Mom, I remember you having a mile-long list of things you wanted to realize but could not wait to hang your teacher’s baton to pursue them. You made plans to enjoy life, to breathe and live the world whenever time permitted. You were looking forward to retirement and could not wait.
Your dream was to travel the world, visit countries and see your girls whenever you felt like it, and for as long as you pleased. The plan was for you and Dad to do it the way retirees usually do.
You yearned to jump on board a big cruise liner, sport kaki shorts and Hawaii shirts, sunglasses, designer hat and cruise the world; hop on a plane and land in the nearest town, chronicle your latest adventures, take and share your many photos with us. You dreamed it all and were on track to do just that but it was not to be. The Almighty had a different script and your wishes were diverted, thrown off course.
Your husband first earthquake – he came down with not one but two and three strokes – came like a full force hurricane. It brushed his wits and for the avid reader that he has always been, it was an unintended prescription tantamount to a death sentence. The illness has been progressively eating up his brain and his physical and emotional behavior for a while now; never mind how long but it has been a while.
Locked blindly like a prisoner, it has battered your body but it has not taken an ounce of your energy or soul; and like one good warrior, you have soldiered on, catching the bus or taxi, whatever means of transportation to the hospital everyday, sometimes twice a day to visit your husband, to spoon feed your guy, your soul mate, your man.
Through it all, you tirelessly became his eyes and ears; his translator, his nurse, his companion in chief. You, the once delicate invulnerable flour in my Dad’s eye, metamorphosed into one-woman machine who (un)selfishly and meticulously lives by her very script of “God had other plans for me and I have accepted”, and no one dares say a word because you refuse to hear it.
You just commemorated your 50th wedding anniversary last week and, as expected, you were at the forefront of the magic that it was. I looked forward to seeing you strolling down the aisle, flooded by your loved ones, hand in hand with your unselfishness, and his bashfulness and hearing the priest pronounce you “husband and wife” once again, but it was not to be.
You hoped to haul him up on his wheelchair and wheel him to the church. I recall you wanting to celebrate a deux, fearful that he would not have any recollection or get too fidgety to even grace the event. Instead, the priest came to your house, an altar was erected and “millions” of your friends came to rejoice and toast you. I am jealous!
You have not talked about touring the world lately and I don’t believe you have stopped dreaming, nor accepted the fate that has been delineated for you either. Perhaps, beneath the seemingly stalwart veil, there is a glimpse of hope that you, one day, will be able to be that famous tourist you once longed for after all.
Your devotion to him, your irreplaceable love, transcend imagination. It is beyond belief. Yours is a bond that I will neither be able to mimic nor replicate but observe and be proud of.
Mom, I can vehemently utter that I will never be you; I will never be like you; I will not even pretend to be you, but your daughter I shall always be. You are one of a kind! Thank you for being my Mom.
Happy Mother’s Day!