The CuriousPages Sketchbook

A selfish heart attack

Today, we heard that Rhyan’s brother-in-law (Daryl) had a heart attack. He was 32. He is at home recovering now. He works extensive hours in a high stress job, earning next to nothing, and supports two young children, his wife, a crippling debt. Rhyan said that when his mother heard about the heart attack, her first comment was “How selfish of him, to have a heart attack and not think of who would support his children.”

A few weeks earlier, when Rhyan was talking to her on Skype, she was trying to imagine what the UK was like. She has only ever known the Philippines where she lives, Cebu and Manila. She asked him if we still have stars in the sky in the UK, and if we were any nearer to Mars than they are in the Philippines.

The more I hear of Rhyan’s mother, the more I think her personality is similar to my own mother’s. “Yes,” agrees Rhyan, “She’s just like Madam Brenda.”

I was asking him about Daryl’s family. He has five brothers and a mentally deficient sister. None of his brothers work and his sister got pregnant but the father was not known, so Daryl not only has to support his wife (Cathy, Rhyan’s sister), and their two small children and his crippling debt, but also his own five brothers, his mentally deficient sister, his mother and step father and his sister’s baby. And, apparently, the father is a drunk.

Daryl’s debt is on a credit card, and some time ago they stopped making the payments, because if they paid the interest alone they did not have enough money left to feed their children. And the debt kept rising. It’s no wonder the poor chap had a heart attack.

Rhyan's mother fell out with Cathy for some time, mainly because she married a poor man. She was pretty and had suitors from abroad. Her mother had such "high expectations" of her, but she chose to marry for love. She is now poor but happy.


6 May 2011



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