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Monday, February 24, 2014
I AM not a true-blooded Christian. Yes, I do believe that there is one true God and I believe in angels and saints just like what is mentioned in the Apostle’s Creed. However, you cannot call me as “devout” as I used to be.
Back in elementary until high school, I went to an exclusive school for girls run by the RVM congregation. I remembered that I was most “prayerful.” I can recall the recitation of the Holy Rosary every October, the Marian processions during dawn and celebrating the feast of saints with a mass since our sections were named after the saints.
This practice continued when I reached college but this time with the influence of the Jesuits. I also recalled hearing mass every Wednesdays, Sundays and first Fridays of the month. But all of this died out when I got so busy with my previous jobs. I was too immersed with my research job and my travels during that time and eventually, the drive to fulfill my spiritual obligations just stopped.
It was only when my mother died last month that I realized how important it is to reflect my spirituality and my relationship with God, as a whole. I have dealt with grief and losses of loved ones like when my grandmother and titos (both with my mother’s side) died.
But nothing beats the sadness and emptiness that I felt when I lost my mother. It is not because I am the eldest, nor the fact that I personally attended my mother when she was still in the hospital until she lost her last breath. It is simply because a mother’s love or should I say a mother’s loss is beyond compare.
Mitch Albom, popular author of For One More Day once said that, “There's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother's story because hers is where yours begin.”
I will always have fond memories of her even when I was still in my early years. How I remembered her presence every recognition day because she was always the one who pinned my medals and of course, kept them in her cabinet. My mother was a career woman and I have always appreciated her noontime visits with me at school. She always had something for me. My favorite chocolate cake from Mother Avery’s bakeshop or my favorite bake siopao from Persimmon’s. I got rewards when I got high grades or when I was in the honor’s list. They ranged from Nancy Drew pocketbooks, bags or my favorite shoes.
This went on until high school and college except that it was my turn to visit her in the office. I treasured our short lunch dates at Jo’s Chicken Inato during paydays and when the budget is tight, I simply closed my eyes and took short naps with her in the office. Of course, with me on her swivel chair and with the lights turned off.
This became more memorable when I entered into a relationship until such time when I became a mother myself. She was my guidance counselor and my confidante during my 10-year relationship with my boyfriend until he became my husband.
If there’s one thing that I am most thankful of, it is when she took time to be with my kids especially when my husband and I travel. She was always there to “volunteer,” to go dining out with my kids and even in attending school activities. She was the typical “stage grandmother,” who always insisted that my kid should have new clothes and shoes to wear during major school activities.
Her sudden loss was very painful to me. Firstly, our family (from my father’s side) is a close-knit one and it was still in 1970 when a family member died. He was my grandfather and it was only after 44 years that another member died, my mother. But the most painful of it all was being with her – hearing her cry of pain and seeing the agony in her eyes.
As much as I wanted to ease her pain, but I couldn’t. I left it in the hands of the medical team. But I was sure that my words of comfort such as the promise to look after my siblings and my father probably lightened her up even with her eyes closed.
My mourning may take some time and I am not sure when it’s going to stop. I would probably just be used to feeling the pain. But one thing is for sure my faith in God was somehow renewed. This sudden shift has taken place mainly because of significant life experiences, which is in my case, death of a loved one.
I am now very open and positive with the idea of death or life after death, in general. And now that my mother is about to reach her 40th day, I only wish for one thing – that may my mother watch over me and be my guardian angel until we see each other in the next lifetime.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 24, 2014.