A mother’s love for her PWD son
BATANGAS — Elma,56, peeked at the room and smiled. Her long black hair cupped her small, weary face. “Good morning po,” she politely greeted the local government officials talking in the corner as she entered the village hall, where the interview would take place.
When Elma wheeled in a young child inside the room, one would know that she has more pains and given more sacrifices than most mothers in her community. “My son, King,” she introduced. King,11, was quite small for his age. He is the only child in the family and has been on a wheelchair since he was a young child.
“King was born when I was already 45 years old,” Elma started. “At that time, the doctor told me pregnancy would be risky. But I took the risk. I wanted to be a mother.”
When King was born, she immediately noticed how small his feet are.”I knew then that he would be special.” As King grew, it became clear that his feet couldn’t support him. A wheelchair was needed. The family knew that the wheelchair would be King’s “throne” forever.
The 2010 Census of Population and Housing reported that there are around 1.4 million persons with disabilities (PWD) in the Philippines. Region 4A, where Batangas is included, has the highest number of PWDs at 193,000. The data also showed that for every 5 PWDs, one belongs to 0-14 age group.
Despite King’s situation, her parents love him dearly. His father doted on him, giving him toys and other gifts when he’s back in the country.
Elma used to be a domestic helper in Saudi where she met her husband, Bernardino, a factory worker. Love easily blossomed between them and, after a few years, tied the knot. “When I got pregnant, we decided that I would stay in the Philippines and he would work abroad for us,” Elma said.
In 2017, Bernardino came home sick. “He came to a point when he couldn’t do things himself, so I needed to feed him. Sometimes, King would help feed his father,” Elma said. After a year, he died of lung illness. Still grieving, Elma has to become both a mother and father to King, who cried the most when his father passed away. “He misses him every day,” Elma said.
Without work, Elma has to find ways soon to earn income to provide for her and King’s needs. At the time of the interview, Elma has no job and relies on what little savings they have. “I couldn’t leave King alone yet.” Elma paused, thinking of something. “I’ll find ways for us to survive” she said, more to herself.
World Vision constantly monitors King’s health as well. He receives school supplies and gifts on special occasions such as Christmas, things that Elma appreciates especially now that they are struggling to survive.
King has received several awards in the school including Best in Math and Science, subjects that most Filipino students abhor. King has a grade of 85 up on these subjects.
Elma is proud of her son. “He sometimes tells me how he would like to experience playing basketball just like his classmates,” Elma shared. “It sometimes hurts me to hear him wish like that because I know that it is something I couldn’t give. A mother would always want to give what’s best for their children. I cannot give my son two feet.” But King never complains nor blames anyone for his situation, Elma added.
“He wanted to be a teacher someday. I will strive to make that happen for my King,” she said, brushing her son’s hair with her fingers.