A few months back, in the middle of the Holy Week break, I saw my uncle struggle for dear life. That was the first time I witnessed someone have his life slowly fade away from him. He passed away on that same day.
My uncle was a brawny guy. He used to work as a mechanic and drive a jeepney. Imagine how strong he was back then doing a lot of hard physical labor, carrying big metal automotive parts to fix vehicles, driving from 9 to 5 to feed his family. He was also such the handyman. He built their home with his bare hands.
In 2013, he fell seriously ill and began to undergo medical treatment. His kidneys failed him and he needed to undergo regular dialysis.
To those who know what dialysis is, they would understand how difficult this process is, but to prolong a person’s life, it is a process you need to be courageous to take.
To those who don’t, undergoing it is like having a countdown timer. Some say you’re already lucky if you live three years more while undergoing regular dialysis.
We all knew the process was done to simply buy him more time and not really to fix him. He was a ticking time bomb, but he was able to get those good three years to make up for any thing.
To be fair, it was a life well lived.
On his deathbed, he held his wife’s, my aunt’s, hand. Prior to that, his wife understood his pain. She signed a DNR on his behalf. As he took his last breath, she told him that it was okay for him to go. That he could rest now. You know, that deathbed scene on the movies. It was almost like that.
Then, there was buckets of tears. He was gone.
On the first night of the wake, his wife got to decide everything. From the major decisions to the shallowest of things, she received unanimous respect. She had the final say.
That’s when it hit me.
I’m never going to have that, and it’s sad and scary at the same time.
In a world where equality is selective and there is no protection for unconventional relationships, I won’t get that unanimous respect even if I’ve stayed by my partner’s side through thick and thin for decades.
In the end, without laws to protect me and everyone like me, and with judgmental eyes all around, we will never get to have a final say.