Dream career—or family first?
DZRH news writer, reporter, and Ask My Pope Radio Talk Show co-anchor Mavel Ciceron Arive came upon that fork in the road in 2015, when her widower father, Mariano Arive Jr., suffered a debilitating stroke.
As an only child, Mavel was left to take care of him. But she was also on her final year in college where she had a thesis to finish and a chance to start her dream career in broadcasting.
Now 26, Mavel tells My Pope how she dealt with the challenges of this crossroads—and why delays can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.
Take us back to 2015 when your dad had a stroke.
Four years after my mother passed away, my father had a stroke. He stayed in the hospital for almost two weeks, including a week in the ICU before he became conscious and somewhat recovered.
I almost wanted to give up during those times because aside from attending to him in the hospital, I was also doing my thesis as a graduating college student of mass communication (major in broadcasting) at the Lyceum of the Philippines Manila. I remember the day I had to invite my thesis mates to our house near the hospital so I could easily go to Papa if anything happened.
Weeks later, praise the Lord, Papa was out in the hospital, but the left part of his body was paralyzed. After my graduation, when Papa was still recovering from his stroke, he asked me not to apply for work for a while so I could accompany him to his therapy sessions.
How did you feel about it?
(I felt) really sad because I was really eager to work in media and earn my own money. But I saw Papa at his weakest so I decided to be with him. I looked after him while he took a bath, pooped, and practiced walking. I also prepared his food and bed.
In June 2015, I told him I wanted to start my own life—to start working and earn money. During that time, my dad’s brother opened his home to us, so his help could look after Papa while I was at work. I prayed hard and accepted my uncle’s offer.
I applied to a radio station (not DZRH) but I was put in the graveyard shift. Because my uncle was attending to Papa during the day, I was responsible for Papa’s needs at night. So I declined the radio station’s offer.
What did you do next?
I applied to a bank and was hired. There, I would work during regular office hours and attend to Papa in the evening. This was my routine for almost a year.
But since day one at the bank, I can say I was not happy and I knew I would never be happy. There were times I would cry while watching the news on TV because I knew in my heart that’s where I wanted to be.
Come 2016, Papa was recovering well; he could move his arms and feet though he was still numb. Then I got a message from a friend who worked in the HR department of Manila Broadcasting Company (owner of DZRH 666khz). They were hiring a news writer.
By then, I doubted myself because I felt I didn’t know how to write news anymore. I prayed hard about it that night. The next morning, the station manager messaged to invite me to take an exam. After a series of test and interviews, I got hired and my journey in media began.
How are things today?
Even though I travel daily from Marikina to the radio station in Pasay and back, I am still happy because what was once a dream is now my dream job. And praise the Lord because Papa’s recovery is going well and I have some relatives attending to him while I work.
Although Papa’s left side is still numb, he can already move it. I take care of his medicines and other things needed for his continuous maintenance and recovery. And we become closer. Despite his condition, he is more of a father figure to me now.
What have you become because of this experience?
I became stronger. I realized that God would never leave me, especially when I’m at my lowest. Problems are no reason to give up. They come because they help us become better versions of ourselves.
Also, everything we encounter daily is a matter of choice. What makes it a wise choice is when we do it with prayer.
What would you tell someone who is experiencing what you went through?
To people in the same boat as I once was, never give up on what you want. There may be delays but if you have the passion, determination, and perseverance, it will all be worth it.
Never forget to pray, because I am living proof that with God, anything is possible.
Always look at the bright side and let problems be an inspiration to strive harder to have a better life and best future.