“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we
cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our futures. – Lewis B. Smedes
Watching eleven year old Lea as she plays happily with the other children in class and works diligently at her studies you would never know the heartache she has experienced. Her mother, young and unmarried was totally unprepared for parenthood. What was worse was the guilt of knowing the pills she had taken while she was pregnant caused Lea to be born deaf. Feeling she had no other options she left Lea with her grandmother and moved away to find work.
Euphemia, Lea’s grandmother, being in her 60’s took Lea in and cared for her as her own. Far from the main road a path of mud through rice fields leads to a tattered shack made of wood and bamboo with an old galvanized iron roof. This is where Euphemia lives and raises her granddaughter Lea.
Lea now attends the Sagbayan SpEd Center and is in Grade 1, she stays during the week in the dorms near the classroom. Once a week Euphemia will walk for three miles to catch the bus to pick Lea up and bring her home for the weekend. How they love spending time together. There is a special bond between them.
A recent addition to the family is a ten month old grandson whose mother died in childbirth. Euphemia barely has money to provide for herself, yet the thought of that baby not being cared for was more than she could bear. She boils rice, drains off the water and adds a little sugar and uses that to feed him. This is a substitute for milk because supplying real milk is not even a slight possibility on her meager existence.
Having Lea at the school knowing that she is receiving 3 meals a day, uniforms, friends, and the chance for a bright future brings her to tears.
Lea’s mother has since married and has a family of four other children. Lea may never have the close relationship she longs for from her mother, but she will always know she was wanted and loved by her Grandmother.