Tag Archives: death

Unthinkable Shiver

Freezing cold on the 29th of wintry December morning 2014, I took my flight back to Manila to behold the beautiful face of my beloved mother on her wake. The last time I would talk to her, face to face although I knew it would be a one way conversation. She can no longer agree or disagree with me, nod her head in awe when she hears good news about my career and family, utter words to remind me how proud she is that I’m her daughter, constantly motivate me to be better in whatever I do, boost my moral before a big performance, pacify me when I’m hysterical, listens to me when I tell her how lonely it is to lose a husband, and a lot more. She even becomes the mother to my daughter when I’m not around. I could go on and on and on. I was not on her bedside when she was fading away but technology helped me to tell her everything while she can still hear me.
Excruciatingly painful. That’s how my mother would phrase it when she wants to describe a feeling where pain is gravely intolerable, or when a situation is unbearably distressing or when someone is in intense suffering.
I was speaking to her over the phone while my heart is in excruciating pain. All I can do is make myself strong by controlling my tears while I bid her goodbye. As I speak to her, I realized that I will not be able to give her the tightest hug I can give. There’s no reason for me to drop by the duty free to buy a new lipstick, perfume or a new bag for my beloved mother. I will not have someone to call on to when I need a recipe for a certain menu I want to cook. ( She knows I don’t really cook though) still she would teach me how to. She said I need to learn how to cook, at least for my husband.
My mother is my best mentor in life. She was strict (specially in academics ) but kind. Having a boyfriend at a young age is totally unacceptable. Her ultimate goal for me is to get a good college education. She would endlessly tell me that getting a good education means finding eventually a decent husband. There are so many adjectives by which I can describe my first teacher. She was the love and the light of our family and I am just about to enter the door to her wake.
I was ok as the car was taking me from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to St. John The Baptist Loyola in Taytay. A little jet lagged but generally ok. When the car stopped and the driver informed me that it was time for me to get off, I started to shiver. I never felt that in my entire life. Not even on my husband’s passing away. I was shaking uncontrollably. My brother hugged me very tight and instructed me not to see my mother until I’m feeling better. It took me an hour at least before I can go to her casket and behold her timeless beauty. It was excruciatingly painful but for some reason, all my body could do was to shiver. I never shivered in my life even in a minus 10 degree temperature of a cold winter season. Strength and tolerance are just some of the famous nicknames I have I guess. My mother’s wake gave me an unthinkable shiver.
She is now eternally resting in peace with the Lord. When I pray to her, I ask her, ‘Mom, where you hugging me when I was at the footsteps of your wake?’ I felt a sudden gush of a cold wind chill devoured me upon entering the room. I would answer the question myself and say yes. She was present and telling me through my unthinkable shiver that everything will be alright. That’s my mom. And just like the song of Kenny Loggins…
‘In the mornin’ when I rise
Bringing tears of joy to my eyes
And tell me everything’s gonna be all right’ ”People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one’…

80 years and it’s a Bonus?

As I start writing this, I look back at the first time I understood what my mother meant when she told me that giving birth to me is like finally having someone to call your own. I became my mother’s best friend cum daughter since then. The moment her gynecologist announced that ‘it’s a baby girl’ ,
she heard the song ‘Silent Night’ being played all over the hospital rooms. I was born in the month of October, the month where Christians and non-Christians as well, feel that Christmas is just around the corner, what with the Christmas songs already being played by all radio stations. I was my mother’s best Christmas gift ever.
It’s the 21st of December today and anytime from now, she is about to leave us, our family, to rest into eternal life. This is my worst Christmas gift ever. I love Christmas season. As the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well I guess not for everybody. Not only because my mother is fading away but because of so many reasons. War, hunger, poverty, selfishness, hatred, greed, corruption, heinous crimes, injustice, etc. etc.
In other words, life is not fair. Life is a struggle between choosing to be happy or choosing to be sad amidst all the chaotic realities that we are facing. My parents brought me up generally to be God-fearing and to be a happy person no matter what. As I go through life’s journey, I realized that there are issues on the other side of the coin. To be happy and to accept whatever life serves me on the table is one and the other is to face and accept a passing away of a loved one head-strong. The second one is tedious. I am very lonely that my mother is traveling on a journey where she’s not returning to us and that is unacceptable.
My friends consoled me, spoken words of wisdom so that I would feel better and just move on and face a new chapter in my life. That my mother lived long enough , 80 years to set it right, and lived a full life therefore I should be happy. That 80 years is a bonus considering that the average life span of a person goes around 70 to 75. I’m grateful for having friends who care but I am not convinced. NO.
A bonus is being with my mother 20 more years. That I go first before her, that I don’t see her anguish in pain while all the other parts of her body are failing. Is it hard for the universe to just make my mother comfortable sans pain and be with us longer? Acceptance?
To not question that her physicians did their best to extend my mother’s life? Am I looking for chivalry from my God or from the experts to make her strong and be with us again?
Chivalry is gone these days. Life is a struggle.
There is no bonus. When someone grows up to be with a loving family, it’s hard to let go. Yes, I still choose to be happy but for now, I ask the universe to let me be. 80 years is not enough. There is a Forever which is intangible.
Love. And only now that I start realizing that. I continue to pray for a miracle as I write this….