Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Miles away ... from INQUIRER.net


Miles away

By Belen Docena-Asuelo


Last updated 00:40am (Mla time) 02/27/2007

that it’s love month, I can’t help but sorely miss my husband. He is my
number one fan, friend, critic, confidant, soul mate, town mate, all
rolled into one. And he is miles away from me.

I am not alone with my battle against loneliness. My three girls
(ages 9, 8 and 6) who are all their Papa’s girls have not yet adjusted
to the fact that he is physically away from us. No amount of telephone
calls can still the girls’ queries on when we are going to be with
their Papa again. They miss him terribly.

He left with a heavy heart for the land of milk and honey last Dec.
29, 2006. It’s the first time he has been away after 10 years of
marriage. The scene at the airport with my husband and the kids was far
more melodramatic and touching than any episode of “Maalaala Mo Kaya”
or “Magpakailanman.” To say that a river of tears from my kids flowed
at the airport’s entrance is an understatement. The children kept on
waving at their teary-eyed father until he was out of sight.

Tears could not stop my husband’s departure. He had tried to
postpone it by requesting the agency to reschedule his flight, but
after many postponements the inevitable came, and he had to go.

I thought the drama at the airport would be enough. But on the way
home, the kids couldn’t mumble clear words as their father made his
last call before boarding his plane.

Things didn’t improve when we arrived home. They immediately looked
for things that would remind them of their Papa and or simply stared
blankly at the wall.

To this day, his presence is missed at dinnertime and bedtime. My
middle child, who used to sleep beside him, tried to feel his presence
by placing beside her pillow one of the clean shirts he left behind.
But she complained that she could not smell her Papa in the newly
washed working shirt he left.

With my husband gone, we had our loneliest "media noche" [midnight
feast] last Christmas. We were all quiet on the table even if we had
the usual array of sumptuous foods. Nothing could make up for his
absence. One of my daughters, unable to control herself, said in tears
that she should have been with her Papa.

Until now, she often repeats that wish. Sometimes I would find her
holding a picture of him, as tears roll down her angelic face.

You can’t blame my kids for loving their Papa so dearly. He was
always sensitive to their needs. He couldn’t come home without
something they loved to munch. My girls did not run out of Dunkin
Donuts. It didn’t matter if he was short on cash, he would bring
without fail something for the kids.

He also couldn’t leave home without cooking for the girls their
favorite "champorado" porridge with Milo. He couldn’t sleep without
putting medication on the kids’ skin. He was proud to say that his
angels were flawless. He would usually stock on skin medications like
Katialis and other topical ointments for the kids.

When they were sick, he was more bothered than me. He insisted on
bringing the kids to the hospital even if I assured him they had
nothing more than a slight fever. He was a mother wrapped in a father’s

Now that he is miles away, his loved ones really feel the vacuum
that he left. And we do not know how long it will take before we can
adjust to his absence. Every so often, the kids would ask when we are
going to the US Embassy for our interviews so we can join him.

He has been urging me to apply for a job in the place where he lives
now so that I can bring the kids there. I am assured of his fidelity to
me and I am convinced of his great love for the kids whenever he vows
to move heaven and earth so that we can be together soon.

I would be lying if I said I am not excited about joining my dear
husband abroad. After the many stories he has told me about the US and
the many opportunities it opens, I cannot help but wish to join the
bandwagon of professionals going abroad. We cannot deprive our three
girls of the bright future that they deserve. We will not risk giving
them a bleak tomorrow due to poor education, an unsafe environment, an
unstable economy, self-serving lawmakers, etc. Indeed, there is nothing
we won’t do for them.

I am certain that the love that binds my husband, our three girls
and me will survive the test of time and distance. Geography doesn’t
matter. The firm family bond will always be there. Our love will keep
us going.

Belen Docena-Asuelo, 29, teaches English at Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science Technology High School in Quezon City

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