The Best Gift Ever

    mother and child

    There is nothing like the love between a mother and a daughter…

    Last December 22, 2019, the personnel of Dolores District Jail headed by SJO4 Ronaldo M Catuday, Officer-In-Charge, conducted a Christmas Fellowship for the Personnel and PDL (Persons Deprived of Liberty) of the said unit. Prior to the said activity, a therapeutic community modality program enhancement training was conducted, where the Personnel and PDL participated, were able to share their life experiences, etc. During that time, one female PDL Kapatid Lovely shared her story of how she’s been separated from her daughter for six years now. The child was taken away from her at 8 months old. Since then, she hasn’t seen her daughter. During the sharing she was crying so hard and longing for her child. It marked on our minds and SJO1 Jean Ronato and I were talking about it, as mothers we felt her pain of being separated from her child, and the uncertainties that the child will ever know or recognize her. Her relationship with the father did not end well, and based on her story, he intentionally took the child away from her. Ma’am Ronato and I came up with the idea of trying to reach the father to ask for his permission to take a photo of the child so her mother could at least take a glance and see how see is now, what she looks like. On my part, I was hoping and pursuing not just for a picture, but for the opportunity of having the child brought here to visit her mother.

    We had a meeting with our jail warden, days prior to our fellowship and SJO4 Catuday mentioned his plan of having a Wish Ko Lang program for our PDL where they could write their wishes, especially those who have no family members visiting them since day one, and we will try our best to grant them. A lot of PDL wrote their wishes, and we found out Kapatid Lovely did not wish anything since she thought it was IMPOSSIBLE.

    Again, SJO1 Ronato and I were already contemplating on how we will do it. We have secretly gathered information as to where the father lives, who will talk to them and who will fetch them if ever they agree. Fortunately, JO1 Raymond Moscosa lives in the nearby Barangay and somehow knows someone from the place, he volunteered to talk to the father and fetch them. With a silent prayer and fingers crossed, JO1 Moscosa called and brought up the good news. The father agreed!!

    On the 22nd, the day of our fellowship, the child arrived with her grandmother, but was instructed to hide in a room, as Kapatid Lovely didn’t have any idea. Meanwhile, in the visiting area, Ma’am Ronato and I organized a game where the PDL will be blindfolded and will catch balloons. Kapatid Lovely was one of the contestants and it was here turn to be blindfolded (which was the plan). Toward the end of the game, the child, together with her grandmother and uncle were secretly called and was seated in front of Lovely. A countdown was done to remove the blindfold. And then at last! Lovely was shocked and mesmerized at first, she could not understand what was happening. And then she saw her daughter’s face, and she flew to her in just a sec and hugged her immediately. Tears ran down her eyes and she was sobbing, we were all crying, even our male PDL were crying.

    It was such a very emotional scene like we were watching a movie. It was indescribable, it was an outpour of different emotions. We were very happy for her, we were in tears. It was indeed a dream come true. It was the best gift ever! Kapatid Lovely expressed here sincerest gratitude to the people who made the Impossible possible, she said, “Tatanawin kong isang napakalaking utang na loob ito sa inyo, Sir and Ma’am”. When the child said, “I love you, Mama”, after a  moment of hesitation, I could not breathe. I’ve put myself on Lovely’s shoe, and I could not imagine being away from my son for such a long time. The love of a mother to her child is so great, it goes beyond any circumstances. There is nothing as powerful as mother’s love and nothing as healing as a child’s soul. On Kapatid Lovely’s part, seeing her daughter gives her a fresh outlook in life. Being able to forgive and ask forgiveness, lightened up the heavy load she was carrying inside her heart toward the people that hurt her. She felt like she was reborn and she was healed. It inspired her to be the best version of herself, inspired her to look forward for the future and to be grateful for the gift of life and the second chance that God has given her to be with her daughter and be recognized by her. She is more eager to do good because she knows her daughter will be waiting for her outside. It reminded us that there is no perfect family, we have hard times and good times. But at the end of the day, whatever happens between family members, family will always be family. Love will always be there.

    This situation teaches us, most importantly, that there really is a thing as a Higher power. Someone from above is watching us, He sees our pains, the desires of our hearts and He never abandons us. Christmas is a season of joy, of gift-giving and most specially, of Families united. The essence of Christmas is putting God as the center of our lives, making amends with those we wronged and wronged us, being with our friends, family and loved ones. Those are the things that money could not buy; those are the things we should cherish not just this season but in our lifetime.

    Let this be a reminder for all of us to never stop hoping and praying that everyday things will get better, especially for our brothers and sisters behind bars, for people who are going through a lot, for depressed people, for hungry ones, for those who don’t have homes, those orphans, and separated families. It will get better. Let us take time to share our blessings, to do kindness in our own little and simple way. We could make a difference. One random act of kindness, even just to one person, could make a difference and a big impact.

    We hope that her story inspires you, as it inspired us…

    Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!


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