Yen and the gift of lifelong caring

this weekend ed, ayen and i went to naujan,oriental mindoro to celebrate yen’s birthday. yen dela torre, ed’s only sister is a nurse who runs a US Federal program for training institutes of midwifery in puerto rico. yen came home last week to care for Inay who has been ill since her foot developed gangrene in february. yen and ed are both in their senior years. ed is going 65 while yen turned 63.

for people who want to learn what it takes to have the gift of lifelong caring, the best teacher is yen. yen is the quintessential OFW who has provided family, not just ed and inay but various clans with lifelong care. she has been an OFW nurse  and migrated to the US in the 1970’s. she helped inay develop the community farm and piggery in Naujan with her earnings. in the years of ed’s detention, 1974 to 1986, yen campaigned for his release and made sure that  ed was supplied with  books, peaches and chocolates. in the early 80’s when ed was arrested the second time, i went to meet yen in illinois. i saw her work on two jobs – teaching in a college and doing marketing work for phlkraft dinnerware.  she would carry boxes of cookware from the garage to her attic even when she just had flu. i asked her why she worked that hard. “actually, this second job is really to  help the dela luna cousins in their cookware business”, explained yen “since they are still trying to build a market here in the US.” she went back briefly to the philippines in the late 80s to develop the philkraft market in the country.when it was already stable in the 1990s, yen returned to her first love- assisting mothers to have babies born the natural way.

 in 1997, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. she invited ed, ayen and me. she had earlier brought inay with her siblings to stay with her in chicago.  ayen, ed and i applied for  US visas. ayen and i got our visas ahead of ed and  so  we went to visit yen.  ayen and i were amazed at how yen took care of all of us in the US even when she herself was challenged by illness. she organized various tours for inay and her siblings, and separately for ayen and me from west to east coast. she would fetch ayen and me from the airport to  various destinations in between chemotherapy sessions. when ayen and i were in a hotel near disneyland, ayen noticed some thing in the bathtub after yen took her shower. “nanay, there is a lot of hair in the bathtub”said ayen. “Oh, that is the effect of treating tita yen’s cancer” i explained to ayen. “why does she not rest and stay in the hospital?” ayen wanted to know. ‘because yen wants to give us a good time here in disneyland. remember she gave you a lot of shopping time right after arriving from the philippines?” i reminded her,” yen feels that her time with us is more important than staying in the hospital.”  ayen and i never forgot this incident in disneyland. ed never got his US visa and couldnt fly to join us for the xmas holidays.  fortunately, yen survived the cancer and she has been taking annual check-ups.

 the one thing i appreciate is not just yen’s generosity but her drive to make people’s  lifelong wellbeing her priority. yen  helps people  across borders move higher in life. i have met many girls finish their education with yen and inay’s help. i have seen families thrive, both filipinos and americans because she provided them a lifeline.  her skill in birthing takes various forms, from physical assistance to financial care to learning opportunities. my friend luz martinez told me that yen offered to help her mother stay with yen whenever she feels lonely.” your sister yen is really lovely,”‘luz  was telling me” my mother who lost her husband recently was offered by yen to go and visit her in the other part of san juan and that is one of the best places in puerto rico.” “yes, yen is really that caring and she will take care of your mother like her own mother, too.”i agreed with luz.

i told ayen that she is lucky to have  yen ” you are secure for life when you have a tita yen. she  will care for you from womb to womb.” “look at all the women and men who got her as a godmother in baptism and weddings. they will also get her as a ninang to their children.” i told ayen. ” she will also make sure that yeyi and minette give birth to healthy twinboys.”i predicted, ” so love your tita yen  and make her lifegoals yours, too.” i advised ayen.

God bless and happy birthday Yen dela Torre. we wish our leaders, especially those in the three branches would be like her and serve us with lifelongcare  then we would be happy living from womb to womb.


Explore posts in the same categories: Lifelong learning, Love and marriage, Psychology

One Comment on “Yen and the gift of lifelong caring”

  1. Mila Maramot Says:

    All your blogs resonate with me, most especially this one and the one about mothers. I have a sister like Yen who gives her time, talent, and treasure to family members in need. She takes care of our ailing 94-year old mother while holding a full time job as a critical care nurse at a hospital. You gave a nice tribute to your sister-in-law and your two mothers. It inspires me to think of ways I could pay tribute to mine. See you soon!

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