a sister already ... she is an ANGEL now! And that makes me the most powerful girl in my school!"


This is Abby. She is six years old. She told me yesterday was the best day of her life because she became "Grade 1". When she entered her new classroom for the first time yesterday, she exclaimed ... "I love being in grade 1!"

Most of her classmates in preschool, including Abby, are firstborns. In their 3 years together, baby sisters or brothers were born to most of them ... almost everyone either became an "ate" (big sister) or "kuya" (big brother), except Abby. She kept lamenting, "I'll never be an ate ... ".

When we lost MAIA, Abby came to terms with our loss by explaining it away in her own simple, innocent way. She said, "maybe God really wanted me to have a baby sister, but He made a mistake and sent us a baby brother instead, that's why He took our baby back." I told her that God never makes mistakes. He sent us a baby girl, but then, He wanted her in heaven with Him, that's why she had to go back.

We think of Maia as an embryo. We do not have an image of her as a baby. But Abby and I believe that she will continue to grow up in heaven as time passes. She will have her first birthday there. She will also grow her first tooth in heaven. In her evening prayers, Abby keeps praying to Mama Mary... "please let Maia grow some teeth".

A few days ago, she said to me, "I am the most powerful ATE in my school."

I asked her why.

"I am the only girl with a sister who is an ANGEL IN HEAVEN."

"Say Sorry to Maia too."


"Dear Kuya Dexter. I think you should say you're sorry to Little Maia too. You hurt her feelings. From Abby Uy."


Abby wrote this a few days after we lost Maia. Dexter Dy, the medtech who uttered those hurtful words on our baby, sent a card asking me for forgiveness. I readily forgave him seeing how sincerely remorseful he was for adding to my pain.

Abby read the card. Her letter shows us exactly how she felt about his apology.

She has a book which shows a 6-week old embryo. Her drawing reflects that image, but she added the smile, the halo, and the angel wings.

Changes at SUMCFI ... am I seeing the beginnings of my "greater purpose"?

This was addressed to Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, Co-Founder of the Compassionate Friends Philippines, a grief support group for the newly-bereaved:



I was happy you mentioned the medical professionals' lack of training in handling grief during the interview. YOu were right, Cheche Lazaro was a great host. By the way, can we get Fallen Cradle from National Bookstore? I am sure we cannot find it in Dumaguete but if I should get the chance to visit Cebu, I will certainly drop by National to get a copy.

I saw my OB-Gyne yesterday. She's a formidable lady and she agrees with my observations regarding the lack of training of the employees of Silliman Medical Center. In her own way, she has helped a lot in promoting my cause. For instance, when I told her about how an intern came to the ER to see a patient (I was there at that time for another reason), she wanted to know which patient she was supposed to attend to. Instead of taking the chart and maybe asking, which bed is "Patient Uy" or "Patient Dado", for instance, she just asked a nurse, while pointing her thumb to a certain bed, "mao ni?" It's like saying in tagalog, "ito ba yon?" I remembered thinking at that time, how ill-mannered of her. My Abby (at 5 years then) has better manners, and to think that she is a doctor!!! Bastos siya. My OB told me she met with the doctor in charge of the interns right away and demanded he had another talk with his charges. And you know what? I was at the ultrasound room yesterday afternoon. An intern came, peeped at our cubicle and said to the sonologist, "excuse me, I'm looking for Patient ______." Hey! That's a great improvement! I would like to believe that the change for the better is part of the greater reason and meaning that I have been searching for.

I also told her about one incident when my uncle laid dead at the ER after a vehicular accident and while we milled around in tears, the nurses and other personnel at the ER carried on with their life as usual, laughing, loud chika, etc. I asked my doctor, are these employees not supposed to observed proper decorum in those situations? Like for example, when a mass is going on in church, everybody knows we're not supposed to converse loudly with our companions, right? or take calls from our phones? or even text? I asked if their employees were also briefed along these lines, especially along the giving of respect to the sensitivies of others. Dra. Go told me she took it up with the head nurse. I hope the latter is taking it seriously. As I said, Dra. Go is formidable. I expect the head nurse wont hear the end of it from this lady.

I also discovered that the employees of Silliman University Medical Center do not have an Employee Code of conduct or Ethics. There is a code of discipline, but proper and uniform set of guidelines as to how they should deal with their patients? That's presently non-existent. Briefings and orientations of new employees are left to the dept head, and obviously, their guidance along proper conduct is basically left to the discretion and subjective views of each dept head.

