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Bacolod City, PhilippinesSaturday, December 7, 2013

He’s not my son

Dear Tita,

I met Edna at a party in Iloilo. She was introduced to me by a co-worker of mine. Edna and I hit it off right away and I began making frequent trips to Iloilo just to visit her. I liked her outgoing ways and her vivacious personality. She was very friendly to everyone she met.

It wasn’t long before I began courting her and she accepted me right away. When my co-worker learned that we were on, he took me aside and cautioned me to slow down as Edna had a reputation for having a lot of boyfriends. I was so madly in love with her that I didn’t care about her past – I only knew that I wanted her to be my wife.

It was during a trip to Boracay that Edna and I became intimate. I immediately knew that she wasn’t a virgin and she admitted this. It didn’t change my feelings for her. I became more determined to marry her. After a few weeks, she called me and told me she was delayed. I immediately left for Iloilo and she confirmed that she was pregnant after taking a pregnancy test. We decided to get married right away.

When I told my parents, they were against the marriage as they didn’t know anything about her. But I had made up my mind and so we got married in Iloilo with only our families present. We decided to settle down in Bacolod where I have a job. Edna had a difficult pregnancy and she had to be placed on bed rest on the sixth month. I was so worried, especially when she started to go into labor before the ninth month.

She gave birth to a baby boy through C-section. We named him Eddie after her. We tried but Edna didn’t get pregnant anymore so we showered Eddie with love, being our only child. When Eddie was only 10 years old, Edna was diagnosed with cancer of the breast. It was a devastating shock for us. She lost a lot of weight and during the last months of her life, I witnessed how she suffered as the cancer had already begun to spread.

On her last day, she motioned for me to come closer. I did and she whispered that she was begging for forgiveness as she had lied to me all these years. She told me that Eddie was not my son. She was already pregnant by her married ex-boyfriend when we got married and she was afraid I would leave her, so she kept it a secret all this time. I was in deep shock over what she told me. I couldn’t stay angry at her because she looked so pitiful at that stage. She made me promise that I would never abandon Eddie before she died in my arms. Eddie was heartbroken over his mother’s death.

Nothing has changed in my feelings toward Eddie. I still love him even if he isn’t my son. I haven’t told my family about what his mother told me. I am tempted to tell them but they might change their attitude towards him. Should I?

STILL A FATHER

Dear Still a Father,

I don’t think you have to tell them about Eddie not being your son. This was between you and your wife. She had bared her heart and soul to you on her last moments and you promised never to abandon Eddie.

I admire you for feeling the same towards the little boy despite knowing the truth about his paternity. As for revealing it to your family, you must use your own good judgment. If you think it would be good for him, then go ahead. But if the results might be unfavorable, why complicate matters?

TITA

         

Curtain Call
Rene Durian
Negros in Hindsight

It’s nice to be back and reminisce, especially those good memories. I spent over a decade of my life in Negros. It was all wonderful. I truly thought it was worth the stay.
It was in 1994 when I first set foot in Bacolod. I only knew very few people here -- Rene Hinojales, a popular choreographer whom I have worked with in some productions in Manila and film stalwart Peque Gallaga, who was based in Manila.

The late Rio Diaz Cojuangco, whom I was then managing, asked me if could come to Negroswith her. She got married to Charlie Cojuangco, a vice mayor of Pontevedra at that time.

I asked Rio, what would I be doing in Negros? Could not say no to Rio, so I dropped everything in Manila: a teaching job at St. Scholastica’s and a thriving career as a publicist in Boy Abunda’s Backroom Office.
There were three things that I requested from Rio:  to continue teaching, writing, and a place of my own in Bacolod. Pontevedra was too lethargic to me, coming from hyperactive Manila.

So, I taught at the University of St. La Salle, wrote a column in the premiere local paper, the Visayan Daily Star, and rented a place in Eroreco. My wishes were granted.

I never noticed the passing of years. It was so fast. I was just breezing through events: elections, media crisis situations, fiestas, medical missions, etc.

But there is one situation in December 1998 that changed my perspective on life and love. Rio was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was an emotional roller coaster ride. Everything became tentative to me.

It was on Oct.  3, 2004, after six years of indeterminate fight with the big C that Rio succumbed and finally gave in. But it was a good fight for she was able to maximize her last years, inspiring other cancer patients to continue the fight and to live a purposeful life.

Rio’s journey created reflective moments for my purpose in life and my own mortality. I started questioning God on the why of things and His inscrutable ways of allowing things to happen. 

Then I realized that if we are living on borrowed existence, it is only right that we return them to whom we borrowed our life. I thought that Rio was just returning home.

So I went back to Manila. Life goes on, as they say. It was not easy. After almost 12 years in Negros, where I have adapted a moderately slow paced lifestyle and going back to a concrete jungle made me shudder.

I have lived in recluse for almost three years before going back to the mainstream. I avoided friends and relatives, trying to collect myself and getting over the grief of losing the best friend I ever had.

When things got a little better for me in 2006. I applied to teach in De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, where I eventually decided to become full time and permanent.

Looking back in the years I spent in Negros, the experience taught me the important things in life:  spirituality, appreciation of one’s self and people you love, and detachment from earthly things.

The friendship I had developed in Negros served as my inspiration in coming back to Negros. I knew that I can always come back and there are friends who will welcome me.

I am writing this with joy and enthusiasm because I know that I have vicariously come back through this column.

Curtain Call took a bow some years agoclosing a wonderful performance. Now it is back to raise the curtain for another long running performance of sharing amusing insights on interesting events personalities.
                                              *********************

Starlife
Curtain Call
Rene Durian



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