Going home: A story inspired by the 44 PNP SAF officers

Janessa Tek-Ing

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'We’re men. We’re not supposed to cry or weep or get lonely. But we do.'

I’m a soldier. And today, I am going home.

After so many months of being in the field, I finally got the break I have always wanted. There was never a day when I don’t think of my wife, my son, and my own mother. I miss them so much. Who wouldn’t? When everyday of your life, the only things you see are empty fields; the only sound a vast thrumming of crickets. Most often though, we hear our own rifles firing.

We’re men. We’re not supposed to cry or weep or get lonely. But we do. What have we gotten ourselves into? Why did we choose to live like this when we can actually become engineers, lawyers, or doctors instead of boys risking our own lives?

Trust me, if we had a choice, we wouldn’t want to be here. We’d rather be on the side our families, watching our children grow, doing mundane things fathers do. But for some unknown reason, fate brought us here. Then we realize that fate needs us here.

Then we respond to that need in the best way we could. We struggle every day to protect not just our own lives but someone else’s too. And that “someone else” could be your father or your mother. Or it could be YOU.

We are but a droplet of water in an ocean. I’m a firm believer that the universe brought us to where we are because we have a role to play. We each have a role to play. This keeps the balance of nature. Life-death. Yin-Yang. Hatred-forgiveness. Happiness-loneliness.

Everything has its own opposite.

Everyone has to make his own sacrifices.

What can you sacrifice to keep this balance going?

If you ask me, I have sacrificed a lot. And as soldiers and fighters, we can only do so much. God has a way of saying, “It’s enough. You’re done here. You have to go.”

And so, off we go; back to where we truly belong.

A relative mourns next to the flag-draped coffin of one of the slain members of the SAF during the arrival honors at the Villamor Airbase on January 29, 2015. Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

I am more than excited to breathe the city air, to kiss my wife, to carry my child. I’m flying back home and the clouds move with me. The best thing is I have served my purpose.

After a few hours, I saw it: that familiar backyard where my child used to play. Someone opened the door for me. I saw my wife.

She was there standing right in front of me with a letter in her hand, my son beside her. And the telegram said I was dead.

She couldn’t see me but I could see her. She’s weeping for me. Finally, someone is weeping for me!

When I went to the battle field, no one ever told me that going home will cost me my own life. If someone did, you know what I’d tell him? “I would take a thousand deaths just so I could go home.”

Still, I am happy because finally, I am where I’m supposed to be.

This is my sacrifice. What’s yours? – Rappler.com

Janessa, or Nessa to her friends, is a 21-year old peace advocate. She currently serves as Director for Communications of the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement, a non-government organization dedicated to making every Filipino child and youth a peace-builder. She loves to make a difference through her love for writing.

iSpeak is Rappler’s platform for sharing ideas, sparking discussions, and taking action! Share your iSpeak articles with us: move.ph+ispeak@rappler.com.

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