Sunday, December 16, 2007

Surprising the Young's Blood

I got up and went out with a clear ultimate goal for the day: to have a specific item on my things-to-do-before-turning-thirty list crossed out.

Funny how things just worked against how I planned them. The forces of nature couldn’t have been more blatant in telling me, “Hey, your dream won’t come true today!”

My spirit which was set to accomplish an item on the list I concocted April of this year is dying. I suddenly felt like sleeping. So my mom’s window shopping at the kiosks around the food chain where we took our snack isn’t really something I was happy about. I wanted to go home badly. Perhaps to mend my soon-to-be defeated soul.

It seemed that the fates had made other arrangements for my day. As it turned out, they had something better in store for me.

I was in the middle of Carriedo Mall in Quiapo (I think) when I received a text message from a former officemate, Ces, saying that she read my Youngblood article in the day's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (December 15, 2007).

I panicked! I didn't realize they will publish it so soon because I just sent it to them Monday night (Dec 10) and didn't get confirmation that they received it until last Thursday (Dec. 13).

When I finally found the words to tell my mom and an officemate, who was with us, what the text message that almost gave me a heart attack was all about, I almost cried. I just felt the need to restrain myself because who cries in Carriedo Mall? Right?

I was just so happy because finally, more people will know about Nichi. After he passed away, I sort of promised him that I will do that. That I will write about him and kids who are like him so that they and their bravery will be recognized.

Truth be told that, after submitting a final paper which was entitled “Coping with Childhood Leukemia in the Family” in my first serious writing class back in college, I swore not to write anything about Nichi or his disease that will give me (or my writing ability) credit. I vowed never to “exploit” Nichi again not until he gets well. I’ve decided to reserve his story at a time when I would be narrating in the past tense. When I will be looking back at Nichi’s sacrifices and bask in the glory of his triumph.

But just as my day’s goal segued, my competent article about Nichi and his disease didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it. Yes, I spoke in the past tense but instead of delivering lines that confidently boast how my 13-year-old brother defeated leukemia, I served a number of paragraphs composed of lines drawn from the stream of consciousness of a distressed sister, trying hard to see the light in a quasi-tragic event.

It further proved that the fates and I have different ways of designing the future.

Just the same, my piece being published caused my young blood to rush from head to toe in a snap.

I had to hold my breath until I saw my name on the Youngblood byline for myself. It took four new stands for me to do that. The other three ran out of the PDI issues. And on our final stop, the vendor had only three copies left, all of which I bought.

Of course I told her, “ang saya ko po talaga!

Soon I realized that I just hit a different item on my things-to-do-before-turning-thirty list. An item different from the one I programmed myself to accomplish for the day. And that is, if it’s not yet obvious by now, to be published in Youngblood again.

I am, therefore, no Vanilla Ice as Jack McFarland of Will and Grace once put it.

I am no longer a one-hit-wonder where Youngblood is concerned.

I am a two-hit wonder. It took three years and another dead person before I proved that I can write something publishable.

Still I am genuinely thankful for my day’s jackpot prize. And I thank the fates, too, for surprising my young blood.

As I shared my latest PDI-published thoughts with people who were reached by the PDI paper and website, I would have liked to thank everyone who had been a part of Nichi's journey. I am grateful for them for giving my family more time to spend with Nichi, for taking out a large chunk of the financial burden Nichi's treatments entailed and for their untiring support from which Nichi and the rest of our family drew strength. The words, “thank you” is simply not enough…

At the same time, I also would have wanted to thank everyone who helped us come up with gifts, balloons, and face painting surprise for the brave bunch of kids at the Philippine Children's Medical Center during their Christmas Party last December 7.

If Nichi were around, he'd tell those guys, "more power!"

To read my Youngblood piece, just visit:

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