I am now working on that line. gather what materials I could, and submit suggestions to the board of Trustees, including suggest to them that patients should be given a handbook advising them of their rights so that the patients themselves can act as some sort of "police" for the employees.

I have a material from the US embassy, from their veterans outpatient dept. It is about Patients' Rights and Responsibilities. I'm going to look into DOH and maybe, WHO. maybe there is some universal declaration on that, like the one on Children's Rights.

PLEASE, IF THERE IS SOMEBODY OUT THERE WHO HAS THAT KIND OF MATERIAL, PLEASE!!! I WOULD APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH IF YOU COULD SHARE THEM WITH ME. My email add is olgaluciauy@yahoo.com or maybe you can course them through NOEMI if she wont mind? IT WILL REALLY HELP ME BIG TIME! Thanks in advance. God bless you all. -olga-

Medical Professionals should be taught to be more COMPASSIONATE!

Letters begging for help and support for my advocacy.

The following letter written to the Chairman of the BOT of SUMCFI has remained unanswered up until now.

I am feeling discouraged. I feel so alone in my quest for that elusive meaning. I have sought aid from almost everyone, even from the princes of the Catholic Church, but all seemed to have turned deaf to my pleas.

A few have heard my pleas though. Various local media practitioners have published my story in their newspapers, particularly Mr. Ely Dejaresco, Editor and Publisher of the Negros Chronicle. A copy of the letter addressed to him is also provided here.



31 May 2006

MR. RICARDO A. BALBINO, JR.
President / CEO
Philippine Veterans Bank

In his capacity as --

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI)
Dumaguete City

SIR:

I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SUMCFI. Please spare me a moment of your time. Please read my letter.

My name is Olga Lucia A. Uy. I am a mother who lost my second child by miscarriage last May 9, 2006. Due to my infertility problem, to conceive a child is not easy for me. I was therefore devastated by my loss because I prayed hard for that baby. I had considered my spontaneous pregnancy as a manifestation and an affirmation of God’s loving presence in our lives. But that child was not meant for us.

On the same morning that I miscarried, I took my dead baby to Silliman University Medical Center for biopsy. I handed my little one to a medical technologist. After he received the so-called “specimen”, he handed it to a co-employee and said to him: “O, ihi-i ni.” (“Here, you urinate on this.”)

I was crushed. I was devastated. I was like a huge, gaping, bleeding wound at that time, and he trampled over my grief and my sorrow with his carefree callousness and unthinking disregard for my feelings. My pain was magnified a thousandfold because of his inconsiderate remark.

The act of taking my lost baby to your hospital for the biopsy would have been my final act of closure. I have already submitted to God’s will that that baby was not for us, and I was getting ready to move on. But that uncaring act committed by your employee left me with an emotional wound that refuses to heal. I am now left hanging over an emotional abyss, constantly asking questions, and endlessly searching for the greater meaning and purpose behind the pain that continues to gnaw at my heart.

Why am I writing to you now? Why make a big deal out of my miscarriage of an embryo that is not even human in form yet, when women all over the world have it everyday, even deliberately?

Let me tell you. I learned I was pregnant on April 26. I had my miscarriage on May 9. How many days were that? Until now, I have not determined that. But it does not really matter, because during that very short period of time, the baby inside my womb was as real to me as my daughter Abby. Had that baby been born a girl, I would have called her Maria, in honor of our Holy Mother. Her nickname would have been MAIA. She would have been my little bird. But she never got her chance to fly. Her wings were broken too soon.

I wanted that baby so much and losing my little one broke my heart. I am certain that you have children and that you love them too. You are not just the nameless and faceless members of the SUMCFI Board of Trustees. You are people and you have feelings. I refuse to believe that you cannot understand what I am going through.

On the emotional level, I am devastated. Although I can be seen around seemingly carrying on with my life, inside me, I am in turmoil and there is no peace in my heart.

On the spiritual level, I am shocked. Because of that incident within SUMC, I realized how far gone MOST of us, God’s people, seemed to have drifted away from our Creator. And what really scared me was the realization that seemingly, we do not even realize what is happening to us.

