Luab: Returning favors with love and grace-A A +A
Saturday, September 14, 2013
I WAS privy to a mother’s tears when she approached me last Monday for fare money back to a barrio around 144 kilometers south of Cebu.
I met her several years back. At that time she took care of two grandchildren sired by one of our employees. She was much younger then. Every time she and her grandchildren would come to the city, she would visit her daughter and I found her company pleasant.
She was so cheerful then.
Today she is 80 years old and sick. She was diagnosed with a lung problem. It seems one of her daughters living in the city took charge of bringing her over for admission to a hospital and paid for her medicines until she was allowed to leave the hospital on condition that her medication be continued.
This woman has three children here in the city. She stayed with one of them while all three contributed to her well-being. One night, however, she heard the three squabbling over her expenses and two even complained that their mom had become a burden. The following day, she came to me for help. Her words were, "Og tigulang na ta, ug waa nay silbi, pas-anonon na man diay ta. Pauli na lang ko."
I felt her pain and immediately called the daughter to come over and pick up her mother. The mother, however, insisted on going home. The best compromise I could make with her was to let her daughter accompany her home and for the daughter to arrange for her mother to get the free medicines from the barangay clinic.
It took me quite a while to return to my routine chores after the woman left. This was the first case of “mother hurt,” which came to my attention because people from the rural areas are so mindful of their parents.
Actually, I also understand the problem of the other two sisters who complained because finances can be very tight here in the city.
Perhaps we should always take into consideration that we should not complain within the hearing of the person we are helping.
Mothers are very sensitive in their old age. When my mother suffered from cancer of the tongue, she was quite mobile and she only grew weak during the three months before her death.
Whenever we would fuss around her, she would shoo us away saying, “I’m okay. I can still do things.” My mom refused to have a caregiver and when she died, all three of us—my dad, my sister and I—felt that we could have done more to take better care of her.
As they say, regret or remorse always appears on hindsight.
I’m sure there are many widows and widowers living independently because we don’t want to inconvenience our children nor do we want to be in their way. Some of us are blessed that we can afford to do so. Others who are not so lucky have to adjust to being a dependent.
One close friend of mine was talking about the high dollar rate compared to our Philippine peso. When I asked why she was worried, she answered, “I have to send my son dollars because he is now an apprentice in the Middle East. His allowance isn’t enough.” I understood her concern but another friend of ours could not resist saying, “Aren’t we supposed to be the one on the receiving end?”
My friend with the dollars answered, “I’ve never asked my children for money before and I don’t intend to do so now.”
While there are some of us who can afford to live in comfort, there are others who cannot. Children who are working abroad make it a point to send home a monthly allowance for their parents. However, some recipients complain of statements like, “Ayaw og iwaldas, Pa, ha. Kapoy baya itrabaho dri!” or “Mama, bug-at ra ni sa akong budget. Hinay-hinaya lang ni og gasto!”
One father’s pain got reflected in his comment: “While they were growing up, I never made them feel that they were terribly indebted to me. I wish I could return the money but I can’t.”
Parents eventually grow old, grow sick and run out of money. For those who are financially assisting in the family coffers, maybe it would be good to remember that parents come from a different breed. They gave whole-heartedly while we were growing up. The least we can do today is to refrain from complaining within hearing distance of our parents. Our parents were very busy individuals when we were growing up. Without their efforts, we wouldn’t be where we are today. If we can now return the favor, let us do so with love and grace.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2013.