My father or my stepfather?
I was only three years old when my Dad abandoned my mother without any financial support. My poor mother had to work very hard to pay for our needs. In desperation, she tried to ask help from my Lola, the mother of my father. But Lola refused to help her.
I saw how Mama sacrificed so much so we could keep body and soul together. Fortunately, she met Carling, a lonely widower who was 15 years older than she is. They fell in love and decided to live together. He treated me like his own daughter and asked me to call him Papa Carling, which I did. My mother looked so happy and contented with Papa Carling. He showered her with all the love and care she never got from my Dad. Papa Carling would drive me to school and pick me up to bring me home after school hours. He was the one who rushed me to the hospital when I got sick with dengue, and he stayed with Mom in the hospital while I was very sick. He was brilliant at math so he would patiently tutor me in my lessons every night, even though he had to miss his favorite TV sports programs just to do this.
After I finished high school, I decided on a nursing course and Papa Carling supported me all the way. At my graduation rites, he and Mom shed tears while watching me march with my co-graduates.
I was planning to work abroad when Papa Carling got diagnosed with prostate cancer. I decided not to leave for abroad so I could help take care of him. I knew he would need constant care and I vowed to be there for him as my Mom was also in poor health. One day, my Lola on my Dad's side, came to see me to tell me that my Dad was very sick in Iloilo and needed my help as his live-in paramour left him. She told me I should go to help my Dad. I told her I can't leave my Papa Carling, who also needed my help. My Lola got angry and called me an ingrate. She said I should be loyal to my real father as I am his flesh and blood. No matter how much she tried to force me to go to help my Dad, I wouldn't budge. Now she badmouths me to all her relatives.
Did I make the right decision?
No one can blame you if you remain loyal and loving to your Papa Carling, who truly cared for you and your Mom. He was there for all the times when a daughter needs a father. Now that he is very sick and helpless, they think you have to be there for him. As for your Lola, the next time she tries to force you to go and care for your Dad, just explain to her as calmly as you can, why you are very loyal to your Papa Carling.
“Love begets love”, as the saying goes.