She was then my Tatyana’s nanny. But within those years, she became more than just a nanny. She became a family and she never fails to treat us the same. Suddenly, that nanny thing is, now gone. Our Nanay Ebay (Mom Ebay/Genoveva) came to its existence.
One day, a funny thing happened. Our family is having recreational activity, we are walking on the boulevard. An old lady asked my daughter, Tatyana, if what’s the name of her mommy. To my surprise, she did not mention my name but her nanny’s name.
Normally, it should upset me, but it didn’t. Maybe because Nanay Ebay does not just become a family to us, she also became my Tatyana’s best friend and her second mom. Last year, sad to say, I heard her talking to somebody on the phone. She was talking about some stuff that never even came into my mind. Stuff I considered absurd.
One day, the absurdness of the word broke the silence in our home. “I need to stop working”, she said, without even looking at us. “I got a call that my husband suffered a stroke and no one will take care of him”, she added.
Everyone’s faces turn serious and, notably, speechless. Of course, I don’t want to let her go, but then, deep inside me, I do understand all her sentiments. Unexpectedly, I said, “Of course and you may come back anytime you please”. I am really hoping the latter thing to happen in the very near future. Imagine, I have to do everything alone now since my husband is at work every single day. In the bigger picture, who will take care of my kids when I am about to leave for six months for my review. This is such a mess. A big one!
We tried to find a replacement, but no one is as good as she is. Days passed. Then, it becomes weeks. I was supposed to leave last week, but I can’t because no one will look at my kids. I am super disgusted with everything that I came to the point of giving up my dream. Then, I heard a familiar voice at the gate. She was smiling, older and thinner than the last time I saw her. I shouted, “Nay!” [Nanay is a Tagalog word for Mother].
Everyone was happy that day. Deep inside, I wanted to ask her about what happened, but I don’t want to be so insensitive about her problems, so I chose to shut up. I flew to Manila and every two months I visited them.
But now, I broke the silence. Here is my interview and her confession:
Nay, how hard was it?It is very hard. In fact, no word has the power to describe every pain I feel.
Feel, not felt? Do you still have a problem with it?Actually, I don’t intend to go back working, but if I will not, me, my kids and even my stroke survivor husband will die this year. We have no food, we have nothing but problems, we have no one to run to, and the only thing I can do to help myself and my family is to work again.
Who is taking care of your husband now?My son, Ekoy, is helping him and taking good care of him now. But, Ekoy is still studying so he is alone in our house during daytime or school time.
If you are there today, what do you think you do?Early morning I bathe him and prepare food if I could find something to eat that early. And then, I massage him day and night. People are telling me that it is good for stroke survivors. So, I put a try on it. I also hang a rope in our house trusses for him to pull every now and then. I can see his eagerness to be normal again.
What is the hardest thing you ever experienced while in that situation?The hardest thing is defecating while lying. We have no bedpan to use and I can’t even afford one. It is really, really hard. Also, it is very hard to be a nurse and a head of the family at the same time. You can’t take care of someone while working in another place.
Is there any progress on him?Yes, he can walk now, but he must use a cane as a support.
So you mean, he is okay?Yes. He is quite okay compared before.
What about you, are you okay, now?I don’t know. I don’t like the idea. We are still broke. Sometimes, I think I’m being punished. I am not the one who suffered from stroke, but I play the hardest part I could ever imagine.
The sad thing is I regret asking the last part, so it ends here.