4 things I learned about life this 2017

I honestly don’t know how to start this post. I agreed to participate in this collaboration since this is our last for this year, but I seriously don’t know how to begin, what to say or how to say it.

This post should talk about my reflections about 2017 – what happened, what I achieved, what I did, and how I changed this year.

Here’s my story:

  • Sometimes you start with nothing.

I’ve been working for more than 14 years, but I started 2017 without a job. I quit my dream job last December 2016 due to personal reasons and part of those reasons was while I wanted a higher pay, I couldn’t handle the stress and pressure anymore brought about by my family’s ordeal with my niece’s lingering illness. It took a toll on me and my job.

So I needed a fresh start. Thank God in March, I found a new job. It was another dream job not only because of its higher salary but with the nature of the job. But I couldn’t discuss more, but I was happy working there.

  • Life forces you to be responsible, independent adult.

In May, my parents had to relocate to the United States to find a job and support my sick niece who was left under our care. Although I’m old enough to have my own family, I wasn’t given the “real” one (yet) until my parents left.

Not a husband or my own kid though, but I was in-charge of a household that consists of two nieces and one nephew. My responsibility was to make sure I manage our finances properly, we have food to eat, and we pay our bills/remaining debts on time.

While it may sound easy for some, it was challenging for me because at that time, one of the kids was my bedridden nine-year-old niece. While her mother (my sister) was her 24/7 personal nurse and my other sister as her back-up, I was tasked to drive them to and from the hospital for their monthly doctors’ check-up, buy her medical supplies, help with getting in and out of a wheelchair or car, and provide constant companionship and general supervision during weekends or when I’m free.

If you have or had a bedridden patient who needs 24/7 care and monitoring, you would understand how difficult the routine was and the constant fear for her life. She’s very fragile and prone to infections. She can’t get sick or else…

  • Death is inevitable.

While we thought we were finally adjusting to the routine, my niece eventually died last August 12, 2017 ending her two-year battle with pneumonia-teratoma-encephalitis.

Our worlds turned upside down. We were devastated, but we had no choice but to go on with our lives.

Easier said than done I know, but we are trying. We go out, travel, visit abandoned and sick kids, donate stuffs, go on with our normal lives, but to be honest, we are still grieving. We cannot cover up the loneliness and pain of missing her every single day and how much we wish she’s still alive with us.

  • You win some.

It’s been really difficult four months since her death now the news of my dad came two weeks ago. He was rushed to the emergency room due to difficulty in breathing. And after some tests, they found out he needs to undergo a triple heart bypass surgery. What? Not again!

But the good thing tho, (and now I can finally announce this), the operation was successful. As of this posting, he’s already in the recovery room. So please help me to pray that my dad recovers well and that we end our year and welcome the coming years safe, happy, peaceful, healthy, abundant, loved, and blessed.

Now, as to how I changed this year?

Despite everything that has happened to me and family, yes I’ve changed a lot…in a good way.

I learned to be more grateful, to have more faith, to love my parents and loved ones more, to love my neighbors, families, and friends as well, to be more honest with my feelings, to be more patient, to be more appreciative, to give more and expect less, to worry less and trust God’s plans and timing in our lives.

Yes, I still worry a lot, especially during the two-week waiting time when my dad was about to undergo heart bypass surgery, but whenever that happens, I try to remember that there’s a God who is bigger than my worries and problems and that He will never leave my side no matter what happens. He will make things happen in His time.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

This is a monthly blog collaboration and our theme for December is reflections about 2017 – what happened, what I achieved, what I did, and how I changed this year. For more stories, check out these amazing and truly inspiring writers who participated in this blog collaboration. Happy reading and hope we inspired you:

Barb Caffrey: Reflections on 2017: A Collaboration With A Purpose Post

Divyang Shah: Reflect 2k17 Collab

Ipuna Black: 2017 Reflections

Jane Love: The Need to Reflect

Jothish Joseph: Mr. 2017

Nicolle K: Collaboration With A Purpose: Reflections – The Best and Not-So-Best Things About My 2017

Sadaf Siddiqi: The Year’s Reflection

Sonyo Estavillo: Goals & Reflections: I’m not quite there, but I’m not where I was


Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

27 thoughts on “4 things I learned about life this 2017

  1. This made me cry, Mylene. It must have been a very tough time but tough time teaches to be grateful and to trust God’s plans and timings. I really hope the new year brings you good tidings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sadaf. Yes, tough year. Hoping for God’s grace before this year ends especially for dad’s health. Welcome back to blogging. I have yet to read your entry. Thanks for the wishes.


