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Blessed parenthood |


Blessed parenthood

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star
Blessed parenthood

My husband Loy had a few strange habits. He never gave gifts on birthdays, Christmas or Valentine’s Day. But he gave no-occasion gifts. He was the same with his children and grandchildren. But this year, after leaving us almost a month ago and for reasons I don’t understand but appreciate tremendously, I think he has arranged a surprise Valentine’s Day gift for me: my operation will happen on Valentine’s Day.

Lately, life has been full of the unexpected. One Tuesday, there were pre-operation activities — a blood test, an x-ray and a 2D Echo — whatever that is. The blood test was done more skillfully than the one in the Emergency Room, which left a bruise. This one didn’t hurt the least.

I discovered that 2D Echo was a long x-ray taken on your side. Sometimes you hear your heart beat. Each ventricle makes a different sound. That’s my interpretation, anyway.

Then I had to wait three days to pick up the results and another three days to see the cardiologist who alarmed me over the state of my heart. He said I had a big heart, with one ventricle not working well because of an artery that had a clot and because I didn’t take any maintenance medicines. My blood pressure taken just the week before was 128/80, which I thought was good. When he took my blood pressure he said it was high. I thought he wouldn’t give me a clearance but instead he wrote one, leading me to wonder: why did he say my heart condition was so flawed when he cleared me for surgery?

The next day I tried to relax. But the following day I was due to meet my surgeon, whom I like very much because she’s very upbeat. We had a one o’clock appointment. She came in at 2:30 p.m. We were supposed to be number nine on the patients’ list but fortunately, many others didn’t come so we were the third to be seen that afternoon. She looked at all my pre-op reports and said they were very good. This relieved me tremendously. A cardiologist said I had many problems but a surgeon said my tests were very good. I vote with my surgeon.

My surgeon showed my son and me that she loved music. My son is a Musician with a capital M. He composes, arranges, directs, plays the keyboard. He played the keyboard at Gary V’s 100th concert at the Music Museum. To me, he is much more than that. He is my only son who has supported me 200 percent, from finding me a doctor who directed us to the surgeon to my nine hours in the emergency room, from buying me a tuna sandwich with pickle relish to a Japanese lunch at Tomo for my favored unagi. Gino has been with me every step of the way.

His three sisters — two in California, one in England — have been equally supportive through cell phones. This is a message I received: “Gino updated us. Unfortunately all these tests are designed to look for flaws and thus scare us. Please don’t be scared or worried especially if you have been feeling fine apart from the bleeding: We three have been meditating almost daily for your healing and sending you love. We check in with each other after and so far in all or visualizations, Mamoo and Lolo Vlady (my parents) are behind you, loving you and cheering you on. Loy also shows up with a smile. Love you, Mom. Don’t be afraid...”

All this time I have been thinking about parenthood. How lovely it is when the babies are born until they are around five years old. Then I’ve said I wanted to rent them out until they grew into adulthood and we could be friends. The most terrible years came in their puberty, which is when they don’t know it (and neither do you) but they’re learning to disengage from their parents to become adults eventually. Then they become adults. All this time we parents are learning with them: How to love immensely then how to let go painfully. Then they become independent and lead their own lives and we feel forgotten. But when we turn 80 we learn that there is no one else in the world who cares about us more than our children. We love them tremendously and are profoundly grateful for them.

Every time I pray the rosary I ask Jesus and Mama Mary to show me my way into old age. I just realized writing this that the first step is to appreciate our children and the love they surround us with. Now, at age 79, I love being their parent. Maybe I should also appreciate becoming a widow. Maybe that’s why, quite accidentally, my husband Loy nudged my surgeon into scheduling my operation on Valentine’s Day.

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