What happened within your walls may have been a small isolated event. But on the other hand, it could be reflective of what has happened to us as the people of God, how we seemed to have lost our awe and amazement over God's power to grant the miracle of life. We see this almost everyday in the news, about fetuses dumped together like garbage in a barrel, or burned instead of being given a proper burial as befitting God’s creation. The loss of our love and respect for the Lord Almighty is reflected by the loss of our respect for all of HIS CREATIONS, great or small, whatever its form may be.

And maybe, this was what happened to that medtech. To him, my baby was only “specimen”, a mass of dead “tissue”. It never occurred to him that that “specimen” was a manifestation of God’s awesome power.

It saddens me to see how impersonal institutions like HOSPITALS have become. MOST people who work in hospitals seem to have lost touch with the fact that patients and their companions are HUMAN BEINGS too. We are not simply “cases” for them to attend to. We have feelings just like them. When we come to the hospitals, it is because we NEED to be there. We are often troubled, anxious, scared, in pain. We have money troubles as well. Hospitalization, doctors’ fees and medicine = LOTS OF MONEY. And that is something that not too many of us have in abundance.

MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER HOSPITAL WORKERS SHOULD BE CONSTANTLY REMINDED OF THIS FACT SO THAT THEY WILL BE MORE CONSIDERATE OF OUR FEELINGS NEXT TIME WE COME TO THEM.

I also deplore the shabby treatment I have had so far from SUMCFI since our May 9 “incident”. I am not seeking to be treated as a VIP, but being a person, I expected to be given a DECENT, or at the very least, a courteous treatment by your administrators, as should be expected from professionals such as they are. For instance, I expected them, this being the proper procedure, to give me, or at least the lawyer who represents me, a formal notification regarding the disciplinary action taken against your erring employee. Instead, we learned about all that from a local newspaper, the Negros Chronicle.

While I was still at the height of my emotions, I wanted a public apology from the Board of Trustees. Now that reason has returned to me, I realize that I am being unreasonable in that regard for reasons that are apparent to all of us.

I also do not want any ulterior motives to be attributed to me. I am not seeking to profit from you in any manner. THE THOUGHT OF MAKING MONEY OUT OF MY GRIEF IS ABHORRENT AND REVOLTING TO THE VERY CORE OF MY BEING. You have to believe me.

I am now committed into turning my grief to an ADVOCACY, to ask you, the members of the Board of Trustees of Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI) to publicly commit that you would implement a true, intensive and sustained VALUES FORMATION PROGRAM among your medical professionals and other employees. I am hoping that through this program, you will reawaken MOST of your people to what is truly essential:

· That in their profession, their mission is not only to heal the human body, but also to soothe the battered soul of those who come to them;

· But more importantly, I am hoping that through my advocacy, your people will be reminded that there is a God above whom we should love and honor in every little thing that we do.

What am I trying to say? Just this. Please keep reminding your people through the Values Formation Program about:

a) Proper observance of basic good manners. They need to be guided about what is appropriate conduct as they deal with patients (and their companions); and

b) The giving of appropriate regard for the feelings of the people who come to them for medical help.

HOSPITAL WORKERS NEED TO BE PROPERLY TRAINED ABOUT HOW TO CARE AND HOW TO SHOW COMPASSION AND COURTESY TO THE DYING, THE DEAD AND THE BEREAVED AS WELL, so that the pain that I went through in the hands of one of your employees will never happen to anyone ever again.

Being a medical institution, your people encounter this almost everyday. They need to be prepared to handle these situations appropriately. The employee who mistreated me and my child, obviously, was not. And there are more among your ranks.

May I also suggest that signs and slogans be posted in hospital premises and all the rooms and wards. Maybe, something that goes like this: “CARE, CONCERN AND COMPASSION ARE OUR MISSION. Please report discourteous employees to the Hospital Administrator immediately. Contact ________.”

Is that too much to ask for? After all, I asked nothing for myself. Please take my word. This is my advocacy. This is not an attack against SUMCFI, nor is this an attempt to destroy its reputation. I only want to see something positive coming out from my grief, something that will benefit the most number of people, including SUMCFI itself.

Please do not ignore me. For the sake of everything that is good in each one of you, I am asking you to listen to me. Do not dismiss and set aside my experience as an isolated event. It is not. One of your employees caused me great pain. I am hurting until now. Please do something so that nobody else will hurt as I did.

