Hindi pa man ako nag-uumpisa pero naiiyak nako… (I haven’t started yet but I’m already crying…)
It’s been exactly one month today when she took her last breathe and left us. It’s been 3 years since we found out that my mother has a Stage 4 breast cancer and while we tried our best to convince her to get treated, she refused. I remember crying out of frustration because of her maddening stubbornness. I mean, there are people who wanted to be treated but don’t have the means and there she was, refusing all the meds and procedures. We just wanted to give the best possible care because she’s our nanay.
But of course, the children caved in – she won that round. We gave her what she wanted because we don’t want to stress her out. After all, she badly needs the happy hormones. All we can do is keep mum about the huge, fuchsia pink elephant in the room and move along as if it’s business as usual. She continued to be cranky & moody. She still tried to do her usual chores but as days pass by, she’s getting weaker and weaker. And I know that she knows but she’s just afraid to face it. We know she’s scared, but she never admits it.
Paano mo sasagutin ang magulang mong nagmamakaawang alisan na siya ng buhay?
Matiisin kasi siya… At hanggang sa huli, kami pa rin ang inaalala…She didn’t want to be hospitalised because she doesn’t want us to spend a huge amount of money for her hospital bills & medicines. And that made us cry… Because even after all the pain and difficulties, kapakanan pa rin namin ang nasa isip niya.
We know her days were numbered and all we can do is be her loving genies – as in her wishes are our commands. We make sure to give her the best, kahit pa minsan there were arguments, but we let it pass. Every special occasion is spent well because, on the back of our minds, it might be the last time.
SI ALING MINA…
My nanay is far from being the perfect mother, I mean, there’s no such thing to begin with! But she’s one of a kind.
Hindi siya tapos ng pag-aaral; certified nagger, madalas insensitive, laging may pintas sa amin (but little did we know that she’s proud of us din pala when she’s with her friends) and she’s got a set of tough rules that you have to live with and most of all, she hates her shortcomings in life to a point that na ikinahihiya niya ang sarili niya to even go out with us.
But despite those things, there was never a day that I told myself na sana hindi ko na lang siya nanay. I was never ashamed of her imperfections.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of, really. Why would I be embarrassed by a woman who took all the beatings from life just to give us a good life? NEVER. Instead, I’m thankful that I was raised by a strong woman, who, once in her life fell in love, became a wife & a mother; and raised a family in the best way she knew how. Sa awa ng Diyos, wala namang delinkwente sa amin.
Her ONE wish…
Sa lahat nang hiniling niya, 2 lang ang hindi namin nagawa and one of that was her wish to die earlier.
I tried giving her all that she wanted except that. Paano mo sasagutin ang magulang mong nagmamakaawang alisan na siya ng buhay dahil hirap na hirap na siya? At first, you’ll try to manage her and there were days when you had to look away because you don’t want her to see you cry. Minsan, we turn it to a joke to make the situation lighter and make her laugh but we know it’s never a laughing matter. And we seriously attempted to fulfill that request TWICE but failed. At humingi kami ng pasensya sa kanya kasi we know she’s in pain and she’s suffering pero we can’t do anything about it.
Then one night, while I was tucking her in, she held my arm and told me…
Anak, sana huling gabi ko na’to… Sana hindi na’ko magising bukas.
And at that moment, while trying to hold back the huge lump on my throat & tears, I told her to just continue praying and if she will go, pray that it’ll be a peaceful one.
I felt my world dimmed when nanay left us. There’s different kind of sadness that I’m feeling right now and I’m out of words to even describe it. All I can say is malungkot ako. Ang lungkot-lungkot ko…It’s like there’s this huge, invisible hole in my heart that nothing and no one can fill in.
WILL YOU EVER BE READY?
As a family, we keep saying and telling people that we’re ready. We are so ready that we have everything arranged up to the last detail. Funeral arrangements, chapel, funeral dress – we got it covered. Our emotional pains, MANAGED. Ready na nga eh, ‘di ba.
But no one is ever ready. No matter how you condition or prepare yourself, you will never be JUST OKAY when you’re mother dies.
