Without the love of God, family, friends, and colleagues, I would never have made it through – surviving life as a solo parent.

Love is accepting life as a solo parent.  When my husband was ailing for months before his death from kidney and liver cancer in the summer of 2001, God strengthened me so much that when he finally left me with my two hyperactive preschool boys, I had little time weeping over what might have been had the situation been different.  Until now, I could not fathom how God held me through these years.  How I accepted life as it is.  

Love is being full of hope in surviving life as a solo parent.  When my boys were in grade school at Saint Paul College of Ilocos Sur, the most expensive school in the province, I never gave up in sending them through high school despite earning a meager salary as Information Officer 1. Government’s loan facilities like  GSIS and Pag-IBIG had helped me in paying for their tuition fee and other needs. I also used my creativity in preparing wedding invites, corsages, bouquets, tokens, doing floral arrangements, as my part-time job.

Love is devoting my life for the excellent growth of my children. To help my children grow up to become good persons, I collected children’s books and even books on child rearing. This led to my mobile photo exhibit on Children’s Rights and a mobile library of children’s books in all the day care centers and public elementary schools of Eastern Vigan.

Love is having a close relationship with God. It is attending the Holy Mass at St. Paul Cathedral after my kids had their Taekwondo training. While at home, we prayed the Three O’clock Prayer and sing the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy with Eternal Word Television Network.

Love is thanking my husband who left me with the greatest gifts of God – my two sons who have been my constant friends and companions in laughter and in tears. Words are not enough to express how proud I am of them.

Theodore Dan, my first born, quickly found a job as an English teacher in his Alma Mater after graduating in March 2016. The former editor-in-chief and managing editor of his college paper is now the campus paper adviser. His artistry is evident when he gives his students the best educational materials which he prepares every day. Also with his IT-skills, he had been the IT consultant of PIA Ilocos Sur for the past years.

My youngest son Ian Paul, on the other hand, is currently in his third year in architecture at the University of Northern Philippines. He has received medals and trophies in Taekwondo, volleyball, and arts.  The best is the gold from the National Championship of Little Milo Olympics where his high school volleyball team won in Cebu City in 2013.

Both my kids are artists, and as their parent, one dream I have been harboring is to have an exhibit of their works.

Love is the coaches of my two sons who trained them in taekwondo, soccer, swimming, lawn tennis, volleyball, voice, and guitar.  To give my two sons some kind of a “father figure”, I relied on their coaches. I pushed my asthmatic Ian Paul to get his black belt in Taekwondo in fifth grade and his brother Theodore Dan his high blue belt in fourth grade.  Today, they continue being sporty.

Love is God who has endlessly been guiding me to become a devoted government worker while surviving life as a solo parent. Sixteen long years of being an Information Officer 1 did not make me work like a slug but I persisted on giving everything I have for public service, instead.  I was a regular columnist in three weekly newspapers including the four-year PIA Infobits in Iloco at Timek ti Amianan, and hosted and co-hosted a daily radio program for seven years.

Love is the Philippine Information Agency, my beloved office, for it never ceased to give me the inspiration to fulfill my duties as a civil servant more so, as a government journalist.  Enjoying my work helped me raise my two kids with a cheerful heart. 

Love is patient and is kind. Love endures forever, wrote Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  Yes, a love which comes only from God has been my partner in living as a solo parent. (PIA)