I Don’t Have A Family!
I was studying for my exam in Bioethics when my daughter heard me say out loud the primary principles of Bioethics in the Filipino culture – goodness, beneficence, and family. She interrupted me with her “but Ma, you don’t have a family anymore!”
I was stunned for a moment. Does she understand what she meant with family? My rational mind raced and I made a quick review of the things that I might have done that made her think I don’t have a family. Is she angry with me? I was afraid.
“Oh my dear, I have you. You are my family!” I reached out to her and tried to bring her to my arms. She wriggled out from me and looked away. “But Ma, a family is composed of a father, mother and children. Before, I have a Papa and Mama. Now, I do not have a Papa anymore. So I no longer have a family!”
Oh! She must have meant she has an incomplete family. Not sure if my words will be enough for her, I allowed a few seconds of silence as I held her. “Baby, you are right that an ideal family should have a father, mother and children. But in our case, even if your Papa is already gone, we are still a family. You and I, no matter what happens will always be family.”
To paint an extended family picture in her mind, I reminded her that she still has her grandpas, grandmas, aunts, uncles, and cousins around as family. “Besides, we will always have God as our Father. You and I, together with God will always be family.” She just smiled and went to work back on her coloring book.
The next day, she came home from school asking me for our family picture. “Lord, please help me with this assignment. I am not sure what’s working on her mind and heart, now. Help me to satisfy her questions, if ever she raises one,” I prayed quickly.
She didn’t want those pictures that I found. She wanted a recent family picture! I tried to show her our old wacky picture and she started to cry, “I don’t like that. I want a new picture and I want my papa back!”
I have to bat away tears and have to straighten my voice. “Papa is no longer coming back, you know that. And I cannot give you a new picture of us together. But I can make a nice picture of us together. Here, let me show you on the computer what I did with our previous photos.” She was still crying but she managed to look at what I have on the computer. She examined the picture and said, “No, I will not have that. Let’s look for another one.” So we did and found an old card that we did for family members when she was yet a year old. She got it and pasted it on her book to complete her assignment.
She did not ask anything or did talk about papa after that. But I sense that she misses papa so much. I miss him, too.
So this is my prayer. May my daughter face and overcome her reality and that God will fill in whatever void there are in her life. The good memories of papa will always be within our hearts. May she move onwards and be happy to embrace the life ahead of her. She may be too young to understand everything that happened, but I believe that there is nothing impossible with God. He can make us whole.