  2. Beautiful, Mylene. What a year of faith and trials you’ve been through. May God bless you and your family in 2018. Thank you for your words below. What great words for all of us to learn and grow from. I’m so glad we met. Jy has regressed some recently. He is more agitated, struggles to do homework, and his crying has increased a lot. We are going back to the holistic doctor. Although his ups and downs with the brain can be frustrating, I think of you and your family and remember that God has a plan. Thank you! ❤️

    “I learned to be more grateful, to have more faith, to love my parents and loved ones more, to love my neighbors, families, and friends as well, to be more honest with my feelings, to be more patient, to be more appreciative, to give more and expect less, to worry less and trust God’s plans and timing in our lives.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Ipuna. My sister asked if Jy had his latest MRI to check his brain activity. Praying for Jy’s good health always. Hope everything will be okay. Let me know how did it go with the holistic doctor. God bless you and your family always.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mylene,
        I’m so late with responding. Jy has not had a recent MRI. His brain activity is fine (thank goodness). His big issue is that he lost some of his pathways from the brain to his body. He has to relearn many things (e.g., playing soccer again, reading smoothly, writing). He also doesn’t know how to cope with stressful situations well. He is relearning coping strategies. Jy is doing much better now that he is on his holistic medications again. He thinks clearer. He started an intensive tutoring program too. I had to go to California and learn his treatment. I do it from home and check in once a week with the learning center. Ultimately, we hope all of his pathways are restored.


  3. Mylene, you had a rough year, and yet you and your family are doing your absolute best. That your father is recovering from heart surgery is excellent; that your niece fought long and hard against her illness before finally succumbing shows what a strong spirit she had.

    I like to think that so long as we remember our loved ones, they’re not truly gone. They always live, in our hearts and minds, and what you experienced with her (before her illness, during her illness, and after she passed on) will live as long as you do — and perhaps more. (Surely her spirit is still alive, albeit no longer in this world.)

    Thank you for writing this. I know it must’ve been incredibly difficult and painful to relive a lot of that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Barb. Yea, it was difficult to write about this, but I have to. This is my only outlet. I would like to look back one day and tell myself, I was able to go through this. May you have the best of years ahead. 😍😍😍

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry to hear about the death. We lost our middle daughter 4 years ago. It never gets easier. You live on, but it’s not something that’s easily gotten over.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. She had a condition called Anencephaly- it was where her Neural Tube didn’t close at the top when I was pregnant and part of her skull didn’t form. She was born braindead and “lived” 3 1/2 hours. Died in my arms.
        We knew from the time I was 16 weeks so we had time to prepare.
        She would have turned 4 this past June. I wish we could see how we would handle a 6, 4 and 2 year old..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sad to hear about your loss. I think no matter what age they die, they will always have a piece of our hearts we can never get back. She’s my first niece and my sister’s first child. Thank you for connecting and praying for the best for you and your family.


  5. My heart feels for you, Mylene! Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sure it must have been difficult. I’m sorry once again about your niece, and I’m glad your father’s operation was successful and that you got another dream job. I hope your father will recover well and hope you’ll have a great December and beyond. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing your story, Miley. I’m sure it must have been difficult to have to relive some of this. But I’m glad you shared it. My condolences once again about your niece. I also give thanks to God once again that your father’s operation was successful and that you got another dream job. I believe God for your father’s successful recovery and pray you and your family will have a great December and beyond.

    Much love.❤❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The same to you, Milley!

        Yes, that reminds me. I have to put up January’s suggested theme before we all get too busy. I’ll probably do it today or tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

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