A Summary of Events

Money can’t buy time and all other things that comes with it.

After enthusiastically blabbing about how my life had been during the past few days, Angel asked me how I managed to fit everything in my busy schedule without even looking as stressed as her. I looked at the beef that I was eating on the dinner table that Sunday evening and thought for a while.

“I try to squeeze everything to fit it in. Ugh… I really don’t know. Maybe you have to think less of how hard the things are and just go with it– it gives you less stress,” that’s the best answer I could come up with. [Grace under pressure baby].

It was true; I had been the busiest person in this house for the last two weeks running here and there while doing this and that. But what could I do, the life I chose requires me to juggle everything altogether.

I am well aware that my studies require more time than anything else. However, I believe that it is not the single most important thing that helps form me as a whole person. Academics train my mind and the intellect yet it is outside the classroom that I get exposed to a reality different from my own. Participating with those outside my world helps me transcend my totalité, enabling me to form connections and relationships with the other. This is the very reason why I try to accommodate as much activity as I could.

Hence, organization work comes into the picture.

My life isn’t usually filled with so much work except school requirements. But yes, there are just weeks when exams and quizzes get mixed up with org-project which translate to a momentary life in Hades.

Within the span of two weeks I handled three projects in two different organizations. On Friday last week our team from the economics organization was able to successfully run the discussion of the economics of peace with a former President of the country. I was enthralled to see the auditorium packed with people; I never expected to fill it with nearly a thousand souls. It was a surreal moment.

The following day was a Saturday and was supposed to be my rest day. However, it was also the workshop date for the kids. Being part of the core team, I had to go to school early in the morning to meet Mariel and Mikee (the other core members). At around eight that morning we arrived at the hospital and started unloading the materials we needed from the car. [Girl Power!]

The three of us had to carry the boxes of food and art materials as well as the rubber mats that would cover the whole pediatric lobby. Since Mogsi, who was the only guy in the team, had class that morning he couldn’t help us set up for the art workshop. Thus the burden of lifting everything was on our shoulders. Female lifters on the loose!

Anyway, when we were able to unload all those essential for the event, the hospital maintenance came with a trolley and made the job easier for us. (Wooh! Less sweat!)

As I was setting up with Mariel, Mikee and Mitzel, my kid named Gerald came out from the pediatric ward with a huge smile. I ran towards him and messed his newly showered hair. I was truly happy to see him in a much better shape than ever. I was gald to see that spark in his eyes. Yet, at the same time I was torn.

He had been in the hospital since July, two months passed and he’s still there. It bothers me that he missed so many lessons in school already and that there’s a possibility that he won’t be getting back to his normal life again. It is the reality of the cancer kids in the hospital, once they get diagnosed and start treatment it’s hard to get back to the life they once had. It’s hard to get them pumped up the way they used too, all the enthusiasm was lost. That’s why I’m glad that despite the things that Gerald is going through at his very young age he still has that burst of frenzy in him which all healthy kids have.

Whenever I visit the hospital I ask Gerald who nurses him at the moment. That query, no matter how many times I ask receives the same answer, “No one. My father’s at work and he’ll arrive at night while my mom takes care of my younger siblings at home.”

That Saturday, I got the same reply when I looked for his dad. The father was at work that day, trying to earn as much as he could to pay for their hospital bills which meant Gerald was on his own again.

I hugged him and squeezed him avoiding his left arm where the cannula had been inserted. He laughed as I tickled him and told him what would happen that day. I saw the excitement in his eyes when he heard that we’re going to make dolls and design it in a way that would suit his taste.

In a short time, the kids began coming along with their parents. Volunteers, org-members, and non-org-members alike started filling up the room and the activity commenced.

At first, Gerald couldn’t come up with the design of his doll. It took us a few minutes before he decided to make Vegeta to pair up with Sangoku, the doll that Mogsi previously made in school. Gerald is an artistic kid, that’s why when I gave him the felt paper and asked him to draw the outline of the clothes he was quick to do it. I watched him enjoy what he was doing, momentarily the pain on his left arm seemed to vanish.

Scenes from my childhood flashed in my memory as I look at Gerald’s face. I was a sickly child back then and I spent a good part of my younger years with IVs, injections, medications and nebulizers. I used to have asthma and when seasons change or when I played too long there’s a good chance of me having asthma attacks. I also have bad memories with fever and other illnesses that required me to stay in the confines of the hospital. [Ugh. I hate the fact that I couldn’t move my arm where the IV was inserted].

I have agonizing experience in hospitals, but my parents were always there to nurse me. I never felt alone in my life because they were very hands on. Whenever my brother and I got ill, my parents will took a leave from their work to be on our bedside and to take care of us. There were times when they had to leave me with our helper or with a nurse, yet I was never left on my own at the age of nine to fend for myself in a hospital room.

On the other hand, Gerald who seemed so vulnerable– who can be broken easily– relies on his own most of the time. A child like him who’s supposed to be playing with other kids under the sun is imprisoned in the box of shadows and lifeless forms. Why of all the people, an innocent child is slowly being killed by cancer?

They say many things happen at random, Gerald’s condition is one of them. Some things like natural phenomena didn’t have a choice– they couldn’t think on their own the way we do. The tsunami that hit the Fukushima Prefecture in 2011 didn’t decide to struck Japan because the Japanese had been killing too many whales; the Hurricane Katrina didn’t take the track it made in order to take revenge against the US for taking so many human lives; the meteorite that brought the extinction of the dinosaurs didn’t dispose itself to hit earth to abolish the gigantic animals– all of these happened without any reason at all, without order. The same is true with Gerald, it’s in his genetic make-up and no one is to be blamed but the egg and the sperm that randomly met at a random time.

Of all the sperms and the eggs, of all the Xs and the Ys, why wasn’t the healthy one combined to form such sweet child? It was random– the same with my life.

*

The event was a blast and I was more than happy that for a couple of hours the kids had a bunch of lively people they could call ‘family and friends’– something that their illness had deprived them. I admit that I couldn’t really take away the suffering that they are going through nor do I have access to how they truly feel. But in the simple gesture of being there and giving them some of my time, I am sure that somehow I am able to plant happy memories in the hearts of each and every child in that pediatric ward.

It is true that I cannot cure their sickness, yet I recognize that my presence there is making a difference in the life of the child day by day. I couldn’t prevent death (and it’s the most painful thing to witness), the only thing I could give them is a relationship and a connection with the living. At bare minimum, the only thing I can give them is the ‘memory’ of joy in this world.

*

When I got home that afternoon I felt so drain. I gave almost all of my energy to the event and to the kids that I forgot I still have a dinner to attend.

Thus, when I got back here at the house I showered and took a one hour nap before I packed my things and dressed up. I spent the rest of the evening with my family which meant there had been loads of crazy stuff and sharing of our (my brother and I) university experiences. But what made the night better was the added bonus, shopping for new clothes [ooohhh… the perks of an única hija and the parents’ visiting us].

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