Written By Marjorie Mañalac, Volunteer Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines

In this life, we want to love and to be loved back, and to find the one we will spend our life with. But what if you already found that person, and then one day, he’s just suddenly gone? How hard is it to live life for a widow?

Marina Mandap, 79, a mother of seven from Pulumbulo, Angeles, Pampanga, and a widow for 21 years, caught my attention during the medical, dental, and optical mission of Operation Blessing (OB) in partnership with Kabalikat para sa Maunlad na Buhay Incorporated (KMBI) in Angeles Pampanga last August 15. Being a widow since 1994 really challenged Mommy Marina.

“It’s not easy, but it’s a good thing I have kind-hearted children and in-laws,” said Mommy Marina, honoring Cherry, 33, one of her daughters-in-law.

We hear that usually, the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are not in good terms, but not with Mommy Marina and Ate Cherry. Mommy Marina stays with her son’s family. She keeps an eye on her grandchildren, 12 and nine years old, while Ate Cherry cares for her mother-in-law.

For all the needs of the family, they make do with the minimum wage Le, Mommy Marina’s son, receives per day, as well as Ate Cherry’s income from her sideline as a rattan-maker.

“It’s just enough. We just budget it to cover our everyday needs,” explained Ate Cherry.

Both Mommy Marina and Ate Cherry received medicines during the mission. Mommy Marina received meds for her hypertension, while Ate Cherry received meds to strengthen her immune system, especially now that she’s seven months pregnant. Kuya Le’s eyes were also checked by our volunteer ophthalmologist, and he will receive new eyeglasses with 225-225 vision in two weeks.

“We thank you for the help we have received. The medicines are a big help to Inda (“mother” in Kapampangan). When her blood pressure rose before, we lacked money to buy her medicine, that’s why she wasn’t able to take her full prescription. As for me, I had fever, cough and colds last week. Thank you for the help you have given us,” expressed Ate Cherry.

“The medicine given to my mother and my wife are a big help, as well as the eyeglasses that will be given to me. Just recently, I had trouble seeing. My vision was blurring. Thank you for the eyeglasses that will be delivered in two weeks.” said Kuya Le.

As per Mommy Marina, with the help and love of her children who have their own families, though they experienced lacking financially, they believe they have never lacked love for each other. It’s not easy to lose the one that you love the most, the one you’ve lived with for years, yet her strong heart and impressive faith enabled her to endure the hardest challenges for a widow – depression, moving on and continuing to live even without her husband.

After being a partner of OB in its livelihood program, KMBI also partnered with OB’s healthcare program to provide health services to those who cannot readily afford them. If you would like to do the same, visit http://staging2.obphil.com/home/healthcare to find out how, or call us at 477 7802 to 04 and 06, and together, let us brighten more lives like Mommy Marina’s.