Ma. Elizabeth, a Strong-willed Woman Hopes for the Future
Ma. Elizabeth is a widow for the second time. She is still grieving but she faces life with head held high. She is living with the HIV virus for 12 years now but she knows that there is life ahead. Thus, having the HIV virus did not stop her to continue living life the best she could. She takes one day at a time and she never forgets to inspire other HIV positive individuals and their affected families.
How Ma. Elizabeth Faced Her Condition
Ma. Elizabeth is a busy mother to four children and a wife to an OFW. To provide well for their family, her husband spent many years away from her and their children to work as a civil engineer abroad. Yet, temptation lurks in every corner. Together with homesickness, temptation entices anyone to momentarily forget the waiting family back home. But behind the temporary warmth and joy was a virus that slowly gnaws the health of Ma. Elizabeth’s husband.
It was the year 1999 and Ma. Elizabeth’s family reunion was supposedly filled with joy. But her husband was sick and his medical condition turned from bad to worst—his frail and failing body lies in a hospital bed in San Lazaro (SLH). She comforted her husband the best she could but the possibility of widowhood at age 33 and with four young children to care for is a scary reality. But what scared Ma. Elizabeth the most is what her dying husband told her one hour before he draws his last breath. He is dying because of AIDS.
Painfully, Ma. Elizabeth recalls that her husband had the virus in 1993 but he kept it from her for six years. The painful truth struck her in 1999 and although scared, she took and HIV test. Her fear was confirmed—she contracted the HIV virus.
No words can describe the pain that she felt that day. She lost her husband, she has HIV, she has four young children and she feared that her children had also contracted the virus. On top of that, she needed to answer the many questions of her mother-in-law like ‘Why was he (Ma. Elizabeth’s husband) cremated? or Why he was not given a proper traditional burial?’
For Ma. Elizabeth, there is no use hiding the fact so she told her in-laws that her husband died of AIDS. With this said, her in-laws and the rest of her husband’s family soon distanced themselves. It was only due to her persistence that her husband’s ashes received funeral rites in the house of her in-laws. Yet after the funeral, her husband’s family severed their ties with Ma. Elizabeth and her children.
She was struck with grief and depression. She was facing financial woes. Given her difficult situation, her husband’s friend volunteered to help her. The friend asked for a copy of her husband’s death certificate so that it will easier for him, on her behalf, to ask for financial help and process her husband’s death benefits. But the death certificate reflected the underlying cause of infections and complications and that is AIDS. Needless to say, the cause of death shocked and scared her neighbors and her friends. Thus, the supposedly friendly assistance was soon laced with malice and ignorance. Neighbors began to whisper.
The gossip mongering here and there did no satisfy some neighbors. A petition was filed against her, accusing her of contracting the HIV and somehow humiliating her in public. But the petition was based on gossip thus, luckily, it was dropped from lack of evidence. Nevertheless, Ma. Elizabeth needed to protect herself and her family. So she changed the cause of death and erased the dreaded AIDS in her husband’s death certificate.
A Second Chance for Love and Life
After the incidence, Ma. Elizabeth practically kept to herself and seldom leaves the house. But her self-isolation caught the attention of one man that even though how many times she raised her brows to ward off the wooing, the man pursued her. Even though she disclosed her condition, he still pursued her. Thus, Ma. Elizabeth and her four young children soon found love and protection under the roof of her second husband.
For 12 years, Ma. Elizabeth shared a loving and caring life with her second husband. Yet, their blissful marriage ended when he became a constant visitor in the hospital. He was in and out of the hospital not because he contracted the virus but diabetes got him. Not long, the 44 year-old Ma. Elizabeth had worn the veil of grief for the second time. Her husband died last February 2011 and needless to say, the pain is still fresh.
But just like the first time, Ma. Elizabeth is a strong-willed woman who stood strong despite the adversities. Her colleagues in Pinoy Plus Association (PPA) and Babae Plus continuously support her. She still boosts the desire to live and love; with her four children at her side, Ma. Elizabeth is still positive despite being an HIV positive.
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Last Updated (Thursday, 09 June 2011 07:09)