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Raising A Son Without A Father Image

Updated on January 20, 2017
Charito1962 profile image

Ms. Charito is a Filipino based in Manila. She has worked as an executive assistant and a journalist. She is a widow with a grown-up son.

Me and my late hubby Benjie with little Joseph
Me and my late hubby Benjie with little Joseph | Source

Benjie, my husband of ten years, died of lung cancer on June 23, 2005. He was 49, I was 42, and our son Joseph was 9.

My husband’s illness came unexpectedly. We discovered it only three months before his death, and by then, it had metastasized.

At his funeral, I remained calm and serene, as I had already psyched myself up to face his demise. I recall how in that occasion, Joseph had expressed no sorrow. I didn’t see him wail as I expected he would. He just ran around the funeral parlor with his friends, like he were in some children’s party.

It made me ponder - “Doesn’t he realize his dad is gone! What’s he feeling?”

When Benjie was finally laid to rest, Joseph, his faithful nanny (who still lives with us) and I returned home to our apartment. Thus began our life of moving on.

On supporting my son’s education

In the first couple of months after the burial, I kept a close watch on Joseph to see if he were manifesting feelings of depression over his father’s death. To ensure that he wouldn’t fall into fits of misery which would surely affect his focus on his studies, I contacted his school’s guidance counselor to check on how he was coping. I figured that if my young son wouldn’t open up to me, he would likely do it to an adult he felt comfortable with at school. (Besides, I trusted the professional help of the counselor.)

Prior to Joseph’s appointment with the counselor, I made sure to feed her with information about Benjie’s death and a little about our home environment.

When I decided to see her after a week, I was pleased to hear that Joseph was fine and that I needn’t worry. She even showed me a manuscript of a short story he had written. What consoled me all the more was her telling me that Joseph’s teachers – upon reading his story – would put him in a special class for gifted kids with advanced artistic abilities.

On the financial aspect, I continue to enjoy the support of my siblings and in-laws. Joseph was in the third grade when his father passed away, and he was studying at the Ateneo de Manila (one of the Philippines’ top schools with soaring tuition fees!).

Initially, I availed of the school’s financial aid which was granted only to deserving students. But the amount was only about a fourth of the total tuition.

Thanks be to God, my older unmarried sister - a lawyer by profession - promised Benjie at his deathbed that she would assist me in the payment. Until Joseph’s last year in high school, this was the arrangement she and I had. I paid only a fraction of the fee. Yet, I took care of all other expenses like the school supplies, shuttle service, and meal allowance.

For me to go on availing of the school’s financial aid, I had to ensure that Joseph was excelling in his academics.

Fortunately, it wasn’t difficult for me to guide him, as he is an intelligent boy. In fact, he was at the top of his class, eventually graduating with second honors.


Me and Joseph during his high school graduation
Me and Joseph during his high school graduation | Source

More blessings came my way when Joseph entered college. Luckily, he passed the entrance exams at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) where many Filipino students find it difficult to enter. U.P. has a cheap tuition, but its quality of education is as good as Ateneo's.

While still alive, Benjie was working for a company that granted scholarships to bright children of the employees. When Joseph was still in pre-school, they had promised us that they would support our son’s education once he reached college. Happy for me, they fulfilled this even after Benjie’s passing.

On helping him hone his talents

When Joseph was a toddler, I made it a habit to make him sit on my lap and read him books for children.

At 9, he started writing fiction. His first two short stories were published in his school’s literary magazine when he was 12. At 14, he penned his popular story New Toy which was published in a yearly anthology series where he continues to write. Since then, he has been writing and publishing his works.

Joseph at 15, showing off a book containing one of his short stories
Joseph at 15, showing off a book containing one of his short stories | Source

Although I tried to discourage him from taking up a creative writing course in college, he pursued it just the same. Having studied in a journalism school and later taking on a career along this line, I was worried that Joseph may also face the problem that I encountered – limited job prospects. (Besides, a writing career – at least in the Philippines – is not financially rewarding, unless, of course, you’re a famous writer.)

Thus, I advised him to consider screenplay writing and business writing, if he wanted to make more money later on. He had somewhat agreed, but didn’t show much interest.

Joseph loves to sing and rap. He’s a stand-up comedian and a radio station disc jockey. For so long as he enjoys these activities, I show him that I support him. But being the concerned mother that I am, I always remind him about being with good company and staying away from drugs, alcohol and smoking. He’s been a good boy, so far.

Joseph as a stand-up comedian

On developing his character

My anxiety when Joseph was a pre-teen was how to enhance his masculinity. I worried that he would become gay growing up in a home with only two women – me and his nanny. There was a time when as a little boy, he was fond of playing with toy cooking sets. But as soon as he took a fancy to building skyscrapers using LEGO blocks – and later on scale models of ships after being awed by James Cameron’s Titanic which prompted him to buy books about the ill-fated ship – my anxiety soon subsided.

