Bye Ma

I used to think there’s nothing much to talk about my mother because we were separated from her when I was six and she came back into our lives during my father’s wake, when I was 17. So I was already a teenager when I met her again… and I hardly new her. All I recall were the “horror” stories of the fights, the running away, so much baggage. Now, it turns out I was dead wrong. I remember my friend Jenny telling me when I was so full of “hate” (leaving us when I was so young and growing up without a “real” mother …), that remember the Ten Commandments Faith? The FIFTH one says, “Honor thy father, and thy mother. It does not say Honor thy father and mother if they are good, etc.” It’s unconditional. So honor them for what they are (warts and all) just as people should, with each other. No labels, since we are in no position to judge because we ain’t perfect ourselves”… I keep repeating this myself … trying to remember what one person said… that “I should walk the talk…” Since that day that Ate Jenny said those words to me. I went cold turkey. It’s like the slate went clean. She is so right. I am in no position to judge my mother for the sins of the past. I don’t even know the history of that “past”.  My other friend Shereen, told me too when we talked about my mother…”She’s still your mother Faith…” just those words. So concise yet it just hit the nail on its proverbial head…for those who knows how to read between the lines. It sums up the explanation of Ate Jen.

NOW I am in such… not a state of “alarm” which is such an alarming word (no pun), more like conscience-stricken state of finding ways to make amends with her. Try to do as much as I can to tell her that I do love her and I do understand why things happened in the past between her and my father… But then I am in the capital region and she is in the deep south, Davao my hometown with my sister and her family. I was able to visit her with my son two summers ago and again last summer and tried my best to connect. I held her hand and just stare at her longer in the hope that there’s a glimmer of recognition. I thought sometimes her eyes would light up and that’s a sign for me that she understood what I said…but I wasn’t sure then… although I thought her grip on my hand got a bit tighter. If you call that grip because she’s so weak now and so frail. Recently, she just got taken out of the hospital because the doctors told my sisters, she is almost 80, whatever it was they found in her body, if it was cancer then … “you might as well take her home and let her enjoy the rest of her life because she won’t be able to survive all the chemotherapy, tubes, meds, etc at that advanced age.” So my sisters Ate Ruby, Ate Balin and Hope took her back home. My sisters says my mother just wanted to die so to speak, not very cooperative, doesn’t want to eat sometimes, doesn’t even want to get up from her bed. We recently bought her a wheelchair and I felt good when my sister Ate Ruby said, they went to the beach with her and sometimes she eats fruits. Thank you Lord.

Mama, looks so shrunken from a photo Love (Audrey my niece) posted on her facebook page… I wanted to hug her… tell her it’s ok Mama, we are going where you are going too… So just wait for us, we’ll be together again (just whispering silently to myself hoping to get the message through by staring at her shrunken body online), also trying to reassure myself and calm myself … deep inside I am so afraid because there’s so little time and I keep praying to GOD to please please Lord don’t make her suffer too much pain… she has had enough of those during her active years, physically, mentally and spiritually. Can a human being suffer too much, is there a limit to one’s suffering? I just realized now, Mama survived an anguished life and she experienced it more during her later years with us. The rejection of her own kids (including myself), the ridicule she received from her own family (including me), the painful words from her own family (including me)… I kept thinking, she must have been numb from the constant painful words and rejection… and it marked her all through her later years. Invisible scars, yet visible to those who love her and know her… Despite those harrowing experience, she was still able to move on, she smiles at us before she got bedridden, even held our hands too and I used to ask myself… God bless Mama, she “forgot” what I did to her… or maybe she is just too numbed from it all? I do not want to torture myself of the thought. I know I have to move on, do things now, if ever at all possible and just try your best to treat her as lovingly as possible.

My mother passed away on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at the age of 80. My sister said it was around 5:00 a.m. but they really don’t know the exact time… So she died on her sleep. Bye Ma… We love you very much…


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