October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It was sad and unfortunate that a relative of mine succumbed to cancer complications nearly four years ago. I thought of sharing a brief story about her ailment and journey…
Our extended family will end the New Year with a heavy heart. My cousin died of cancer four days before Christmas day (December 21, 2015). She was 46. We were devastated with her demise but somewhat prepared for the eventuality that she will be gone any day since her doctor informed her parents of her terminal condition last month (November). She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. She underwent mastectomy to remove the early stage of cancer from her breast. But two years later, her doctor declared that she has stage IV cancer. The cancer cells from her breast were not really abated but have spread to her brain.
Despite the pains and rigors of cancer treatment, my cousin Cecil remains positive all through her battle with cancer. Even up to her last remaining days, we know that she is holding on to her life. She loves her family so much that despite being sick she still think of their welfare. I remember her saying, “Kailangan maging malakas ang loob ko para sa pamilya.”
My cousin was laid to rest at Himlayang Pilipino on December 27.
I feel a little nostalgic today so I’m reposting one of my old entries about my great granddad. I found out that my great-grandfather, Julio Lauriaga, was part of the first wave of Filipino immigrants to Hawaii. It was in 2015 when I found a Facebook page (unfortunately it was no longer available) which helps one find his relatives who may have worked in Hawaii in 1900s.
According to stories, my maternal great-grandfather, who originated
from San Miguel, Bulacan, was a stowaway. He reportedly boarded a ship bound
for Hawaii. He later married a native Hawaiian woman and bore four children. My
great-grandfather supported his family by working as supervisor at a vast
pineapple plantation. They said he was a hardworking man. He would supervise
the plantation every morning. My great-grandfather thought he would stay in
Hawaii for the better. But he met an accident that left him badly injured.
He decided to go back to the Philippines with his four young
children in tow. He died not long after. There were sketchy information about
the real cause of his death and the reason for leaving his wife or ex-wife in
From the said FB page, I found Filipino Worker #102 named Julio Lauriaga – My great-grandfather.
I clicked on the FB link to verify if there are records to prove that my great-grandfather has worked in Hawaii.
I visited the site and searched the old man’s name. His name was on the list indeed..
Side note: My maternal grandmother and her siblings would have qualified for US citizenship if their relatives have successfully located any surviving relatives and documents that could prove they were born in Hawaii between 1910 to 1920.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s difficult to recall personal “sacrifices” that I have made for my family because I don’t consider them sacrifices but part of my responsibility as a mother and wife. Maybe what I can share with you were the occasions when I was assigned provincial assignments and don’t get to see my kids for several days. Even when there was someone to watch over my kids, it’s different when you see them on a daily basis and monitor if they have eaten properly, took their vitamins, or completed their homework. I’m sure there are other moms out there who can relate to my experience. There was another instance when I was on assignment and got stalled in the area for days because the province was hit by a typhoon and there were no available flights going back to Manila. I wish I can voice out my complaint to my bosses for giving me the assignment, but they can’t do anything about it as they too were following orders from the top.
I quit my job not because I don’t love the things that I do for more than a decade, but I thought there are more important things than earning money. I wish I’d stay, but there is a part of me that says I’d had enough. I’m still a working mom at present, but my home serves as my office for online opportunities that I do. I’m happy that I’m no longer an absentee mom, but a mom at their beck and call.
How about you what sacrifices you’ve made for your family lately?