The Unconditional Love of Jean
By Apolinario Villalobos
She’s a young Cebuana, got a pretty face and brains that brought her success in business ventures. But her greatest plus is her heart that can love without condition.
Her fate got tangled with a guy who tried to put together his shattered life after a series of unsuccessful relationships. At the time of their encounter, the guy was at the verge of despair and with his wits almost gone. They struck some kind of mutual understanding that did not dwell on conditions because the guy was honest enough to admit his past relationships with two other women. They were gifted with a beautiful love child whom they pampered with love.
But just like the rest of love stories, theirs was also shrouded with tragedy. The guy did not know that a cancer was developing in his pancreas. Only when he could no longer take the excruciating pain despite the operation of his gall bladder to remove the stones, did he give his consent to undergo a more thorough check up, after which he was told that he got the big “C”, and on its stage 4, yet! The news devastated him emotionally as he was determined to enjoy life more, especially, with the coming of a beautiful daughter.
The heartbreaking news did not deter Jean from loving the guy more, as she knew that, that was the time the guy needed her most. She endured his flare ups, as expected due to his desperate situation. With the help of the guy’s former classmate, she took care of him without a bit of complaint. The guy was brought to the hospital regularly until his physician decided to let him stay at home for good where he would just be visited for check- ups, short of saying that his case was hopeless.
His physical condition was alarmingly deteriorating. At this point, Jean helped him get in touch with his eldest daughter by his first wife, and who did not waste time to be at his father’s bedside. She also brought along her own family. As expected, emotions were poured out as the father and daughter recalled the days when she was just a child growing up in his care while her mother was working abroad. Next to arrive was his daughter by his second wife, and whom the eldest daughter welcomed like a long lost sister. Jean welcomed her, too, as if she was her own daughter.
Jean, the third woman in the guy’s life, stayed on the sideline to give way to the guy’s eldest daughter and the newly-arrived one, as they expressed their gratitude to their long lost father by giving their share of care. Jean could not show how emotionally touched she was because it might affect the guy who was fighting for his life. All she could do was cuddle her daughter far from their sight and cry her heart out.
The eldest daughter worked hard to reconnect her father with her mother and siblings in Baguio. Her “mission”, the almost impossible long distanced reconciliation was made replete with emotion. Through his eldest daughter, the guy also asked forgiveness from those whom he hurt in one way or another. Extreme Unction was given to him…and just before the onset of Christmas 2014, he finally closed his eyes for good.
After the guy’s remains were cremated, it was decided that his ashes would be brought back to his birthplace in central Mindanao. From Cebu, and with a van, Jean and her stepdaughter took an interisland ferry for Mindanao, a grueling travel considering that they had with them a less than three year old girl, and also the eldest daughter’s family consisting of her husband and three children. Upon arriving in the port of Dapitan, Zamboanga del Sur, they undertook the long journey towards the guy’s birthplace in Sultan Kudarat, central Mindanao, in a van that they drove alternately for a long and tedious journey.
On the day of interment, during the Mass, the daughter made a testimony on the sacrifices of Jean, referring to her and her child as her “extended family”. The family and friends of the guy were overwhelmingly touched and Jean was welcomed with warm embrace by them without any “condition”, as well…making her “officially” part of them.
The story of Jean is one about reaping what has been sowed. Her unconditional love to the guy was reciprocated with unconditional love, too, by his family and friends…proof that the parable in the Bible is true and can happen in real life, today.
The guy was my classmate in high school and a close relative. Jean is almost forty and the guy just turned sixty.