I have nothing to gain except to find the meaning and the reason behind my tears. I just want to understand why God gave a precious life to me, only to take it back so soon. I need to find the reason why I have to go through this anguish.

Right now, there is no peace in my heart. But I will find that peace once I have found my meaning. Your commitment to start a Values Formation Program within SUMC will be that greater meaning. Only then will you see a grieving mother find closure over the loss of her much prayed-for child.

Thank you so much for listening. May God bless us all.



Very Respectfully yours,


OLGA LUCIA A. UY



This letter was published in the May 21, 2006 issue of the Negros Chronicle (www.negroschronicle.com):

14 May 2006

To: MR. ELY DEJARESCO
Editor-Publisher
The Negros Chronicle

Attn: MR. BINGO DEJARESCO

Dear SIRS:

I finished reading the loving and very tender tribute of MR. BINGO DEJARESCO to mothers. This prompted me to write and share my story, seeing in him a sensitive soul who truly appreciates, in his own words, “the immensity of a mother’s love for children that reason may find difficult to justify”.

In this regard, may I humbly ask you to spare a moment of your time to read my open letters relating a personal tragedy that broke my heart, a mother’s heart, many times over, leaving me searching for answers and meaning for my pain that is almost too hard to bear.

By coming to know my story, I hope and I pray, that with your powers as an esteemed members of the media and of the community, you will use my personal tragedy as a vehicle and an instrument, a catalyst that will cause an upheaval in the minds and hearts of our people, prompting them to ask the following searching questions to themselves and to each other:

· what has become of us as a people of God?

· HAVE WE TRULY LOST OUR AWE AND AMAZEMENT OVER GOD’S POWER TO GRANT THE MIRACLE OF LIFE?

· We hear about fetuses being dumped together in a barrel. WHERE HAS OUR RESPECT FOR GOD’S CREATION GONE?

· Have we become no better than a pack of wild animals? WHERE IS OUR REGARD FOR THE HUMAN SOUL?

What happened to me may be an isolated incident. Or it may not be. Maybe it is representative of what has happened to us a people, and we do not even realize it yet.

I am just OLGA, an overweight housewife in Dumaguete City, with no political connections or professional title, nor do I have any claim to power, wealth, or influence. I am pretty ordinary. You will not even notice me in a crowd. I am nobody yet I am everybody. You see me, or the likes of me, at Lee Plaza or in the market, or in the Church. I am everywhere.

Firstly, I am representative of countless women who have not been graced by God with the privilege of MOTHERHOOD. Unlike most though, God granted me a daughter with the aid of modern science. And for this I am very thankful. But I still have my condition of infertility. To have another child is a constant spiritual, emotional and financial struggle for my husband and myself.

But there are thousands, if not millions out there, who constantly despair in their longing for a child. Please speak for us and give us a voice. Please tell them we want to say this: to all those women who are more fortunate than we are, kneel before God and thank Him for the privilege He has given you. Treasure that gift. Not everyone is as lucky as you are. Don’t despair when you find out you are going to have another child. Don’t think of that child as an additional financial burden. Instead, welcome that child as God’s miracle at work in your family.

To all young people out there, don’t let a mistake or indiscretion ruin you before the eyes of God. Let that child live. You may not realize that now, but you are BLESSED.

Secondly, I am representative of those people, who, in one way or another, have been “victimized” at how impersonal institutions like HOSPITALS have become. MOST people who work in hospitals have lost touch with the fact that patients and their companions are HUMAN BEINGS. We are not simply “cases” for them to attend to. We have feelings too. When we come to the hospitals, it is because we NEED to be there. We are troubled, anxious, scared, in pain. We have money troubles too. Hospitalization, doctors and medicine = LOTS OF MONEY.

Sirs, please tell them to keep that in mind next time they meet with any one of us, the countless, faceless MASA who flock through their doors.

There is obviously a problem, AS ILLUSTRATED BY MY ONE PAINFUL ENCOUNTER WITH A HOSPITAL STAFF. And the hospital administrators/management NEEDS TO ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM.

That is why I am committed into turning my grief into an ADVOCACY that will push for change, at least, with SILLIMAN MEDICAL CENTER, for starters. I am REQUESTING that the BOARD OF TRUSTEES APOLOGISE TO ME IN PUBLIC. I want them to acknowledge that there is a problem and that they need to address that problem. And in view of this, I am likewise requesting that they publicly commit to implement an intensive and sustained VALUES FORMATION PROGRAM. I am basically challenging them to TEACH THEIR EMPLOYEES BASIC GOOD MANNERS.

