Life and Dreams
Short Story #9
When a parent dies, it’s very difficult for a child, but when a parent’s death by suicide occurs, it is especially painful and has a more disturbing effect. A suicide generates horror, anger, shame, confusion, and guilt—all feelings that a child will consider overwhelming. This is indeed very true as a child at the home shared his tragic experience in life.
He is an 11 year old boy from a depressed community in the Philippines. He is the third child among 6 siblings. The family is homeless and they are living with relatives as an extended family. His father was jobless, while the mother worked as a household helper. His family is one of the 15 million Filipino families living in extreme poverty.
The tragic incident happened when he was 9 years old. His youngest sibling died of pneumonia; a situation that could have been prevented if the child had been taken to a hospital for proper treatment. The fear and loneliness he experienced as a result of his sibling’s death was intensified when he personally discovered his father’s dead body hanging from the roof of their house.
His father’s image haunted him for the first couple of months and the impact of the father’s untimely death has been tremendously painful, tumultuous and frightening. Moreover, the heartbreaking incident left an enormous hole in his life with so many unanswered questions
But somehow, a glimpse of hope was offered to him when a concerned citizen referred him and his younger sister to this children’s home. During his first few months in the home, he was withdrawn and stayed alone inside the house. He rarely smiled and never played with other children. These are normal behavioral manifestations as he went through the traumatic grieving process.
Now, I am so glad to see positive developments in his behavior. He is now an active member of the little kids’ dance group. Recently, he also joined the basketball clinic and is now more involved in home activities.
His tragic story is definitely one of the most challenging cases we’ve encountered at the home. His life, however, gives me enough reason to face each day with more love and passion because I know great things are happening in the lives of the children. Life can never be the same when someone we love dies, but we have promises that bring hope and comfort in times of suffering and trouble.
I am more inspired when I see him smiling more, but I am also aware that behind that smile is a sad reality that his brother and father are gone. The passage of time may dull the ache, but nothing takes the pain away completely. This is just the start of his new life and it will still be a long and difficult road for him, but with the overflowing love and support he receives from the loving family at this home, I believe that he will get there.
Let us continue to think of him as he makes his journey in life.