Joseph with his LEGO skyscrapers
Joseph with his LEGO skyscrapers | Source

As he was growing, he then became interested in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and it would amuse me to hear him mimic “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s “Sometimes I drink a little beer / Sometimes I make a little mess / Sometimes I get a little angry / Sometimes I kick a little… aaasssss!!!”

Apart from buying two toy WWE championship belts, he would even wrestle with a big stuffed toy crocodile which Benjie once won in a raffle and brought home.


Joseph with his ex-girlfriend
Joseph with his ex-girlfriend | Source

Being an artist, Joseph is obviously a passionate person. Many times, he would answer me back sharply when provoked. Thus, whenever I need to admonish him, I do it gently, lest I do harm to his male psyche.

Naturally, as a teen, Joseph spent most of his time hanging out with his peers. On this, I made sure to teach him some manners and etiquette when dealing with girls. He has had two girlfriends so far.

Being with family and relatives

Since I wanted Joseph to experience family life again, I decided to move back to my parental home where I grew up. Joseph and the nanny, of course, came with me.

This was also due to the prodding of my older siblings who – with our parents now gone – thought it best for us to move out of our apartment to spare me the rental which I could no longer pay. It was a good decision.

On weekends and special occasions, my son and I get together with my siblings and their families for bonding time. Likewise, we make it a point to see my in-laws every Christmastime.

I am blessed to have a caring mother-in-law who once asked Joseph – then 11 – if I already had a boyfriend. When he angrily denied that I had one, she gently explained that it would be good for me to remarry so that my new partner could support us. But Joseph was not convinced!

Bonding time with my siblings and their families
Bonding time with my siblings and their families | Source

Here are other scenes of Joseph’s life :

Benjie and Joseph
Benjie and Joseph | Source
Joseph with his high school buddies
Joseph with his high school buddies | Source

Today, Joseph is an achiever with a healthy outlook in life. He’s smart, funny and sociable, and I am truly happy for how he has grown.

For his sake, I have decided to forego remarrying (even if people have been advising me to do so!).

And if Joseph should marry and start a family later on, I’ll be content with helping him raise his kids the way I did with him. That’s enough gratification for me.

Ah, yes…if only Benjie could see him now.

I guess the secret to raising a son with his father gone is simply to love him – and to be there until he has fully matured.

Are you a single/solo parent? How do you manage raising your kid/s?

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Comments

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  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    7 months ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thanks for stopping by, too, Margie.

  • Margie Lynn profile image

    Southern Accents 

    7 months ago from the USA

    Sorry for your loss, you are a fantastic mom! You son is so handsome and smart! I divorced and pretty much raise him by myself! I also had a lot of family support! Thanks for sharing.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thanks for your kind words, Eduardo.

  • Boomer Music Man profile image

    Boomer Music Man 

    2 years ago

    This is a real good article. You are a wonderful mother and you have siblings who really care about you and your. Family will always be family. Your son is an achiever.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thanks, SweetiePie.

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 

    2 years ago from Southern California, USA

    You have a very wonderful son.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you for your heartwarming comment, sir Dave.

  • chateaudumer profile image

    David B Katague 

    2 years ago from Northern California and the Philippines

    Hi Charito, another hub that have touched my heart. It reminded me of my daughter now raising her 12 year old daughter without a husband. She had been raising her alone for the last 3.5 years. I hope my grand daughter will turn out a wonderful young adult like your son Again I will share this hub with her. Cheers! Do not give up searching for a second chance for Love and marriage. You are still young and beautiful!

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you so much for the compliment, Ms. Mona. Yes, it does pay to be a supportive parent to raise a confident child.

    Nice of you to stop by!

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

    2 years ago from Philippines

    Your son is so impressive. I think he came out well because you loved him so much and you were an ever present mother. Also, because he felt the love of his aunts and his uncles from both sides of the family. Judging from the video, he is a confident impressive man. Congratulations. Rose Kennedy once said she would rather raise a good child than paint a famous painting.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you, too, for stopping by, Theresa! Warm regards!

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    3 years ago from southern USA

    What an inspirational hub here of the love you have for your son and your steadfastness in seeing that he grew up with all that he needed to thrive and grow into the wonderful young man he is today. He is blessed to have you for a mother, and I know he knows that fact.

    Thank you for sharing of your life here and in your lovely photos.

    God bless you

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Yes, it was difficult at the start. But I've gotten by.

    Thank you so much for stopping by, Adrien!

