November 30, 2022

In less than 10 days, my family will commemorate the first death anniversary of my husband, Ed.
Grieving takes time and time seems eternal when it comes to remembering this genteel man, who I was so used to every waking day of my life and now he is gone.
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross enumerates the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance, though not necessarily in that order.
Grief was unbearable during the first few days of Ed’s passing. But I think acceptance came to me first. We brought him to the hospital on the eve of Christmas 2020 and in a month’s time, he left us.
Everything happened very fast, it is now like a misty memory. After both of us were swabbed on Christmas eve, Ed was scheduled for operation the following day to remove a blood clot on his left leg.
A week after he was diagnosed with leukemia and in the three weeks that followed, he was in and out of the intensive care unit. On New Year’s Eve, our children Reggie, Nash, and Deke and my daughter-in-law, Jackie, could not even see their papa.
Reggie and her brothers stayed below the window across their papa’s room and chatted with him via video call. She was accompanied by her friend Atty. Josh, whose dad was also confined at the same hospital. There, they celebrated the coming of 2021. Her papa could not even wave at her because of all the IV contraptions.
That first week when the doctors found out he had leukemia, he needed blood transfusion. In the whirlwind of events coupled by the up and down of emotions of helplessness, confusion and turmoil, was a feeling of anger. Anger at people who nonchalantly defined our circumstance and made us feel so helpless.
The pandemic surely brought out the best and the worst in people. There were power trippers who showed no compassion whatsoever. Truly, the pandemic is both kind and cruel. It is the worst time to get sick. People describe Covid as the modern-day leprosy.
Though we are blessed that Ed did not die of Covid, I am sad for some of my friends who experienced the death of loved ones who were treated as Covid cases. Though I experienced the power play of some arrogant people, there were also many kindred souls who extended help from the inner sanctum of their hearts. And for their benevolent help and assistance, I say a million thanks. Good karma is yours.
With the play of medical jargon, confusion and complete helplessness, I could only remember leukemia, blood transfusion, mounting bills and loneliness. A week after his operation, Ed needed blood transfusion, so my children campaigned for willing blood donors. We were so grateful and still are to the 25 or so kindred souls who donated blood for Ed through the Philippine Red Cross. Though blood was donated, we still had to pay to get 500 ml bags of blood.
Ed was advised to get palliative chemo. He reluctantly agreed but requested the doctor if he could go home first, so he can rest a little from the injections and extractions. He was able to go home for a week to bond with our children and apo, his sister, brother in-law, niece, and other relatives and was scheduled for another blood transfusion the week after.
However, the day before the schedule, he had chills and his oxygen count was low and so we brought him back to the hospital. On that fateful day, Jan. 25, 2021, he passed away. We brought him at 8 a.m. and by 5 p.m., he was gone.
I said acceptance came to me as the first stage of grief, because when I saw Ed after six hours in the emergency room alone, he was almost not there. He said he was feeling cold and asked me to cover his feet and hands. The doctor explained he already had kidney failure and was scheduled for dialysis and in his daze, I believe he could hear the prognosis. A feeling of gloom came over me as I saw he was having a hard time. I told him, “Papa if you are having such a difficult time and you see a white light, please follow it. We will be okay.”
Or so I thought.
(To be continued)