It is said that blood is thicker than water, but sometimes there are exemptions, for FAMILY doesn’t only mean affiliation by blood or by marriage. It can also develop from great relationships shared with friends.
It was just usual when we first met June of last year. I was a year and a half teaching at Indahag Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro City when she came in as a Substitute Teacher same grade as I am, Grade One. My first impression of Ms. Jovy Martinez tells me she’s a very good person… and I was right. At first, I was hesitant to open up to her for I am innately shy and doesn’t talk too much with friends or co-teachers. It was her first teaching experience as a Public School Teacher so much is new to her and she said I will be of great help for it will be easier for her to adjust at situations.
After a week of working with her, I learn to admire her for she’s good at dealing with children and different types of individuals. In the span of 2 months, she somewhat taught me to be more caring to my pupils and encourage them to study more through giving of rewards… and it was effective. She thinks of giving something to her pupils for them to do their best in class. Even if she doesn’t have enough money she would always find a way to buy pencils, candies, chocolates, and toys for them. That was why her pupils loved her so much.
Then we became friends, she treated me like a little sister… she always waits for me after class and we’ll go home together. When there are occasions in school, she’ll serve food for me as if I’m a baby. There were also times that she would accompany me working on my paperwork at the office, and we both stayed late a couple of nights in school.
But underneath that kind heart was a woman who has gone through so much pain and strives to live a happy and fulfilling life with her family, friends, and pupils who have shown her so much love and care. She never gives up, instead, she continues to be compassionate, generous, and kind to people surrounding her. I learned that she was maltreated and abused by her husband when they were still together. She’s been battered, neglected and cheated. She found out her husband has another woman. But the worst and most painful of all, her 3-month-old baby died of unknown cause. The baby suffered severe fever and the doctor can’t diagnose the specific illness. When I heard her story I suddenly asked God, “Why all of these had happened to her?” and then I said maybe God is making her stronger or making her appreciate life even more, or maybe just maybe God allowed this to happen to her life so that people around her may reflect from her experiences and learn from it… and that includes me.
When her term ended, the last day of her service as a Substitute Teacher I said goodbye wanting so much to hug her tight, let her know someone cares for her… but I didn’t, instead, I just shook her hand said goodbye and left her room teary-eyed. I thought someone was leaving me as well. The moment she was gone I somehow felt empty and missed her so much. Then I asked God, “How can people of different background, experiences, and thoughts be so good together?” I was at that time so sad of her leaving. It made me believe that we won’t miss someone until we think they’re gone.
Then came a surprise, a supervisor and good friend Mrs. Lorebina Carrasco called me up on the phone saying she can’t attend and watch a ballet contest for she has more important things to do. She let me attend instead and that I’m going with Ms. Jovy. Hearing of her name I became happy and excited to see her. We meet again and had fun watching ballet while sharing life experiences. We went to the mall afterward watched a funny movie which made us laugh so hard. That day was one of the happiest days ever and would want to remember it always. For that day she began to call me “Bunso” and I as well began to call her “Ate Jovy”. Then we became a family. Each one is a part of the other and we’ll continue to be for the rest of our lives.
And I prayed to God thanking Him for everything… for sharing Ate Jovy’s life with me. God’s gift doesn’t always come with beautiful packages but with a beautiful heart as well.