Ten years ago, my heart was torn to pieces when I discovered that my daughter had Down Syndrome.
I almost died when the Chromosomal Test confirmed that Eia had Trisomy 21 (her 21st chromosome split into 3, giving her a total of 23 pairs of chromosomes plus 1 = 47, instead of only 46).
Worse, not only was my little angel born with Down Syndrome but was also born with serious heart ailments which required an open heart surgery before she turned 1 year old. She also had other physical disorders commonly associated with that one extra chromosome caused by a genetic accident that strikes in 1 out of 800 births.
I was sooh angry with God for choosing me to be the mother of a special child.
In my desolation and pity for Eia, I begged God to take away my daughter's life while she was still a baby to spare her of the "abnormal" life ahead of her.
Yes, I cried a river just like everybody else.
I cried and cried until there's no more tear left to shed for my daughter's fate.
After one whole month of grieving myself to death, I had no choice but to move on and face the challenge of raising a child with Down Syndrome.
Yes, I still cry my heart out to God until now, though no longer in desperation but in EXALTATION for giving me my daughter Eia.
I am still alive now because of my child with Down Syndrome.
Eia gave me the strength to rise above all the adversities that came into my life.
I've been through a tumultuous 5-year marriage and seemingly endless battles with my only son who had to undergo psychotherapy to correct his ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Thank God those days are over. Gio is now an active servant of the church as lector and psalmist.
At a tender age of 2, Eia could already sense that I was deeply troubled, when I was struggling to keep my family together.
Eia would often hug me and pat me at the back saying "Are you sad, Mama?"
Although I would answer her that I was not sad, she would hold my face with her tiny hands, look into my eyes and ask again -- "Are you happy Mama, not sad?"
That would just melt my heart and cast out all my aches away.
Then Eia would give me her sweetest smile, embrace me, and pat me at the back with her "It's okay Mama, it's okay" expression.
Thanks to Eia, I managed to survive the storms.
Eia was a blessing not only to me but to the whole family.
Nothing and no one moved my father.
Not his wife . . . Not even his only daughter.
It took a child with Down Syndrome to soften my father's hardened heart.
With my daughter's loving ways she patiently taught my unyielding father how to hug and kiss, how to say good morning and goodnight and most importantly, how to say "I LOVE YOU!"
And so every year, my family joins the Happy Walk to Stand Up For Down, together with the members and friends of the Down Syndrome Association of the Phils. Inc., therapists, medical practitioners, teachers and students who support our advocacy.
This year, it was held last February 21, 2010 at the Skydome, SM North EDSA.
So now you know why I had to miss the much-raved Run of the Century.
While waiting for the Happy Walk to start.