My strength is gone

  • Written by Atty. Jay De Castro
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 498

Magkaisa para sa bayan

YESTERDAY, November 18, 2017 at about 2:30 a.m., we lost our dear mother, Julieta Paloma Capistrano De Castro of Lopez, Quezon.  She died a day before my birthday today.

At the time that I reached 61 years-old, our mother whom we call “Mommy” died at the age of 90 years, five months and two days, after celebrating her last birthday on June 16, 2017. She was born in 1927. She lived a long life and she was blessed for that.

Immediately after her demise, I messaged our youngest brother in Hawaii, “Mel, I’m sorry to say Mommy passed away at 2:30 a.m. Nov. 18, 2017.” After a few minutes, he responded saying, “Mommy is resting in peace now. Hindi naman siya masyadong nahirapan in her last days. May God bless our mother’s soul.”

Then I called our eldest, Ate Benda and said, “Siguro naman alam mo na kung bakit ako tumawag.” And she answered, “Oh, my God.” She knew our mother was dead when I called, because we all knew of her impending death due to her terminal illness -- pulmonary metastasis or cancer of the lungs.

My mother was relatively strong immediately prior to her 90th birthday, she was healthy and we did not know of any ailment that afflicted her.

Due to an accident in June 2017, however, when her head and body hit the floor when she slipped after coming out of the bathroom, she became sick, weak and lost appetite to eat.
When brought to the Lung Center of the Philippines, two days after the accident, she was found to have slight hematoma on the brain and several spots in her lungs which her doctor said could be pulmonary metastasis which had spread or metastasized to a different part of her body from where it started.
As Mommy was very old and weak, the doctors said she could not be operated on and it would be better if she is brought home and given care by the family and that her children abroad should come home as she may go anytime.
Because of Mom’s situation, my brother Mel went home from Hawaii with his youngest son Jaycarl, a 6’1, eighteen-year-old and handsome young man, who Mommy took care of when he was still a baby.  Mel and Jaycarl’s arrival gave happiness to Mommy and we siblings had a happy bonding time with our beloved mother.
Mel, who has a nursing home in the U.S., said at the most, we could expect Mommy to live for only six  months, as their old patients with similar illness last only for the said period of time. After three  weeks of happy times with our mother, Mel and Jaycarl went back to the US and said they’ll be back in case Mom will be gone.
Sometime in August, 2017, Mommy’s condition deteriorated and I wrote on my Facebook Page that, “My Strength is Fading.”
My friends thought that I was talking about my health and said I should rest and have enough sleep. They didn’t know I was referring to my mother.
Mommy knew she was going and, as the days passed, we could see that she was suffering. There were times she said she could no longer bear her sufferings and wanted to die, but she also says, she will try her best to live up to my birthday on November 19.
When I ask her about her condition, she would say “I live for you.” It breaks my heart to learn that she fights for life because she didn’t want me to be sad on my birthday when she dies.
Yesterday, while I was not yet at home, our housemate told Mommy, “’Ma, birthday na ni Attorney bukas,” and my mother said, “Baka hindi ko na kaya.”
When I arrived home at about 1:00 a.m., I saw our Mom with her tongue almost pulled inside her mouth and her eyes blank. I placed my head on her head for several minutes as I usually do and kissed her hands and said “Mommy, si Tolny to. I love you,” and then I called Jun to look on her.

Jun said that when I left, Mommy asked him, “Sino yun? Si Tolny?”
Jun said yes and on learning that I was the one who kissed her, she made her last breath. Parang inantay lang kayo, Sir,” said Jun.  
After Mommy, who has always been my strength died, I wrote on my FB page:
“My strength is gone. She passed away at 2:30 a.m. today Nov. 18, 2017. May she see the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for trying your best to live up to my birthday tomorrow. I love you Mommy. We love you.”