“We were naive. We didn’t think that this cancer was going to take my mother away from us. We thought we still had many years to come. Around November, the doctors said her treatment was no longer showing positive results. Two weeks later, her health started getting aggressive and her tumor started growing at a faster rate. They offered another type of chemotherapy, but my mother said no. She said, ‘It’s best for me to stay home and spend time with the family.’ We didn’t know that she was going to leave us in two months.
My dad said to me, ‘Life moves forward no matter what. You just have to stay strong and keep going.’ But I could tell he felt weak when he said it. You see your parents as the strongest people in your life. But when one starts to fall, you see the other half fall apart too. You see that your role models are hurt. Your heroes are in pain. It’s common for children to be weak, and for the parents to pick them up and make them strong again. But this time it was reversed.
When my sister told me that she passed, I didn’t know what to do. I was scared and confused. I kept thinking, how can I help my father stay positive? How can I support my dad, my sister, myself? I realized that all I had to do was be there and be strong for them.”
New York, NY, Filipino Diaspora
NextDayBetter Storyteller: Ryan Letada (TW: @Rletada)
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NextDayBetter x AARP is a visual storytelling campaign inspired by AAPI caregiving.
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