Broadcaster Anthony Taberna and his family are a source of inspiration as they continue to survive, grow, and learn amid trials.
In this episode of I Feel U, the celebrated reporter and his wife, Rossel, become an image of strength as they open up about their family’s current ordeal. Their 12-year-old daughter Zoey is battling leukemia.
Taking us back to the early days of this challenging season, the couple said that they chalked up the warning signs to puberty. They also assumed Zoey was just seeking for their attention. Anthony said the child used to complain about leg pains and concentration problems at school. She was also losing weight but they thought of that as just part of puberty.
There came a point when Zoey couldn’t bear the leg pain, so she was rushed to the hospital. Anthony added that the child wanted to be checked up. It was a surprise, knowing Zoey is typically scared of trips to the doctor.
Upon diagnosis, the couple blamed themselves, trying to figure the ‘whys.’ The devastating news somewhat triggered the guilt for being too busy with work. “Tumigil ang mundo. Iisipin mo bilang magulang kung ano bang nagawa mo. Masyado ka bang okupado sa trabaho mo kaya napabayaan mo ‘yung anak mo? Lalo na ako as a mother, nagkaroon ng time na sinisi ko ‘yung sarili ko. Dapat alam ko kung ano ‘yung kondisyon ng anak ko,” shared Rossel.
They were also in denial. They didn’t know how to tell Zoey about her condition, so it was kept a secret at first. The couple would act jolly in front of their kids. But behind closed doors, they would go into spiritual warfare.
Since the confirmation of Zoey’s illness, Anthony and Rossel became more diligent in praying. As parents, of course, they would beg the heavens for their child’s life. Amidst the darkest times, they find the light through their faith.
Looking at the silver linings, the trial made them closer as a family and it watered their faith. They say that every pain has a purpose. But when facing challenges, the human heart is prone to asking questions. After months of fighting, the couple has somewhat figured the answer to their ‘whys.’
Rossel shared, “Ngayon namin na-aappreciate ‘yung pinagdaanan namin. Bilang pamilya, it made us stronger. Pagkatapos nito, ang dami pa naming pagdadaanan na mabibigat. Pero alam mo ‘yung feeling na napagdaanan na namin ‘yung pinakamabigat kaya sisiw na lang ‘yung iba diyan.”
The couple also draws inspiration from none other than Zoey, whose strength as a young girl is truly admirable. “Siya ‘yung malakas, siya ‘yung matapang. Nakakahiya naman kung bilang magulang sa amin pa makikita ‘yung kahinaan, eh ‘yung anak mismo namin is a fighter,” said Rossel.
Anthony added his realization that trials bring people closer to God. He said humans tend to neglect their faith when things are going well. “Noong nangyari itong kay Zoey, parang pinaalala sa amin ng Panginoong Diyos na ‘Hali kayo, lalo kayong lumapit sa Akin.’ Ayaw niyang lumayo ka sa Kanya, so ‘yung problema at pagsubok na pinagdaanan namin, ginamit niyang paraan para lalo kaming lumapit sa kanya.”
Prayer is now a bigger part of their daily life. They would thank the Lord even for the bad times, knowing that trials will one day serve its purpose.