I miss my mom. She passed away a little over three months ago, exactly three months after I visited her in Catanduanes. I thought she had few more years to live because she didn't show any signs or tinges that she was going to die. She was fiesty, active even though she was confined to her wheelchair, nossy, and at 88 years old, she was very alert. Surprisingly, her memory had remained sharp until her last days.
Ever since I went to college, I don't think I ever returned to the province for longer vacation to rebond with my mom. The most I stayed with her was few months during summer break which I often spent holding a summer job in Bato. Though in my younger years, my mom and I had spent many times together, from going to the swamp, planting corn, camote, planting rice, and others stuff. At such a young age, she taught me how to survive in this tough and cruel world in her own way. Honestly, whenever I go back home, I don't mind doing those odd jobs even if it would mean I have to get messy. One time, my friend O took me to the forest to dig some "garyang", a delicious native root which I believe only grows in the province. It was a lot of work digging the roots out of a muddy soil. After we were through, we were all covered with mud and my dinem pants had stains all over from the juice of the "garyang" leaves.
When I was in Puraran, my husband and I, suddenly, were left alone for a day with lots of chores to do, including laundry. Normally, we had company to help us around the house. I didn't want to wait another day so I rolled my sleeves up, squatted down and washed the clothes the old fashion way...with my bare hands. My caretaker saw me and unhesitantly offered his wife to do the washing for me and I nicely declined the offer. I said, "I can handle this myself, thank you," I washed tons of clothes including 2 sets of beddings. After I was through hanging the clothes, I was overly exhausted.
Going back to my mom, I wrote an eulogy for her which was read by my niece, Tintin, on my behalf because, sadly, I was not able to attend to her funeral...same scenario with my father 17 years ago. It was a hard decision but I had no other choice. I know my mom would understand my situation.
Here is the Eulogy:
We consider ourselves to be one of the luckiest families to be given the chance to spend quite a lenghty time with our mother. Those times were full of memories. There is nothing else we could have asked for. She lived a long life and that is quite an achievement.
Though, it is extremely hard to lose a mother who was so dear to our hearts, yet our good memories with her are more than enough to compensate for the sadness. I am sure that mother does not want us to weep for her, but for us to be strong and to get on with our lives.
She was an incredible woman. Surprisingly enough, I saw myself in her. When my husband and I recently visited her last May, she spent a couple of days with us in our Puraran hut together with our relatives. I wanted her to experience life in a modern house even if it was just for a short time. On one of our conversations, Glo, (her caretaker then) made random comments to mama, "may, kapandok mo daw si B, lalo na pag gaguro ka." I wasn't sure if those were the exact words but that was the essence of what she said. Mama, as always, gave a sly smile, huyom huyom kung baga. She certainly looked good while staying with us in Puraran.
On one of our lunch sessions in Puraran, I noticed my mom's appetite was unsually huge! So, being straightforward and funny as I can be, I could not contain myself and I said jokingly, "mama, daog mo daw ako sa kaonan, hamak pang rice iyan na nakaon mo!" She didn't say a word and continued to finish her meal.
Two days later, she went back to her own abode. My Puraran hut must not have been to her liking, as she couldn't manuever on her own. You see, even though she was physically disabled, she tried her best to be independent. Where she lived, she found a way to hop on her wheelchair from her bed so she could snoop around and see what was going on around the house. Now, I know where I got my nosiness.
She definitely loved all her children and grandchildren. She made sure that all her children were situated and with a home to settle in. When one of her grandsons required special glasses for his rare eye problem, she did the best she could to relay the message to me at O's place by having V push her on her wheelchair all the way over. I noticed that she was at her best when faced with adversities and hardships. At those times, nothing could stop her.
She was a hardworking mother and a survivor. At a young age, she had taught me every task imaginable, from mangamunti, mag talok, mag tanom ning kamunti, to fishing in the swamp. Mother liked to pull tricks on me, as well. During one of our trips to the swamp, I tried to have a feel of the bottom of the water in an attempt to find holes where fish or crabs may be hiding. Little did I know, she went from behind me and felt my bottom, which scared the heck out of me. Ang hona ko some ugly creatures invaded my private zone. She laughed hard, of course, and had preserved those memories for kicks and giggles.
I was amazed at how well she was able to maintain her sanity and speech in a clear fashion until her last breath. Being the only person with authority, she was able to convey to her nieces and great nieces to settle their differences and to reconcile with one another. Truly, she epitomized the woman whose love extended far beyond her children.
Much as I want to be with her today, God knows how much I tried as I almost booked round trip ticket but I am sure she understands the financial dilemma that I am facing right now. And I had her permission.
Mother, together with your amerikanang granddaughters, S and A, and my husband S, we love you. I know Jehovah will welcome you in heaven with open arms. May your soul rest in peace.