The Last Month of Cory Aquino, Part 3: Doc advises family that pain reliever for Cory would be changed to morphine

"I was alone, Boy, when they were changing from what was being fed to her, yung feeding, to the normal IV fluids to the morphine. I was praying, using her rosary, the one Sister Lucia gave her from Fatima. And I was praying, 'God, please help me to make the right decision. Help mom, please." I just kept saying, 'Mama Mary, prinomise mo to all the messages you have been giving to us na you'll be embracing mom. Please embrace her now,'" Kris Aquino relates how hard it wa


JULY 22. Nang ipatawag ni Tita Cory ang kanyang buong pamilya. Muling naging emosyonal si Kris dahil ito ang time na nag-sorry siya sa ina at nangako na hindi niya pababayaan ang kanyang mga kapatid.

"July 22, Wednesday, her pain was so much worse, as in grabe na. Nag-insert na kami ng catheter kasi hirap na ang mom tumayo to be able to go to the bathroom. I asked her, sabi ko, this is again my sister Pinky and I, 'Mom, what do you want?' Boy, yung last na very clear na word talaga... 'family.' So, I said, 'I'll call all of them, mom'. So we're calling them but nag-uusap kami. The doctors told us na everything you want to say now, please say it.

"Nag-sorry ako, sabi ko, 'Mom, for all those times, ha, that I was not the daughter you want, I'm sorry.' And I said, 'I promise you mom, I'll always share sa mga kapatid ko.' And when I asked her... because she's always worried kapag nababalitaan niyang nag-aaway kami ni James. Sabi ko, 'Mom, do you want us to get married in church?' She said 'yes'. Sabi ko, 'Mom, gusto mo yung same anniversary as yours?' She said 'yes'.

"And then I said, 'Mom, alam ko na yung mga kapatid ko they don't like kampanya.' I said, 'I promise you for the remainder of Noy's political career, aalagaan ko si Noy. Inaako ko yun for you, Mom.' Kasi the time that Noy was campaigning for the Senate, I was bedridden. So, I said, 'Kung ano man ang gagawin ni Noy in the future, mom, maaasahan mo I'm there.'

"I asked her, 'Mom, may gustong sabihin sa iyo si Ate.' So, we called Ate. And then everybody was around her, we were praying. Everybody was able to say thank you. And Noy was able to tell her that he was okay. Lahat went near her. I don't know his exact words, Boy, pero nakalapit siya.

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"But it was later that night when they all left. Ako lang mag-isa again. Then she called the nurses and she said, 'Tawagin n'yo si Kris'. I went near her. And then mom said, 'Kris, I love you'. And she said, 'Please, sabihin mo sa kanila tama na'. I knew, Boy, that night was a turning point."

JULY 23. Nang muling kausapin ni Dr. Francis si Kris tungkol sa pagpapalit ng gamot at iba pang fluids na isinasaksak kay Tita Cory. Masyado na raw kasing mataas ang dosage ng pain reliever na Demerol na ibinibigay nila kay Tita Cory na maaaring magresulta sa seizure o pagdedeliryo. Ito rin ang araw na nagkausap sina Ballsy at Tita Cory. At sinabi ni Ballsy na ready na siya sa paglisan ng ina.

"So, the next day, it was Thursday, July 23. Si Francis again was explaining to me, 'Kris, we're at that point that yung Demerol na ibinibigay sa mom, yung level niyan can lead to a seizure. The only way we can stop the Demerol, and move on to morphine is if we stop the nutrition. She'll still be hydrated with the IV fluid. But we'll stop the nutrition dahil hindi na puwedeng mag-insert. She had one here, 'yan yung port, that was where all the chemotheraphy, dun dinadaan.'

"So, he [Dr. Francis] told me, 'Your family, are you prepared? Because baka hindi n'yo na siya makausap.' I said, 'I have to call. I can't make the decision na ako lang. I'll call one of my sisters. I was able to talk to Viel and to Pinky, and they said, 'Is there no way na itutuloy natin yung nutrition with the morphine?' I explained to them, hindi raw puwede kasi isa lang yung pinagdadaanan. So, they said, 'Okay, Kris'.

"Before you are able to do that, Boy, kailangan pumirma ng papeles. The hospital gives you papers about no resuscitation, about no life support kapag terminal na yung case. May mahabang explanation doon because of our Roman Catholic faith. I signed. I signed the papers.

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"I was alone, Boy, when they were changing from what was being fed to her, yung feeding, to the normal IV fluids to the morphine. I was praying, using her rosary, the one Sister Lucia gave her from Fatima. And I was praying, 'God, please help me to make the right decision. Help mom, please." I just kept saying, 'Mama Mary, prinomise mo to all the messages you have been giving to us na you'll be embracing mom. Please embrace her now'.

"Boy, we were told from the time na lumipat kami doon, na critical every 72 hours. Ang babantayan mo, every 72 hours kasi doon daw nagbabago yung vital signs.

"Okey, 'eto po yung hanggang ngayon hindi ko maintindihan kasi walang medical explanation. She was on morphine. From that night, everybody was there. And when everybody left, it was just Ate and me. I would always joke mom na, 'Mom, talagang kaming dalawa ni Ate ang favorites mo'. And then she said, 'Hay naku, lahat kayo favorite'.

"And Ate was beside her. Boy, lahat ng gamot na yun was inside her, so dapat tulog siya. She forced herself. I don't know if it's will power, or it's just gusto niyang ipaabot kay Ate how much she appreciated Ate. She looked at Ate and she said, 'Thank you'. Because that was the only time that Ate was able to tell her, sinabi ng Ate sa kanya na, 'Mom, remember when I said I wasn't okay yet. I want you to be happy with dad. No matter how sad we're gonna be, pipilitin naming maging okey because that's how much I love you'. And Ate said, 'I love you so much, mom. Mag-rest ka na'.

