by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
These words are commonly heard when partners say their ‘I do’s’ and give their vow to each other before God on their wedding day.But life has thrown the world a curve ball this season and many couples and families find themselves grappling with a health crisis.
Husbands and wives, dads and moms, children… millions have contracted the virus. The vow, “In sickness and in health,” is getting tested at this time. Easier said than done, don’t you think?I have witnessed my husband suffer excruciating pain because of gout. I have accompanied my husband to the hospital because of back and muscle pains. And during those times, I could still hold on to the vow I uttered on the day we got married.
But I couldn’t imagine what it will be like or how will I feel when my spouse is fighting for his life and at the verge of death. To see him in pain because of gout already breaks my heart, how much more to be confronted with the possibility of him not getting to live another day.
This pandemic has produced many stories of couples proving what it means to have and to hold in times of sickness, not just of perfect health. They are testimonies of grace and strength. They are testaments of healing over sickness, and of love conquering all.
Noel and Joei Revilleza. Ricky and Aimee Vistan. Two different couples, one story – a story of miraculous healing, second chance at life, and of vow fulfilled.
Joei’s husband of almost a decade, Noel, caught the virus in July 2020. He was diagnosed to have severe COVID-19 and critical pneumonia. He had to undergo hemoperfusion to cleanse his blood. He was in the hospital for eleven days.
Ricky, Aimee’s husband for almost 29 years now, spent one month in the hospital. 23 of those days were in the ICU. Aimee also caught the virus and stayed in the same hospital for two weeks. Aimee’s case was moderate but her husband’s was critical.
When asked what kept them going when their spouses were fighting for their lives, Joei said, “It’s definitely my faith. If not for my faith, I would just cry and panic but my faith kept me grounded. My faith reminded me that God will take care of him, me and our kids.”
On the other hand, Aimee held on to God’s promises. “We are also thankful for everyone who prayed, gave sacrificially, and was there for us in their own ways,” she shared.
Joei and Aimee are two strong women who showed such amazing strength at a very difficult time. Was there a point when they wanted to give up?
“Yes,” Joei answered honestly. “When I saw a woman die and get zipped in a bag while waiting for my husband to get a room in the hospital, that’s when it hit me that everything is beyond my control.”
But she persevered. “I overcame it through praying and worship. There really is nothing else I could do but trust in Him who can do everything.”
Aimee’s hope stood strong. She said, “No, there was not a time that I felt hopeless. God kept me in faith at all times. He knew I needed to think of nothing negative and just believe.”
Their ordeal with COVID-19 taught them many lessons that they will forever cherish in their hearts. For Joei, mortality felt more real more than ever.
“Every day is really grace from God,” she shared. “My husband says “Every gising is a blessing.” I learned to cherish every moment with the people I love. God truly loves your loved ones more than you can ever love them.”And for Aimee, she realized the value of relationships and prayer.
“I felt what it was like to have absolutely no solution and ways to fix the problem but instead to trust God completely. I learned to love life more and make every moment count. I also gained the ability to block out everything and everyone, making God’s voice loud and clear,” she said.
They are just two of the many untold stories of healing, victory and love overcoming. Both their recovery stories amazed doctors and nurses. Their testimonies of miracles touched and blessed their families and friends, including my husband and I.
We witnessed how these couples endured the very difficult time they faced. We have seen how their love for their spouses conquered their fears and worries.
We have been encouraged by their relentless faith and hope in the One who created their marriages and built their families.
The Revillezas and the Vistans have proven that love conquers all and endures all hardships. They have remained faithful to their vow of holding on for better and for worse, in sickness and in health.And probably you are experiencing this too, or you know of someone whose spouse is fighting for his or her life, I declare healing and restoration.
I pray for the grace to stay strong, to be in faith and to have hope. The Author of your life will carry you through.
He is the God who is for you and with you, in sickness and in health.
by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan