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a son's quest: an open letter to whom it may matter

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My name is Jigs. If you would indulge me, I'd like to tell you my story.

I come from a family of indigents. I was 3 years old when our father abruptly passed on. Our mother was forced to raise myself and my two siblings single-handedly. Through life we never had a day of reprieve, constantly dreaming and merely craving for mundane that we only saw in families around us, barely making it from one day to the next. Through the grace of public school and government subsidized education, I got to finish elementary and graduated into secondary school. College was just beyond our reach, it was an impossible feat. It was a shot at the moon, for obvious reasons. It was nothing more than a lifelong dream that I have learned to accept a lifetime ago, reluctantly I might add. It was no different for my sisters. At the time, I never even had the chance to get my 'hands-on' a computer nor any actual or practical exposure to it. Where I come from it was only for the middle class. So instead, I taught myself the English language, by way of pocket dictionaries, reading countless newspaper articles and watching features in English, at a time when there was no Netflix or any other streaming sites yet around. It was the dawn of Google and the call center industry in my country. The Philippines had long been and an hitherto poverty-laden nation, ruled by oligarchs and the ubiquitously traditional politicians at the helm; With corruption, if not bureaucracy plaguing every office. Whatever opportunity I thought life presented my way, I grabbed by its tail. It was never easy. I learned how to drive among a few other life skills; Took countless odd jobs since I was 10; Garnered some precious experiences and furthered my skills and linguistics by taking whatever -genuinely- free webinars I could find. Sad to say, most are shams and nothing more than thinly veiled scams. My greatest dream, if I may throw it out there, is to be an astronaut. I began weaving the dream at 4, through YouTube and its rich and diverse universe and free subscriptions and astronomy-oriented features among others (thanks to their selfless creators), I nurtured and managed to keep that dream intact, decades after. My mantra: "No matter how dark is the beginning, the one who strives shall reach the sun".

I come here today, not for myself, but for my mother, recently diagnosed with cancer and an enlarge thyroid, shortly after her 67th birthday, back in June. Apart from that she was born with a congenital heart disease. One of her aortas is punctured. At least that's what she remembers the doctors telling her parents. Due to blatant poverty, never a day I remember she got to consult with any medical professional regarding it or for any other reason, except for when she had an appendectomy, years back. Now her tongue is riddled with pus due to cancer, it is literally impossible to eat.

As it stands we are already struggling to have food on our table, barely making it from day-to-day since there is literally no source of income. Our food money used to come from the simple food packs that our mother cooks, for us to peddle around the village for Php50 - Php70 ( about $1 to $1.5) per pack. It all came to a halt at the beginning of this ordeal. Now we are forced to watch her suffer day in and out. I myself am trying everything, mashing whatever food we scrounged into tiny bits, miniscule enough for her to swallow, just to keep her sustained (I am sorry to lay out our embarrassingly sad state of affairs). Upon biopsy and CT scan, the doctors at the public hospital concluded she would have to go through a major surgery, and immediately if only to assess the level of damage and ascertain to what extent, part of her tongue would have to be cut out, if not, god forbid, the entirety of it. In our humble family huddles she would, in her labored speech, brazenly declare that she would want to live on, even if they have to remove her tongue. I grew up seeing her with an iron resolve in the face of challenges and life's constant battery. Perhaps borne of being a widow and a single parent. Today at old age and faced with a seemingly insurmountable ordeal, her indomitable spirit remains untarnished. It is for this reason our small family is unanimous in continuing the fight, by her side no less. I myself for one, promised her "I'll be with you, until whatever end".

It goes without saying, being her child, it is heartbreaking to even describe the almost hopeless situation. With no discernible light in the horizon and a future ever so bleak, I am petrified, but for my part, I come to you and plead to the kindness of your heart. I am a son, racing against time to save the life of his beloved mother.

I have all the pertinent medical abstract available and ready upon solicitation, along with some photos of her, should you require, in her current state. Further, I am hoping it is not too much to ask, I wish to beseech generous benefactors to bequeath a working tally for my mother. Asking her if there's anything that we could provide that might just help her relax and distract her from her pain, that was her wish; Some decent cot for her too, so we could finally retire that decrepit, dilapidated piece of cardboard she lays on for a bed; And some groceries to help the family to make it through the day, if you would be so kind. Despite our desperate situation, to some extent I still believe in the power of placebo. That some distraction might help alleviate a little of the pain my mother endures day in and out. And right now she needs any and all that she can get. It is a son's dearest wish for his beloved ailing mother.

Thank you for taking the time reading and finishing my story. I would take the liberty and thank you in advance for your valued assistance, whatever it may be, and even for remotely considering. In anticipation, should there be any redundant pledges in kind, I shall donate the duplicates to my brethren in equal need. Sort of paying it forward.

Bless your hearts. I sincerely hope you and your dear ones are in a far better quality of life as you chance upon this.

In conclusion, I believe in the concept of paying-it-forward. I fervently hope someday fate grants me the golden opportunity to be on the other side of this fence.

If you happen to be in no better position upon discovering this but would want to extend assistance, by all means do kindly share this with your circle. Sharing the page could go a long way.

In behalf of the family, we thank you, and wish you better tidings than most, at the time this finds you.

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