"Kaming dalawa lang ni Ate ang nandun. And I know how much courage it took my Ate to be able to say that. Because si Ate was the one beside her through it all. And then si Ate excused herself because she broke down. And then mom was looking at me na parang trying to tell me na i-comfort mo ang Ate mo.

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"Alam mo, Boy, I just have to say this na our family has been so blessed to have our Ate. For me, to all our siblings, siya talaga yung nag-a-absorb ng lahat. Siya yung parating voice of reason. Siya yung nagsasabi na nung time na... at that point nasabi ko na yung tampuhan sa ABS. Sabi niya na, 'Krissy, Tita Cory [Vidanes] loves you so much. Maaayos yan'.

JULY 24. Nag-aalala kay Kris ang asawa niyang si James Yap. Kaya kahit nasa Taiwan ito ay hindi ito mapakali. Bumalik ito ng Pilipinas nang maaga sa schedule para masamahan ang asawa sa pagbabantay kay Tita Cory.

"July 24, James came home early. He asked me kung kailangan ko na siyang umuwi. And I said, 'Oo.' And he said, 'Uuwi ako para sa gabi may kasama ka. RP Team allowed him to leave earlier.

"But he was asking me, kasi paalis yung team to Tuesday [July 28]. The coach offered him kung puwedeng Thursday, and he said, 'Gusto mo bang ituloy ko ang paglaro?' And I said, 'Babe, alam mo naman how important RP Team was to mom. So, dapat ituloy mo."

July 25. Ilang mga kapamilya pa ang dumalaw kay Tita Cory kabilang na rito ang mga kapatid ng asawang si Ninoy Aquino. Dumalaw rin si Tessie Aquino-Oreta, na nakaalitan noon ni Tita Cory. Pero sa pagdalaw na ito na rin sila nagkaayos.

"Saturday, July 25, si Auntie Ma, the oldest sister of dad came and she asked me, 'Okey lang ba kung pumunta si Tessie?' That's my Tita Tessie Oreta. Those who followed politics know that there was a while na hindi kami okey. Pero Tito Lhem, the husband of Tita Tessie, all throughout mom's illness, every week or every other week diretso ang padala ng pagkain sa mom, padala ng food.

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"So, when Auntie Ma asked me, I said 'sure'. In a way, I feel it was closure for the family. It's a lesson also na family should go beyond politics. Yun yung parang namulat sa mata ko nung panahon na yun. I don't know what Tita Tessie was able to tell mom. But she told me, the reason she went, the night before she dreamt of dad. Napanaginipan niya raw ang daddy ko at sinasabihan siya na, 'Tessie, puntahan mo si Cory. Dalhan mo ng stargazer na bulaklak. So, she asked me, 'Mahilig ba ang mom mo sa stargazer?' I said, hindi masyado. She likes looking at flowers but because of her asthma, nahihirapan ng matagalan."

Maging ang co-host at kaibigan ni Kris na si Boy ay dumalaw rin kay Tita Cory. Isa rin si Boy sa malalapit kay Tita Cory dahil nga sa pagiging close friend nila ni Kris.

"Then you [Boy] came. You're the only other non-family member who went. I don't know what you told mom. But I'm assuming na sinabi mong hindi mo ako iiwan. Kasi hindi mo naman talaga ako iniwan. Gusto mong i-share o ayaw mo?"

Noong una ay parang nag-aalangan pa si Boy pero nagpaunlak din siya na ikuwento ang tungkol sa kanyang pagbisita kay Tita Cory.

"Nung Sabado pong yan, ako po'y pumunta sa ospital. Ako'y lumapit po kay Tita Cory at quietly I was talking to her at yung sinabi ko, 'Tita, to the best I can, hindi ko pababayaan si Kris at ang kanyang mga anak'. I kept on saying that, paulit-ulit nang paulit-ulit," paglalahad ni Boy.

JULY 26. Bukod sa ilan pang mga pangako kay Tita Cory, inihabilin din ni Kris ang anak niyang si Josh kapag nasa langit na ang ina na huwag pababayaan ang special child na apo.

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"July 26, Sunday, we had mass. Si Father [Catalino] Arevalo, said mass by mom's bedside and that was the time that all of us broke down. Nung intercessory prayers kasi lahat kami shinare namin. And dun ko naalala, 'Mom, alam mo sa dinami-dami ng prinomise ko sa iyo, I forgot to promise you na every night kukuwentuhan pa rin kita'.

"Yun ang job ko sa family, Boy, ako yung taga-aliw. I said na, 'Mom, you know, I promise you, every night before I go to sleep, kukuwentuhan kita ng lahat ng nangyari sa akin at lahat ng nangyari sa family. And even in heaven, I'll really try my best to continue making you aliw'.

"And then I told her na... the last physical act that my mom was able to do was to hold Josh's hand. Kasi sinabi ni Josh sa kanya, 'Lola, holding hands'. And that was the point, Boy, na kahit blanket lang masakit na para sa mom. Yung talagang konting hawak lang umaaray siya. Pero nag-reach out siya and she held Josh's hand. Nag-holding hands sila ni Josh talaga. And then I told her, 'Mom, ikaw na ang bahala kay Josh. When you're in heaven, please make sure that he'll be okay. It's going to be hard for him to understand, Mom, kung ba't wala ka na'.

"Boy, you know nung time na nasa morphine stage na kami, 'pag iniikot ang mom 'tapos didilat ang mata pero parang [unseeing] yung eyes. And Josh would start crying and start throwing up to the bathroom kasi hindi niya ma-process yung feeling. And I said, 'Mom, you know, of all of us it will be hardest for Josh. So, please, please, take care of him.'"

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Click here for part 2


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