So it's 2am and I can't put myself to sleep despite getting migraine attacks in the afternoon for always being up late. It's been like this for a week now. If you're in the same loop as I am in social media and current events, you know what I am talking about. Yes. It's the Mamasapano clash and the 44 fallen heroes. I do not personally know any of them (my husband and friends do) but I cry like I'm part of the bereaved family every time I see news (on TV and Facebook) about the incident. It saddens me, not just because I am a wife of a soldier or because my friends know some of the men that died, but because I am a Filipino.
I am mad, too. As what I have told my husband over the phone just a few hours earlier, this is my first time after such a long time (ex-PGMA regime) to feel this abhorrence towards the country's leader. I am trying my best to refrain from posting on Facebook because I know well that it's just Facebook. My words, may it mean so deep and true, will remain words. I used to say that I dislike the way the netizens blame the government for all the problems the country faces. However, this time, I loathe him too much I wished for him to die. I wish that some crazy and grieving friends of the fallen 44 will plan to assassinate him. But then again, another jerk will replace him if that happens. And wishing ill for someone, no matter how bad he is, does not heal wounds, does not pacify chaos. It only makes evil rejoice. So I shunned the thoughts and while so, my 6-year-old came to me and asked why I was crying.
Stupidity hits or perhaps my tears clouded my motherhood brain cells, I told her the truth. She said "awww" as if she was watching a telenovela. She asked why it happened and told her about her book, War Makes Me Sad. I retold what it said there: that Filipinos are killing each other. For two consecutive nights, she had terrible dreams. She was always crying and calling her father. It only dawned on me that she, too was greatly affected for what happened when she said "I hope it won't happen to Tatay." It sent shivers all over my body. I felt so guilty for telling her the truth and allowing her to watch the daily evening news with me.
We stopped doing so and went back to Phineas and Ferb. At least all things there, be it crazy and sometimes evil (hello, Doofenshmirtz) are all make-believe. I watched the necrological services coverage, though while she was in school earlier yesterday. And again, the president's obvious lack of empathy disappointed me. I can't itemized his wrongdoings here anymore to avoid further discussion but him being fashionably late made me draw one general conclusion — he is an asshole. No wonder no woman lasted.
OK. I will spare you from my angst.
I want to share with you that my husband was once assigned in Mindanao, in a beautiful but poor province. He told me stories I don't read in newspapers, haven't seen on TV. It weakened my Filipino soul but strengthened my mommy heart. If I can only give one reason on why I want the war to end in Mindanao, it has to be for the children of this country. I still want them to fearlessly face the future with hope. It is when fallen soldiers' children cry that I feel more crushed.
I told my Cpt R that if he'll be assigned there again, Pia and I will go with him wherever that will be. In the deepest corner of my heart, should he die at work, I want to be by his side as quickly as I can. Yes, it hurts to even think about it, but it's part of his job, of every soldier's job. Every soldier's wife knows that. He didn't say a thing, didn't respond. That's the usual him, my man of few meaningful words. Thinking about it, maybe he thinks I'm exaggerated, after all he's not into "battle stuff" anymore unlike when he was younger. Or he really doesn't like the idea. Whatever it is, I'm okay with him not saying anything at all about it. I'm blessed enough that I can still speak with him.
That blessing was a part of my conversation with two of my army wife friends.
Virtually, we shared how sad we are about what happened. One of them personally know some of the fallen 44, those who came from PNPA. In my mind, I was hugging my friend. It must be a tougher week for her, for someone who had shared memories with the victims of brutality and terrorism. We all tried our best to look at the brighter side and said, "we're lucky our husbands weren't there."
Indeed, we are. That is why I will exert all my efforts in making my daughter understand the situation and accept it with a contented heart. In her little world of toys, 'toons and pink clothes, I will surely have a hard time. I'm taking it slowly, don't worry. It's not as if I'm reading her father's military books to her or making her watch YouTube videos of slain cops but yes, I read to her.
I got this book at Powerbooks and it's Php89.95 only. It's a narration of a child experiencing the war between the Muslim and Christian people in Mindanao. Cpt R said it's not for the young ones, that it's too tragic to read to kids. He read it to our girl once when he was home. When I first read it, I was the one crying. My daughter was tight-lipped and wondering. My husband may be right. It's too controversial for a young innocent child like our daughter. But you know what? It can stir a young one's mind to hope for a better country, to be grateful for the life that she has. And so I read it to her again two days after the Mamasapano clash. I observed her reception, it was okay. Mine was worse, I went to the bathroom, turned on the faucet and wept alone.
No one wants war, not even my soldier husband. We all want peace, of course. But how can we obtain that if the lawless elements can 't even fight against the government troopers fairly (how odd, fight and fair in a sentence)? Why does it have to be so callous and evil? Oh well, they're terrorists, I forgot. I have no enough military knowledge to further discuss this but I have a child of a soldier and that makes my existence more important than ever before. It makes my motherhood more demanding, not that motherhood itself isn't, but I have a duty to fulfill — to make my daughter's life happy and secured as long as I can.
War Makes Me Sad is written by Mary Ann Floresta, founder of ABC Educational Development Center in Kidapawan City. Proceeds of this book help poor children in Mindanao in their basic and secondary education.