I was never a momma’s girl nor we have a sweet family to begin with. We never say “I love you” or “I miss you” to each other. We’re not the hearts-and-flowers kind of people. But even if that’s the case, I felt my world dimmed when nanay left us. There’s different kind of sadness that I’m feeling right now and I’m out of words to even describe it. All I can say is malungkot ako. Ang lungkot-lungkot ko…It’s like there’s this huge, invisible hole in my heart that nothing and no one can fill in.
Now, I believe that those who laugh the hardest are the saddest people.
AND SO THIS IS THE PART WHERE WE GRIEVE
Suddenly, I got no appetite for everything. Sa umaga, I try to go back to my usual routine; even watch sitcoms and laugh as loud as I can. But when midnight comes, when the world is asleep and quiet, I still struggle to get some sleep until it’s almost the break of dawn. Minsan naiiyak ako hanggang sa makatulog. Minsan naman, I can sleep just fine but when I wake up in the morning, I cry again bago pa man ako bumangon sa kama.
I cry a lot these days – I cry whenever I see her photos or remember her, I can’t help it. Ito na ata yung sinasabi nilang grieving period.
I cry in the shower;
while folding clothes;
while watching TV.
I cry because I know she’s really happy now but the place she left will never be the same. Her first birthday na wala sa bahay..our home on Christmas & New Year’s Day. The first Mother’s Day without a mother. I’m somewhat dreading for these days to come because I know, I’m gonna shed tears on our firsts without her. Wala na akong susurpesahin pag-uwi at wala na ang paborito kong abutan ng hongbao.
And even tho I want to cry it all out kahit pa sumakit ang ulo at umasim ang panga ko until I got no tears left but it looks like it’s gonna be a long way before I get there.
I don’t expect people to get a grasp of my current state because no one can really understand it unless it happens to you. Of course, we appreciate the understanding but I also know that they can only tolerate so much of our sadness. People will listen to your ramblings & sentiments up to a certain point but you see, this phase, it’s not something that you can just brush away. It’s not a light switch that we can just turn on and off. It lingers for as long as it can until we reach that level of ACCEPTANCE. And I realise that this phase is something that I need to face alone. Also, it’s okay to not be okay. I am not okay but I’m thriving.
PARA KAY NANAY
Nanay is not the biggest fan of tattoos (my tattoos to be exact) but I did it anyway because it’s my way of commemorating her. Para sa akin, this is not a sad piece, but a celebratory one. I chose this cherry blossom because, in the Japanese culture, Sakura /Cherry blossom is a symbol of life & to honour a lost loved one. This Sakura is like her – beautiful, delicate & meaningful. Every time I look at it, I can’t help but smile and remember her. This will also be a reminder that life is beautiful but short. So we have to be present and live it to the fullest.
Just like the effect of the full moon to a wolf, I’ll never look at this date the same way again. Every 27th will be my full moon – but mine will be dawned with sadness and a pinch in my heart for my mother.
Dati, mag-away man kami or magkatampuhan, alam kong magkakabati rin kami soon. Alam kong hindi niya matitiis, kakausapin din ako at ipagluluto ng masarap na pagkain. Aayusin ang gamit ko kahit ang dami-dami niya lagi sinasabi at sinesermon on how I should live my life. Oh, I hated those moments and how many times I wished na tantanan niya ako kahit minsan lang. Nakakamiss rin ang sermon (minsan lang) because I know that it’s her way of showing she cares a lot. But now all of those things are no longer there. Wala ng sermon, wala ng dakdak, wala na rin si nanay.
I never tell you I love you but I do. I love you with all my heart and now my heart aches a lot these days because I miss you.
Life will go on but a life without a mother will never be the same again.
But don’t worry ‘nay, we’ll do our best to live a good life, just the way you want us to be. Thank you for everything and for dedicating your life to us. We’ll never forget everything that you taught us. Malungkot pero makakarating din kami sa araw na matatanggap namin lahat. We know you’re finally free and happy so just be and we can manage from here.
Ang iyong nagmamahal na anak,