As I am writing this, my aunt is struggling for her life in the intensive care unit of Perpetual Succour Hospital. She had undergone a kidney transplant last July and she was scheduled to finally come home to Butuan this Saturday and start her new lease on life.
She might come home this week indeed — but, God forbid, maybe not alive. Last Sunday night, Auntie was rushed to the hospital because she had a stroke. Right now, she just had another stroke, only now, a massive one.
I last saw Auntie Bebing last April when we were also in Cebu for my mom’s periodic check up. Back then, she was still undergoing dialysis three times a week while awaiting a match for her kidney donor. It was already late when we got to her sister’s house and we were afraid that she might be tired. So we did not stay long – only less than an hour. Auntie then looked healthier than when I saw her last in Butuan. She was already in Cebu as early as January 2008 in the hope of getting a transplant.
The next time we were in Cebu was during my cousin’s wedding in August and during that time, Auntie had just undergone her kidney transplant. The whole family visited her in the hospital but because I had a cold, I did not go in to see her for fear that I might pass my cold on her, especially that her immune system was literally turned off. I gathered I’d see Auntie when she gets well. I think I told my mother to tell auntie I was there in the hospital with the rest of the family. I hope she did.
My mom and I were again in Cebu in September and I told her it would have been nice to visit auntie but we had such a short, tight schedule and the seminar ended quite late that we forego the chance to visit her. We still thought we’d see her once she’s fully recovered and back in Butuan.
I might not be able to see her alive again and it’s sad that we did not give her our time when we were already there. Though everytime we were in town, visiting her never escaped our thoughts, it would have been nice if we went. She would have been happy to receive visitors. It’s just that we were also warned that Auntie’s immune system is practically out that we were also afraid she might catch some infection from us if we went.
Auntie had stayed with her sister in Cebu since January this year. Except for occasional visits from uncle and Rheza, and her grandkids, I bet she was lonely there but I know she endured it all because of her will to live longer. I’m just sad for her and for uncle, rheza and the kids (reece is working abroad) that they did not enjoy each other’s company while she was still recovering fully to come home finally. Although not enough, the two months that she was just there waiting to come home would have added to the times they were together. Her untimely stroke was totally unexpected especially that she was already scheduled to come home this weekend.
I am told that Auntie will finally go home to rest eternally anytime today. I will remember her a cheerful aunt who made delicious birthday cakes in my childhood. She was a good cook and she cooked us yummy ones during sleepovers at my cousin’s house. She also took care of us at home in Nigeria because both my parents were working then – all four of us plus two of hers! She was a devoted wife and a loving mother who did her best to give the world to her beloved children.
This experience again taught me not to take things for granted because we just cannot be sure our loved ones are always there when we want to spend time with them.
I feel so bad for Uncle Rudy who also just lost his mother last July. I pray that he and the rest of the family will be able to overcome this harsh reality of life. I have seen how Uncle frantically did everything he can to save and prolong Auntie’s life. With all the treatments Auntie had to go through and the hardships her family endured just to give her the best medical treatment, this ending is breaking my heart.
So long Auntie. Thank you for everything. I’m sorry I did not visit you more in the several times I was in Cebu.
Bye Auntie…I still pray this is not goodbye yet and you will still be able to pull through…