At 30 years old, Jill has already lost four children. Three of them died all at once in a river accident, while the other one died in her womb after being tangled and choked with the umbilical cord. In the midst of all the unfortunate circumstances, Jill found that learning to recover from her losses can be possible if she allowed herself to be healed. This is her story.
Jill and her husband didn’t earn a lot, but they both had seasonal jobs and enjoyed the comforts of a complete family. They used to live in Bulacan, Luzon, where they worked as farm checkers. One ordinary afternoon, they left their children at home to go to work. Knowing that the farm was just a short distance from the compound where they lived, Jill and her husband were confident their children were safe as usual. They didn’t know this afternoon would alter their lives forever.
After two hours at work, Jill went back to check on her children only to find them missing at home and lifeless near the river that was surprisingly far from their home. People around said it was an accident, but Jill believed there was foul play. She appealed to the local government for help but to no avail. They also didn’t have money to fund the investigation. Up to this day, the case remains unsolved. Learning to recover from a loss felt impossible when justice is out of reach.
Jill and her husband conceived another child soon after, but the baby in her womb did not survive as it got tangled in her umbilical cord. Trying to cope with consecutive losses, Jill and her husband moved to Tacloban.
Sadly, their house got destroyed by Super Typhoon Odette shortly after they relocated. They were barely picking up the pieces but suddenly needed to start again from scratch. In situations like this, coping with depression and learning to recover may seem impossible. Thankfully, Jill’s husband held the torch for them despite the circumstances.
Their community after Odette
Earning was harder for the couple. Unlike in Luzon where Jill had a job, she is a housewife in Tacloban with no income. His husband is a seasonal construction worker who only earns P350/day, 6x a week, 2x a month, and 4x a year. Trying to make ends meet and coping with depression at the same time was hard for Jill. One day, out of hopelessness and desperation, Jill attempted to take her own life. Thankfully, her husband came home just in time to stop her. While Jill continued to struggle, his husband stayed by her side every step of the way. They fought the battle together.
Not long after, a Transform Counselor, Auntie Lina, met Jill and invited her to join Recover, International Care Ministries’ trauma healing program. Here, she understood that coping with depression can be possible and learning to recover from it is attainable. That’s when her perspective on life began to change. She found joy, peace, and hope.
What Jill has gone through was not easy, but ICM’s Recover program enlightened her mind that sharing struggles with a support group helps lessen the burden. Her husband and neighbors even affirmed how joyful she has become when they noticed her going out, attending Recover regularly, talking to people, and smiling often.
Family picture with their niece who lives nearby
From a recluse mother, Jill has come a long way! To add to her joy, she gave birth to a baby boy last year. With his son around, Jill would often sell rice cakes to her neighbors. She even baked banana cake when his child turned one year old. Aside from these new skills, Jill also makes detergent powder, dishwashing liquid, and fabric conditioner. She learned all of these when she attended the Recover Program. Delighted to see Jill with a new purpose in life, his husband helped with the business by actively selling to their neighbor and friends.
Jill inside her house preparing to cook Puto Cheese and other products to sell
Jill and the garden she grew from the seeds she received from the livelihood lessons in ICM’s Recover Program
“I realized that sharing is better than isolating yourself. Crying is better than hiding it inside. I have learned to surrender our pains to God and pray,” Jill shares. Coping with depression and learning to recover can be a long process, but with Jill’s willpower and openness, she was able to overcome it.