“I realized when you look at your mother; you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” –Mitch Albom
There was this young mother of five children named Emma*. She is 28 years old. Four of her children were diagnosed to have Primary Complex infection. When she first knew it, she had her heart in her mouth. At first, she seemed to deny that her children had this kind of disease.
We heard from our TB partner in the area, Ellen, a Barangay Health Worker, that Emma* completed her 6-month TB treatment few years ago. We, then, understood her body language. Immediately, she decided to have her children start with the treatment. Among the parents who partnered with us in the treatment regimen, she was the only one who had plenty of children to monitor to. Because of this, we became intentional to visit her to make sure that all her children received the proper treatment.
Every time we visit their family, we found them smiling and so happy to welcome us. Emma* is painfully thin. It is because she does everything in the house and has to attend to her five children with no help at all. She does not have any immediate family nearby. And that’s what makes her situation hard because she lacks enough moral support. But we never heard her complain about her situation.
When we asked her, “Most of the children discontinued with their treatment because mothers cannot convince their children to take the medicines. How about you? What made you pursue, knowing that you have to monitor four children? With a teary-eyed she replied, “I want my children healed. I do not mind if I have to wake up very early in the morning for six months just to make sure their lungs will be healthy. Our family cannot afford to buy medicines for them that’s why I am very thankful because someone sponsored their medicines. I do not want to miss this opportunity. Even if there’s no one to encourage me, I have to encourage myself and even write on the wall for me to be reminded everyday.”
After the six-month treatment, two of the four children were still assessed to have the infection, so they needed to take the medicines for another three months. We found out that she had an argument with her husband regarding the treatment. Her husband seemed to not care at all. She is emotionally-drained, but she still wants her children healed no matter what. She needed to make a very hard decision.
We were there when she had her toughest decision. She left her husband and her two children. She was crying and so tensed because for 13 years of marriage, this is the first time she will do this to her family just to make sure the two children will be completely healed. . We had nothing to do, but prayed for her to overcome this ordeal and find strength and comfort from the Lord.
*not her real name
by: Angela Mendoza, RN