When a mother with disability's son becomes disabled


It was in March 26, 2018 when Susan Francisco’s son, Ronnie, met a vehicular accident which resulted in a traumatic brain injury leaving him totally dependent.

Ronnie, 31, is married with two children, but after the accident his wife left him and their children for another man. Now Susan is left with Ronnie and Ronnie’s four year old son. The other son is with the family of the wife.

Ronnie’s accident has lowered his mental age to that of a child, totally dependent on his caregiver, which in this case is his mother. He cannot do anything, even with self care his mother has to assist him from bathing to feeding.

Life is really hard for Ronnie, although admittedly he is not conscious about it. People cringe when they see him especially when he is salivating or when he coughs because mucus would come out from his tracheostomy tube.

Gusto ko na sanang matanggal yan, kaso lang sabi ng doktor, kailangan munang ibalik yung bao ng ulo niya, P80,000 din yun, saan kami kukuha noon (I would prefer that this would be removed, but the doctor said that we have to do craniotomy first, which is worth P80,000. Where would we get such amount)?” said Susan.

Buwan buwan pumupunta kami sa Balanga para sa check up niya. P7,000 din yun saka mag-arkila pa kami ng tricycle kasi ayaw ko na siyang isakay sa jeep. Nasasaktan ako pag nakikita kong pinagdidiriian siya ng mga tao (Every month we would go to Balanga for a check up and it costs us P7,000, and we also need to rent a tricycles because we don’t want him to use the jeepney anymore. I would be hurt,” she said.

Susan, is herself a person with disability. When she was around 10 years old she suffered from a skin disease around her eyes. This left her with defective eyes, affecting her eyesight. This defect became the subject of taunts among other children, until finally she decided to stop going to school because she could not stand the taunts anymore. She did not finish grade school.

Ayaw ko na maging tulad ako sa aking nanay. Nanay ko, laging nakikipag-away dahil sa akin. Ayaw niya’ng tinutukso ako. Tuwing nanganganak ako, una kong tinitingnan sa sanggol ay ang mga mata kasi mahirap na kung maranasan nila ang naranasan ko (I don’t want to be like my mother. My mother, she is always in a row because of me. She doesn’t want anybody bullying me. Every time I give birth, the first thing I’d look at the baby is the eyes, because it’s so difficult for them to experience what I have been through),” she said.

Susan eventually overcame the challenges she faced due to her disability, but since she was unable to finish her studies, opportunities for her were slim. Still, with hardwork she was able to slowly build a home for her children and send most of her children to school, at least until high school.

She and her husband work as seasonal workers in farms around Saysain.

She shared that despite their lack she is still able to answer the call of the church, especially when it comes to financial matters. “Tumutugon ako pagnanghihingi ang KrisMa kahit walang wala kami. Para sa bulaklak o kung ang KrisMa namin ang nakaassign na sponsor sa simbahan (I always respond when the BEC would ask for money even if we have nothing. For the flower in the church or if our BEC is assigned to be the mass sponsor),” she said. “Pero nadismaya lang ako dahil nung lumapit sana ako sa simbahan para kay Ronnie, sinabihan lang kami na nahinto na raw yung programa na assistance mula sa KrisMa, kaya hindi na ako nagsisimba, pero kung pinupuntahan naman ako at hinihingan, nagbibigay pa naman ako (But I was disappointed when I asked helped from the church for Ronnie, I was just told the program of the BEC on giving assistance has been stopped, that is why I don’t go to church anymore, but if someone from the church comes to me and solicits for contributions, I still give).”

She revealed that they still have a lot of needs, especially with Ronnie, but to be able to experience peace (kaginhawahan) she has to approach life one day at a time.
*This is one of the stories I encountered in the process of writing my theological thesis on community based rehabilitation (CBR/CBID) as a pastoral approach in the care of persons with disability. The study is still on-going.
*Photo from the net.


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