Karen Cinco, at 23, knows the pain of a broken family all too well.
Love, she believes, comes with the risk of getting hurt. Smooth sailing is rare in any relationship, and when the waves of conflict crash, hearts can break. Mending a broken heart isn’t easy; it can drive people to extraordinary measures to escape the pain.
Yet, despite the hurt, forgiveness often finds a way, particularly when it concerns those closest to us—like parents.
Karen’s story is one of love and forgiveness amidst family turmoil.
Between the ages of 12 and 16, Karen faced her first heartbreak when her parents chose to separate after a rocky road in their relationship.
Her father found happiness with someone new, while her mother started a new family of her own.
These events were deeply traumatic for Karen, shattering the image of her once-perfect family.
Left without her usual support system, Karen resolved to push through and complete her college education, despite the immense challenges she faced.
As she sailed through the path of independence, Cinco learned to forgive her parents.
“After thinking for a while, I think I could say that how much I love them is how much I can understand and forgive them…Their sacrifices are so much more than their imperfections. And that’s how I also learned to forgive, understand, and love them,” she said.
One day, Karen Cinco had a heartfelt conversation with her mother. She noticed her mother had lost a lot of weight and seemed unable to forgive herself for past events.
Karen encouraged her mom to let go of the past and focus on caring for her step-siblings. Her words moved her mother to tears.
Karen realized the sacrifices her mother had made and felt the weight of responsibility as the third of five siblings. She worked hard in her studies and job, driven by the desire to build a home for her mother in Bukidnon, where she works as a farmer.
Currently, Karen is working towards making their dream home a reality.
Meanwhile, her father resides in Dumanjug, Cebu, and they maintain occasional communication.
“Dili perfect ato parents, and how I wish ma save or mabawi to nako tanang kasakit na ila giagian. Karon mas gahuna-huna ko unsay maka better sa ako parents and learn to accept what happened to them. I learn na we should also protect them kay taw ra pod sila nga need i-prioritize ila mental, physical, ug emotional health,” Cinco said.
‘Ma, Pa, I love you so much’
Despite the pain, Karen Cinco knows she loves her parents deeply because they brought her into this world with hopes for a better life.
“Sauna maghilak pako ani amo kaagi pero, karon ma zoom out na nako ug storya though lengthy japon. Mama, Papa, I love you so much. I hope after ani tanan maka family picture ta ta, bisag kausa.”
Karen added that she’s willing to do anything to ease their burdens or bring them joy.
She acknowledges that no parent is flawless—they make mistakes like everyone else. Yet, she credits the strength she’s gained from her parents’ influence.
“Parents are the first source of strength above all. And even if di perfect ato parents bisag kapila pata mutubag or let’s say maglagot nila, simbahan parin ang uuwian. Because our love for them runs strong and deep,” she shared.
She believes in the adage “Everything happens for a reason.” Love can lead to hurt, but through forgiveness and time, healing can begin. Though things may change, traces of the love that taught us invaluable lessons will remain. /clorenciana