September 2

Ground Zero

It’s my third day of being a digital orphan and I was thinking that maybe there will be some massive change or lightning bolt in the sky to mark my decision. None of the sort happened. As it turns out, it’s pretty much like the regular grind before all this craziness happened. I realized that I was, in fact, orphaned a long time ago. I only acknowledged it now and ditched the illusion of family that I had been nursing before. There is no more use to deluding myself.

I remember that one time in my childhood that the Census guy came to our house in Caloocan and he tagged me as “No Family” because I had a different surname. His classification turned out to be accurate. I refused to accept it for years but the assessment was pretty accurate. I have biological roots like everyone, but after this crisis, I saw that I really have no family. I only have a mother and a sister (maybe a cousin or two); the rest are just strict relations by blood.

My husband’s family grafted me as one of their own, but prior to their arrival in my life, I am just floating emotionally. I needed to tie this loose end so that I can move forward in life.

Embracing this truth was a tough choice but it was very empowering. I continue to send help to my mom and my sister because I care about their well-being, but that’s pretty much it. I have reduced my involvement to providing funds and palpable help as needed. I am still involved in the cancer treatment options as a daughter. But this time, instead of taking full reins and compulsively handling each element of her therapy because no one wants to budge, I wholly respect the balance of nature and let the husband do the work. It’s up to him if he will lift a muscle, but I am no longer picking up the work he refuses to do as a partner to my mom. I will not regret the fund raising drive or the public Facebook posts. But I’m more of a free agent than a part of family now.

There are no more plans of going back to where I grew up. This time, it’s focused mainly on moving forward and making sure that my son lives a high quality of life. The focus is on concentrating on making the best of my bedridden state and moving forward. There is an ease with cutting toxic ties after you know that you have done everything in your power to make things work and it didn’t. This is not the most ideal of circumstances, but this time, I am finally truly free of the guilt tripping, psychological torture, manipulation, and emotional abuse. It’s my birthday gift to myself and an appropriate welcome gift to my baby when he comes out into the world this January.

When you become responsible for a little one, the tough choices that seemed impossible are no longer impossible to make. It’s much easier to say no, make tough calls, and judiciously choose between what’s helpful and what’s not for the sake of the child. There is a certain decisive power that comes with being a mother. Instead of just thinking about yourself, you think about what’s best for the child. If it means cutting all the toxic people out of your life to make it happen, so be it. No matter who they used to be or who they are, you cannot allow your baby to be dragged into a mess that he does not deserve.

For all the chaos, I am happy that it happened. There is no greater test of authentic relationships than a full blown crisis. And even if I am literally standing on ground zero now, losing my family and my possessions and my well-guarded privacy,I know that better things are coming.