by Heidi M. Pascual
For Better or for Worse
Being in bed under the weather for almost a week now truly brings lots of sad memories, thoughts of depression, and feeling alone that makes
me cry my heart out. I try very hard to strengthen my resolve to get well because some family members in the city still depend on me for
support. I pray and pray and pray, because it’s my faith that has helped me surmount all challenges that I have faced in this world.

Then one night in the dark, I suddenly remembered one beautiful evening in the recent past.

When I won the title “Most Beautiful Grandmother in Laguna” in 2017, I knew that the Q&A portion of the competition was the key to
victory, similar to many beauty pageants I have witnessed through the years on TV. Since I didn’t receive any Special Award—but chosen as
one of the five finalists--I told myself I had to do very well in the Q&A phase. The question that I randomly selected from a jar said: “Are you
in favor (or not) of a widow or widower getting married again? Why?”

My answer was brief and straightforward, but my training in theater actually added some points in the tally sheets. I held the forearm of the
gentleman emcee while I said: “Yes, of course, I agree, because it is so sad to be alone. It would be wonderful to have somebody hold your
hand when you are down…somebody who will be there with you and for you when you are happy… (and in the vernacular, I added) we must
admit that it would be great to have somebody give his warmth to you in the coldness of the night!” Then I asked the audience, “Am I not
right?” I spoke with emotion while I put enough pauses and stresses on words that had to be emphasized. There was a big applause, and even
the provincial governor stood up and clapped his hands. Well, I guess I
knew Filipino sensitivity toward earthly matters too well.

Now, these thoughts actually made me smile. I asked myself, “Yes, why

In times like this, we all need somebody who will be there for us. I was
married to the father of my children, but I don’t remember when he was
there for me when I truly needed him. I guess our careers kept us apart (he
was always on assignment outside Luzon Island, while I worked at the
legislature in Metro Manila), and our long-distance relationship never grew
and prospered. I took care of the children, as well, so it was impossible for
me to do conjugal visits anywhere in the country. Then of course, husband
was taken care of by someone else. After 26 years of marriage, it was over.

I have been alone for more than 20 years. While there have been some love
relationships in between, nobody really stood out to provide the kind of love
I was looking for. In my book, he has to be there for me for better or for
worse, as I would, too.

But I guess time is running out on me. Maybe I have been looking for
perfection in an imperfect world. I am willing to lower my standards right
now; however, there are still basic musts for me, 7 Ms to be exact:
matalino (brainy); mabait (kind); mapagmahal (loving); maka-Diyos
mahilig sa musika (music-minded); may itsura (good looking); and
kakayahan sa buhay (financially able to sustain our new family).
Sorry, I am just being honest and pragmatic. Perhaps a retiree like me
would fit this description. Anyone?