I used to believe that good things happen to good people, until my own experiences taught me otherwise.
I grew up in a complicated family setup. I was three years old when Mama needed to leave to work as a domestic helper abroad. I was taken care of by an aunt, my papa’s older sister who became my mother figure.
At a young age, I was given adult responsibilities, taking care of my nieces and nephews while doing errands at home.
In school, I was determined to get honors even without a complete family. I believed that striving will fill whatever was missing in me and that when I do good, life will be in my favor.
After almost eight years in Singapore, Mama decided to come home. Then, it was Papa who decided to leave.
Fast forward to college life. I was still the same me who continued to do well in whatever field I was into. I was exposed to different opportunities in school where I was trained to become a student leader in the campus.
I was in second year college when Papa decided to come home. We were shocked. The next days changed everything.
He was diagnosed with renal failure and needed a kidney transplant to live. One late night, he woke me up asking if I could donate my kidney. I lost one of my kidneys on Dec. 16, 2003.
Despite going through so many challenges, I remained positive that things would be better. However, they didn’t. Then came my worst nightmare.
I was 25 when I gave birth to a special boy. My second child has Down syndrome. He was so sick that he needed to stay in the hospital for months. Unfortunately, I was not renewed in the school where I used to teach due to incurred absences. I had no work and our bills in the hospital left us financially drained.
This time, I broke down. I could no longer see any silver lining behind all that I was going through.
Not even a newborn son could make me believe in new life.
While I was battling depression, I was hired as a teacher aide volunteer in Talisay. My meager salary I received became our life blood.
The classroom became my haven. My students became my source of hope.
Listening to my students, I realized that their stories resonated with mine. I saw struggling students who made ends meet and still achieved great heights in school. Because of them, I believed in hope again. I never imagined that I would be able to heal my brokenness through my students’ broken lives.
I started to see my worth. I used my dark past to give light to my students. I started training them to become student-journalists, landing us in national competitions.
We started with nothing but because of my students’ determination, we pulled through. In my desire to give my students the best that they deserve, in turn, they brought out the best in me.
So, this is probably the reason God had given me so much load to carry. I will never be the kind of teacher I am now without it.