Beyond Love, Sacrifice and Service: The Paracuelles’ Story

     “It takes a strong woman to love a military man”. Indeed, it requires a lot of courage to face a battle for a soldier, but the courage of a wife knowing, understanding and believing that his husband is doing fine even if it’s not is way stronger. Private Anne Catherine Pascual Paracuelles 929542 (Inf) PA was one of the strong woman who endure the pain of loss. She was the wife of late SSg Reymund A Paracuelles 882432 who paid an ultimate sacrifice in Marawi Siege last year.  When her husband died, Pvt Paracuelles struggled in so much agony and pain. Although devastated and confused she was able to overcome the greatest test of her life and able to continue the commitment of her husband, as a nation builder.

    Their Life before the Marawi Seige

    Pvt Paracuelles was a graduate of BS Criminology and also a Provisionary Officer in the reserve force. Both of them were strikers on the Finance Center Philippine Army (FCPA) upon applying in the PA. When Reymund got his break and become a soldier, he was then advised Catherine not to follow his steps anymore.

    They were married last 2015. Catherine described her husband as a loving, caring, humble, family oriented and a religious man. Everything she could asked for a husband. They were married for two years and was blessed by a baby boy. Unfortunately, their second baby died due birth complications. Catherine was always fascinated by her husband’s sacrifices just to give them a comfortable life.

    Before her husband has been deployed in Marawi, their first born had a serious complication in his kidney and needed an immediate circumcision to reduce the infection. As a father and a dedicated soldier as well, Reymund was then worried and sorry at the same time for he has to immediately obey his call of duty and all can think of is to pray for the welfare of both his loving wife and suffering son.

    The Marawi Seige

    Cpl Reymund Paracuelles who was then assigned in 525th Engineering Battalion has been deployed in Marawi on 4 July 2017. He never wanted his wife to worry about him so instead of saying that he is far away in the battle area, he would tell that they were only on the barracks doing some maintenance. That’s what Catherine knew only to found out her husband’s most painful lie. He was in the front line battling with the Maute members and unfortunately got killed in one of the operations three days after his deployment. His remains were sent back to his family full of pride, valor and honor. Catherine’s husband got two rank higher for his bravery and loyalty in the service of country.

    As a widow

    Her world shattered when the love of her life died. “Para akong naputulan ng isang paa. Di ko kayang mag-isa, mahirap tumayong mag-isa”. It was a year after her husband passed away but the pain and regret still remains.  The longer her husband is gone, the more painful it felt. She has to tell white lies to their son whenever he asked about his father. Catherine has to stand firm for her son, for she has no one to depend on except herself. However, never she regretted of marrying a soldier though she knew what were the consequences are. Whenever Catherine misses her husband, she makes herself busy so she won’t get emotional every time she thinks of him.

    Joining the Philippine Army

    She has to be practical that’s why she took the opportunity in the Army as special enlistee. As of now, she is presently assigned at the Headquarters Service Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Support Group. For Pvt Paracuelles, the PA is her safe haven for it gives her so much to remember. It gives her the strength to continue what her husband started. She may not have fully recover on her husband’s loss but she carries a positive perspective for her future and for her son.

    As woman who just lost half of her heart, Pvt Anne Catherine P Paracuelles is just an example of how strong a soldier’s other half should be.

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