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Mom

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. But the truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.

My mom has always been there for me. Even at her busiest while I was growing up. Until now that I’m fully grown with a family & kids of my own. It’s easy taking her for granted because I know she’s just there. That whenever I need her, all I need to do is call on her & she’ll be right by my side, making things better, as she always does.

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Just a mere couple of days before her stroke. We try to take her out to eat & walk around the mall for a change of scenery when time permits.

My mom didn’t have an easy life raising 2 kids on her own. I remember when I was around 10 or so. My mom got fed up with my dad’s infidelity & promiscuous ways so she packed up & we left for the states. She had a flourishing career & business here but she must’ve snapped. The next thing I know we were on a plane. A woman carrying so many luggages with 2 young kids in tow who couldn’t even help. A mother & her 2 young children off to an uncertain future. And yet, I was assured that everything will be alright, simply because my mom was there.

My kind uncle -her brother, who was based in New York, pitied us & took us in. For a year, my mom struggled reviewing for her medical licensure exam to practice Obstetrics abroad while my brother & I tried to fit in & adapt. She saw an opportunity in California so we moved & stayed there for another year until my dad suffered a stroke, leaving him paralyzed.

Being a christian wife, she decided to uproot us once again, come back home & attend to my dad in spite of all the heartaches & headaches he had given her. Through her deeds I learned loyalty, commitment, and dedication. Upon his death, she settled all the debts & kept the businesses afloat. She took over all his businesses & put everything in order and at the same time being a full-time mom to us 24/7 -never neglecting her duties to us even for a moment. Through her actions I learned strength. Amazingly strong, resilient woman, my mom is. She is my hero. My awe & respect for her grew even more.

Even now -up until her stroke, she provided heavily for all our needs. Not just materially & financially, but more importantly emotionally, spiritually, mentally. Whenever I have a problem, all I need to do is tell her & she would hold my hand & pray with me and for me. That has always been her answer to all of life’s mysteries. Prayer.

My mom is so selfless. She doesn’t oblige us to visit her. She’s happy when we’re there, she understands when we cannot. She doesn’t impose. I have asked her time & again to stay with us in our home. But she wisely imparted it is not good for a family to have a meddling mother-in-law around.

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Mom at her pad. The girls decided to spruce it up a bit with a puny christmas tree.

Sometimes my heart would bleed knowing here we are, eating up a bounty & my mom would eat what is just readily available in her kitchen. No fuss. Or when there is a storm & we are safely ensconced in our warm cocoon surrounded by family while my mom is all alone in her home.

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Blessed that my MIL shows so much love & care to my mom. They are practically BFFs.

It took this massive stroke for me to wake up & see her, really SEE her. An 84 year old frail woman who simply can no longer live on her own but is way too loving & way too considerate to impose. My world crumbled when I thought I was going to lose this important person who has been the one constant figure in my life.

All her life she has toiled & troubled. It is now time for her to enjoy the fruits of her labor & it is my duty to make sure that she does. Sometimes, what we say & what we mean are 2 different things. She may be saying one thing but from now on, I will listen to her heart & not her words. Who doesn’t want to be loved & pampered? Who doesn’t want to be cherished?

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As I sat in the hospital day by day watching my mom, I can’t help but feel a deep sadness. It pains me to see my mom this way. Before the stroke, my mom was an active head of her own companies. She was able to make wise decisions as President & Chairman of the board. She would do her usual rounds & interact freely with her employees. Once a week she would do her groceries & take these to her grandchildren. She would spend time with them & go home after dinner. Once a week she would walk to her church & attend prayer service, have fellowhsip with her cell group, and participate in praise & worship. Once a week at least, we would go to the mall. She would walk around with me to window shop & we would talk about anything under the sun as we enjoy a hearty lunch. Her mind was very clear for her age of 84. We would talk about my many plans & we would dream of visiting places together. In an instant, her quality of life diminished. Now, her memory fails her. She is easily agitated & fearful. She doesn’t want to eat as her taste buds have been altered resulting from the stroke. She has numerous infections brought about by the catheter as she cannot pass urine & stool on her own. She cannot comprehend like before & is oftentimes confused. She cannot walk or move around unassisted by her round the clock nurses. This is what a vibrant & active lady has been reduced to. My mom is now bedridden -with bed sores & rashes, and is not even half the woman that she used to be. She was a brilliant Obstetrician, a President of her companies, a mother we could always run to, a grandmother the kids can always depend on. But I would take her any way I can. Every added day with her is a bonus that I would take with gratitude.

Seeing her lying there in the ICU, I asked God to give me some more time with my mom to make up for my shortcomings. I’ve been so much of a wife & mother that I conveniently forgot & neglected to be a daughter. God willing, I want us to travel, see and experience new things together while we still can, while there is still time for me to be with her. She has been so busy all her life that she didn’t get the chance to see the world. I don’t want it to be too late, this is my second chance to do right by her. I want her to eat good food & never want for anything. I want her to feel safe & loved with someone taking care of her instead of the other way around. She’s been taking care of so many people all her life. It’s time she is on the receiving end.

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Many thanks to your prayers & well wishes, my mom was discharged the other day after our 2-week stay.

Through these difficult times, people have been asking me “What do you need? What you want?” Thank you. For now, with what I already have at the moment, I just need my mom. I just want my mom. <3

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Now, she is finally where she belongs. With me. <3

 

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