June 23, 2024

Dear Manang,
I’ve been waiting for a time when my mother could defend and protect me. I asked for her help when I was arrested but she immediately said that she had no money for my bail. I asked her if she could help me go to Law school but she said she had no money. My child was in the hospital and I asked her for help and she said she had no money. I feel so hopeless and spineless and wonder why I am still alive and serving her. But come to think of it, I could have had help and become a lawyer if I got help and wasn’t so helpless. Why are there such kinds of mothers?
Ida of Balacbac, Baguio City

Dear Ida,
Your mother must’ve grown up in the bitterest and coldest world one could imagine. She must’ve grown up in a lonely and hateful family that she shuns the world. You, spineless? Gee, girl! You’re surviving your mother gracefully. I bet you had hurdled all those challenges without her and you call yourself spineless! My dear, God puts us where He wants us. Even if you’re with her and you feel like you are unable to accomplish anything and could’ve had a life, that is an understatement.
God is your protector,
Manang

Dear Manang,
I heard that a friend of mine committed suicide after she was depressed about the death of her husband. Although I feel that the extreme depression is something that can drive us to lose the will to live, I also think that she could have been helped by counseling. I know that grief is paired with guilt and that’s also a terrible feeling. When my father died, I blamed myself for not sending enough money for his care. But I survived through treatment and I am glad to have had my family next to me. Now, I feel sad to not have reached out to her sooner.
Val of Crystal Cave, Baguio City

Dear Val,
Now you are grieving and depressed. You are right when you said that she could have been counseled. My dear, not everyone has the resources to go to a psychiatrist to get professional help. But the reality is that all we need to have done is to have sat with her and listened to her process her own sadness. It is funny how we think that we should not invade the privacy of grieving families. On the contrary, they need to understand their feelings most. The only way these emotions come to fore is to have someone hear them out. I will feed your grief and tell you that you should have been by her side while she was at the vigil. Then again, this is to encourage you to talk to a friend about your friend. This is all that you need to rise above sadness before it becomes depression. Tell everyone to ask everyone how they are. Don’t take the answer “I’m fine” to mean they are really doing well. When you encourage them to speak and just listen to them, you are saving a life.
Listen,
Manang