Life before 30 is challenging– you’re trying to find your footing in the world, investing in homes, a partner, and some are starting or have growing families. But for 28-year-old Kate Marie Casul, “challenging” was an understatement when she lost her mom before she turned 30.
Kate grew up in a middle-class family and like many girls her age, she was enjoying her 20s. But on October 15, 2013, her world started crumbling down when a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake brought destruction to the Visayas region.
It was supposed to be a typical day. Kate’s mom was in Mandaue Public Market managing their family business when the roof of the market fell and trapped her mother to death.
“My father, siblings, and I were at home during the incident. We had no idea of her death until a neighbor brought the news,” Kate shares with My Pope Philippines. “We ran to the hospital and we found out she was dead on arrival.” (Read: 3 Personalities Who Overcame Challenges With the Help of Charity)
Her mother was one of the only two casualties in the Mandaue Public Market.
The death of a family member took a toll on her.
“The hardest part was to accept that I could no longer see my mother. It was truly depressing,” Kate said. With her mother’s passing, the family got no interest to celebrate Christmas that year.
Moreover, her father took a long time to adjust after the tragedy. “He loved her so much,” she said. The death of her mother gave Kate many realizations in life– many of which enabled her to cope and be the rock for her father and siblings. (Read: These miracle stories from Typhoon Ondoy will restore your faith in humanity)
“When my mother was taken out of the picture, I was surprised by many realizations. We were just a typical middle-class family, I didn’t know how my mother gave us what we want, the attention, the time, the finances, and everything,” Kate said.
Her father, who was an OFW, stopped working abroad because her mother convinced him that their business can sustain the family. But with her death, also came the death of their business.
“When she was gone, it was an immediate feeling for me as the eldest and the only girl among my siblings to take over my mother’s role as the breadwinner,”
Realizing her dreams
For Kate, it was realizing her mother’s dreams for her that helped her cope with the loss. “It was my mother’s dream that I should finish college,” she said.
“I was a graduating engineering student when she died, unfortunately, she was not able to walk with me on the stage just as she would always imagine.” After her graduation, things started looking up– she found a good-paying job, and then another opportunity came in. Kate is now a senior financial advisor in one of the country’s leading insurance firms.
“Being in these professions, really help me grow and motivate me to give my family life again. I was thankful for my mother’s dream for me,” Kate shared. (Read: These readers will inspire you to keep going amidst life’s challenges)
Today, Kate sees her life’s tragedies as stepping stones to her success. She told My Pope that she has developed a “feeling of being an independent woman and being dependent on God.” She is now on the road to achieving her goals and plans for herself and her family.
“My journey is not that smooth sailing,” she said. “However, with God’s grace, I can say, my family has survived. This is the great thing [that] I want to dedicate to my mother.”
Text By Yen Cantiga and John Caballes