Is that too much to ask for? After all, I asked nothing for myself. Please take my WORD. I AM NOT INTO THIS FOR ANY MONEY. This is my advocacy. FOR THE GOOD OF EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE INSTITUTION ITSELF.

Sirs, if you agree that my cause is just, please be my VOICE. Speak for me. I am just Olga. Nobody will listen if I am all alone.

If together, we can get, EVEN JUST ONE PERSON to think and re-evaluate his values, or better, to move an INSTITUTION like Silliman Medical Center to realize that its mission is not only to care for the HUMAN BODY, but more importantly, to SOOTHE THE HUMAN SOUL, then the loss of our child and the resulting pain to our family, would not have been in vain. We would find that meaning and reason. I, as a mother, will find my closure.


Very Respectfully yours,


OLGA LUCIA ALINAS UY

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

When do you start loving a child?

My family suffered our own tragedy. I know our loss is trivial to most people, almost a non-issue. I have been told pasagdi na lang na. Binuang ra bitaw. Hasta kana ra. But I begged to disagree. It matters to us. This means the world to us.

All of you out there who are mothers and fathers to precious children ……. and even if you are not a parent yet, one way or another, there must be a little one whom you hold close to your heart, let me ask this question….

When do you start loving a child?

Will your love start only when you see your crying baby? Will that rush of tenderness flood your heart only when you hold that wriggling bundle for the first time? … when you can already see and feel its soft skin, smell its sweet breath, feel its warmth?

I learned I was pregnant on April 26. I had my miscarriage on May 9. How many days were that? Until now, I have not determined that yet. But it does not really matter, because during that very short time, the baby inside my womb was as real to me as my 6-year old daughter, Abby. I fell in love with that baby from the first moment I learned I had that little life growing in my womb. For some, my baby was merely a mass of dead tissue, not even human yet, much less a baby. But I already had a name for that “tissue”. Had my baby been born a girl, I would have called her Maria, in honor of our Holy Mother. Her nickname would have been MAIA. She would have been my little bird. But she never got her chance to fly. Her wings were broken too soon.

My faith in God is very simple. I believe that God has plans for all of us. I believe that there is meaning and purpose and reason for every little event in our lives. No matter how small, it is part of a grand plan engineered by our Great Creator. And even for the greatest pain, a reason and a purpose can be found. And somehow, someway, good will come out of it.

I cannot and will not accept that God will give and take away for nothing. I need to find the meaning and purpose behind my loss and my grief. I need that to ease my pain.

That’s why I need to ELEVATE our own personal tragedy to a higher plane. I am committed to turning my grief in an advocacy that will benefit not only my family but as many people as possible.

These are my requests from Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI).

1. I am requesting Silliman Medical Center to publicly commit that they will implement a true and genuine VALUES DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. Basically, I am challenging this institution TO TEACH THEIR EMPLOYEES BASIC GOOD MANNERS. I hope that from this will flow APPROPRIATE REGARD FOR THE SENSIBILITIES OF THOSE WHO COME TO THEM FOR SUCCOR.

2. Finally, IT WOULD MAKE ME VERY HAPPY AND WILL GIVE MEANING TO MY FAMILY’S LOSS, IF THE ADMINISTRATION OF SILLIMAN MEDICAL CENTER WILL AGREE TO POST PROMINENT SIGNS IN THE HOSPITAL PREMISES AND IN ALL THE HOSPITAL ROOMS, THAT PATIENTS AND THEIR RELATIVES AS WELL AS OTHER CLIENTS, MAY HAVE RECOURSE AND CAN REPORT TO A RESPONSIBLE PERSON, ANY INAPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR THAT THEY MAY ENCOUNTER FROM ANY HOSPITAL PERSONNEL.

How hard can these be for a Christian institution such as Silliman Medical Center?

Please help me get them. It is within your power to help me get my simple requests. By myself, there is nothing much that I can do. I am just a small housewife from Dumaguete City. I am practically a non-entity here. I have no professional title or prominent lineage, no family name that spells power, wealth and influence.

