Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Neri: Memories of Mom


MOTHERS and daughters have a special bond. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I asked five ladies to share their fondest memories of their departed Moms.

Lucy Franco Garcia said that her mother, Mercedes Barte Franco, was a full-time housewife who was always there for her husband, five daughters and one son. What she remembers most was how her mother had emphasized that one should devote time to the family. She also taught them to appreciate the value of education. Among Lucy’s fondest memories was the family vacation in Los Angeles, California. It was a dream trip for everyone but what stands out in her mind was when Papa and Mama somehow “got lost” in Disneyland. After some moments of panic, she found them enjoying one of the rides that Mama wanted to try. Yes, Mama Merced was full of surprises! She died at the age of 101.

Anjanette Perez Olan smiles when she recalls what a fun person Mama Tusing (Fructuosa Jovellanos Perez) was. It was easy for her to find things to laugh about, and that included herself. Jenjen recalls her Mama telling her and her two siblings that “it’s okay to make mistakes because nobody is perfect. The important thing is to try again and keep on going.” She added that self acceptance is the key to self-confidence because “you won’t be able to laugh at yourself without first accepting who you are.” And this is one important lesson Jenjen learned from her Mama which has come in handy all these years. Tusing died at 75 of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Stephanie Tiro Sitoy still grieves for Mom Norma Arroyo Tiro who passed on three months ago at 76. An only child, Steffi calls her relationship with Mom “fun and drama.” She was a disciplinarian and quite strict but she was also very loving and protective. Steffi idolized her Mom who, she said, was a devoted housewife, a doting mother, a fastidious homemaker, an expert cook, a dedicated gardener and more. Like all mothers and daughters they’ve had their differences but she has always known that her mother only wanted the best for her. Mom’s repeated advice that she has taken to heart was... “always pray.” When she looks back at the fun and drama in their lives, her heart swells with gratitude.

Menchit Martinez has beautiful memories of her Mom, Ada Trinidad Martinez. As the only girl in a family of three, Menchit shared how she and her Mom were always together, enjoying each other’s company in the mundane happenings of everyday life. She proudly recalled how her Mom (an excellent cook) would come up with innovative meals for the family on special occasions. One of the things her Mom ingrained in her was the importance of family, of sticking together. One other lesson she imparted to her children was to be unfazed by setbacks and obstacles because these are opportunities for growth. Ada was one gracious lady who died of leukemia at 56.

Arlene Adarna Mangubat thinks of her mother Leah Albino Adarna as one of her greatest teachers. “She taught me to save, save, save because nobody knows what the future holds.” True enough, in the present pandemic, her words of wisdom have taken on a special meaning for Arlene. She is thankful she listened to her because businesses are now at a standstill, hers included. Living modestly is another advice Leah impressed upon her four children. She was simple and a bit shy but funny in her own way. The Temple of Leah up Busay Hills is a monument in her honor; A tribute to an unassuming woman lovingly called Nanay by her children. She died of cancer at 69.


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