  • Adrien Richards profile image

    Adrien 

    3 years ago

    that is very difficult what you went thru --thanks for sharing, that is a very good thing, most people never talk about these things, glad things went well with your son

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you, thumbi7! I appreciate your stopping by! Take care.

  • thumbi7 profile image

    JR Krishna 

    3 years ago from India

    You have done really well in bringing up your boy. I think the decision not to remarry for the sake of your son was a good one :)

    Very touching story.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you so much for your kind words, CrisSp! Nice of you to stop by. Take care!

  • CrisSp profile image

    CrisSp 

    3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

    You have the strength of a woman that is very much admirable Charito. Raising a son all by yourself is not an easy job and you did well and excel.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It's indeed inspirational.

    And, sorry about your husband. I'm sure he's very proud of you and of your son.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you so much, Stella. Glad you stopped by.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    With what you just said, I'm sure you'll make a good mother, florypaula.

  • ladyguitarpicker profile image

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    It is a wonderful hub you have written about your son. I raised 2 after a divorce, and then a few years later he died at 51. So, it all works out. You have done a wonderful job raising your son. Take care, Stella

  • florypaula profile image

    Paula 

    3 years ago

    I am not a mother yet Charito, but I hope to be a good one some day and I hope from the bottom of my heart I won't forget how I felt as a child and explain my children why they are not allowed certain things instead of just saying "No".

    Have a nice day :)

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Oh, thank you so much for stopping by, florypaula! I also appreciate the compliment. I can tell you're a great mom as well. Take care!

  • florypaula profile image

    Paula 

    3 years ago

    You are a true mother hero and I am happy to see you found luck in taking care of financial aspects regarding your son's education. God never sleeps and He always helps us when in need.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You have a wonderful son.

    Have a nice day :)

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thanks, Natalie! I appreciate you stopping by. Take care!

  • NatNat34 profile image

    Natalie Flores-Henley 

    3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

    Admire your honesty and openness on such a private matter...but I can surely see this aiding other single parents out there....nice flow throughout the article.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Why, thank you, Ms. Catherine! Yes, Joseph is a wonderful boy (he looks just like his late father!)

    I just hope he turns out to be a good parent later on, should he decide to marry and raise kids.

  • CatherineGiordano profile image

    Catherine Giordano 

    3 years ago from Orlando Florida

    What a wonderful story of a wonderful son. You were so lucky to have family able and willing to help you. Your son sounds like a great kid and it sounds like you were a great mom.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you so much for the praise, word55! Yes, I wouldn't have gotten by without God by my side. He takes good care of you - and widows like me.

    Take care!

    (Oh..and please call me by my nickname - "Charito".)

  • word55 profile image

    Word 

    3 years ago from Chicago

    Hi Rosario, Congratulations! You are my 200th follower on this blessed and hallowed day. That means you will be blessed in a very special way and you shall share that blessing with us here on Hub Pages when you get it together... Yes, I came up without my father that passed away a few months before my birth. When I learned of Father God though, I asked Him to be my Father. He's done a miraculous job with me. You've done an amazing job too with Joe. I can tell. You deserve all the accolades that a single mother can receive. A stepped up Love is the almighty answer like you stated, when there is a void such as the one you both were left with. I hope you'll enjoy more of my hubs as well. Cheers!

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thank you so much, Kappygirl! Glad you stopped by!

  • Kappygirl profile image

    Kappygirl 

    3 years ago

    I'm sure it was difficult raising a son alone. But it sounds like you had a lot of help from family. Best of wishes to you and your son.

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Hello, Pam and Ms. Maisie! So nice to hear from the two of you! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I sure went through tough times, but God was always with me. He continues to take care of me in my widowhood.

  • Glenis Rix profile image

    GlenR 

    3 years ago from UK

    Congratulations on raising a wonderful and successful boy. I too was a single parent, divorcing when by boys were eleven and two years old, so I empathise totally.

  • Pam Morris profile image

    Pam Morris 

    3 years ago from Atlanta Georgia

    My hat is off to you. It sounds like you did well alone. I recognize your challenges I am raising a 17-year-old son alone, and it get very challenging at times, so I do understand. Beautiful article

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Hi, Jim! Great to hear from you! Please, call me by my nickname - "Charito".

  • profile image

    Jim Houston 

    3 years ago

    As always Rosario, excellent Hub. Hope all is well with you.

    Jim Houston

  • Charito1962 profile imageAUTHOR

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

    3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Why, thank you, Amine! So nice of you to stop by! Warm regards to you, fellow ex-squid!

  • aminebombom profile image

    Amine 

    3 years ago from Doha, Qatar

    Well you have shared with us a lot Rosario, it's been hard for both of you to live without a husband/father, but you managed to raise a lovely young man, salamt maganda.

    you deserve all the best in life fellow squidooer :)

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