But if you will join my cause, they might listen and pay attention. BOMBARD Silliman Medical Center with emails expressing your views. Please urge them to make those simple reforms. After all, I asked nothing for myself.

All that I ever want is find that meaning and purpose behind our loss, why God gave and took back too soon.

When I see those reforms, I know I will find closure. My pain will be eased. I will see the reason why God is making us go through all these. I will see the GOOD that will come out from my pain.

Thank you so much for your support.


You may e-mail:

MR. ROBERTO MONTEBON
President / Administrator
Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc.
Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Philippines

e-mail address: sumcfi_99@yahoo.com

My dead baby was to be urinated upon ...

I have a condition known as Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS). In other words, I have an infertility problem. I cannot become pregnant as easily as some other women do. But due to medical intervention, I had one successful pregnancy. I now have a 6-year old daughter.

In December of 2005 and January 2006, I went through another round of fertility treatment in the hope of having another child. This treatment was highly expensive. My husband and I spent hundreds of thousands of pesos in the pursuit of our desire for a baby sister or brother for our daughter. It drained our limited financial resources extensively. But the financial toll was nothing compared to the heavy toll on our emotions. Time and again, we had to go through the painful cycle of fervent hope, anxious anticipation, and crushing disappointment after all our efforts and sacrifices failed to produce a child.

Having ran out for funds for the treatment, my husband and I were resigned to the fact that another child was not part of God's plan for our family. But on April 26, I discovered that I was pregnant. Against all the odds and against all our expectations, I had a spontaneous pregnancy! What joy! Only people who are similarly situated can fully understand and empathize with me in the euphoric state I was in when I found out I was going to have another baby after all!

Then came my crushing blow when I miscarried and lost my baby in the morning of May 9, 2006. After that, all that I ever wanted to do was to find out what was wrong with the child that I carried. I wanted to know why I lost my little one.

Around eleven in the morning of May 9, I took my baby to the SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER laboratory for biopsy. My little one was placed in a small plastic covered container. I handed it to the medical technician after he suggested that he would put formalin into it. As he left the reception area, he handed the cup over to the janitor and said to him “u, ihi-i ni” ("Here, you urinate on this."). I was aghast. I could hardly believe that somebody would treat my dead little one with such cruel mockery. I was outraged and infuriated over the insult hurled at my personal tragedy. I was completely crushed when an uncaring, callous, uncompassionate and cold member of the medical profession carelessly trampled over my grief and my loss.

My husband and I wanted that baby so much and losing our little one broke my heart. I am devastated and I am in great pain. My pain has now multiplied a hundred times after the treatment that my dead little one got. My poor baby. My little Christmas baby whom I believed was going to be God’s Christmas present to our family. It’s life has barely begun, and it hurt so much to see it’s life ended so soon. And to have my little one urinated upon, even in jest, magnified my pain.

How can people be so cold and uncaring? I am aware that for SOME people in the medical profession, the ideals have long vanished. It is just a job for them, a means to earn a living, and working in local hospitals is a mere stepping stone for juicier jobs abroad. Compassion has long vanished in their hearts. But is it too much to ask for a little respect for the sensibilities of the people who come to them for aid? If they cannot show genuine compassion, then the least that they should do is DISPLAY the APPEARANCE OF COMPASSION.

The ability to have a child is a gift and a privilege that has not been given to everyone. It is a gift from God and should be appreciated, treasured and be thankful for. Countless women like me are constantly tormented by our burning desire for children. Others who are more fortunate should be counting their blessings.

As my friend observed, MOST PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR AWE AND AMAZEMENT OVER GOD’S POWER TO GRANT THE MIRACLE OF LIFE. Maybe the death of my little one will be instrumental in bringing back that respect for God’s CREATION. And may it also be a reminder for people to respect THE CREATOR who is the giver of life.

Miscarriage: What's the big deal?

What's the big deal about a miscarriage when women all over the world are having it everyday, even deliberately?

It is a big deal to me. Losing Maia broke my heart.

So what does a mother do after she loses her much-prayed and -hoped for unborn child? She moves on ... by trying to find the greater meaning and purpose behind her loss.

This burning pain inside me will be appeased only when I find that reason. This is what my blog is all about ... my journey towards that bigger meaning that will give worth to my anguish and my pain, until finally, I will be able to say ... "Ahh, God was not playing with me after all!"