Tado's widow: Mother more than wife
MANILA, Philippines — Behind every successful man, there is a strong and hardworking woman – but what if she loses that man? What drives her to be stronger and more hardworking? What makes her stand and fight, keep going and struggle, provide, guide and live?
Leah "Ina" Jimenez is a 40-year-old mother of 4 daughters. February 7, 2014, a Friday, started as an ordinary day. She woke up early to prepare breakfast and help the kids get ready for school. It was just part of the career she embraced 18 years ago when she had her firstborn but it was also the day when she received the news that changed her life.
A Florida Trans bus fell off a road in Sitio Paggang, Talubin, Bontoc in Mountain Province. Fourteen people were killed in that accident, and her husband, actor and comedian Arvin "Tado" Jimenez, was one of them. The family’s breadwinner, provider, guide and protector died on his way to his anti-mining mission in Bontoc. (READ: Comedian Tado among dead in Mt Province bus accident)
Her world collapsed; her dreams broke and her faith vanished. It was like the end of everything. She had to take over and drastically transition from being a wife and a mother to the head of the family.
“I am not used to this. For 20 years, he provided for us. I was devastated. I felt like I am losing it and in any moment I will break down. Then I realized I need to be strong. I have 4 kids," she said.
"They should not see me crying, nor drop my disposition. I remember one interview in a television show where I was really angry and depressed, my mind was telling me to choose the words I will say and be careful of how I deliver and speak. I don’t want my children to see me shouting and breaking down. I must be strong for them.” Leah added.
She is known to her close friends as "Ina." Some thought that it was her name back in her college years in Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) when she was still studying when they had their third child. Tado then started his career as an actor. Being an "ina," (mother) she said, is what she is meant to do best.
“I know that my kids are not my property. I am just their guide, protector and provider. I am just the architect who can show them things, a teacher who can give them the basics but when they reach the age where they don’t need me anymore, I must let them go," she said.
"I think that’s what makes me going. Aside from being a wife and a believer of my husband, I am a mother. That’s the reason I chose to be strong, get going and fight, neither for me nor Tado but for my kids.” Leah added.
Some people, she said, want her to continue Tado's crusade. “But I would not do it – maybe some of his advocacies [yes], but not politics," she said.
"My children are my priority. I feel guilty every time I could not cook for them, wash the dishes, prepare them for school, help them do the homework, read books or watch a movie with them," she said.
"More importantly, [I want to] teach them how to deal with life as they grow up. I am "Ina," and I will do it as long as the universe permits me.” Leah said. – Rappler.com