(This is one of the songs I love to sing for my parents)
MOM . . .
Remember the days when your mother woke up so early and cooked your breakfast before going to school? Prepared everything for you even your school uniform, polish your shoes, pack your lunch and make sure that you are ready for your whole day challenge in school? How about accompanying you to the doctor for your check-up when you were sick, and the sleepless nights when all she thought of and prayed for is your recovery. Do you remember when your mother cooked you porridge so you won’t be empty stomach before taking your medicines, and to make sure that you feel okay she will sleep beside you on your bed to keep you warm?
This all I remember when I think of my mom and it is so heart-breaking when it’s the 20th of the month, because it is her death month. And what makes it harder for me is when it drops on a Sunday, because it is family day. I remember weeks ago, when I woke up. The house is quiet; all I can hear is the fan, our dogs and cats playing at the garage. It was a gloomy Sunday. Food is ready but everyone already left the house for their Sunday routine. I turned the television on and watched my favorite variety show then prepared my lunch. I was eating, then suddenly there were tears. I didn’t understand why I cried; I just realized that the house was empty. I was alone. I went to my mother’s altar and lit her candle.
“Ben the two of us need look no more. We both found what we were looking for…” someone was singing my childhood favorite song. “With a friend to call my own I’ll never be alone. And you my friend will see you’ve got a friend in me”. I can’t stop crying now. I remember my mom requesting me to sing that song when I was a kid. During a family gathering or every time we visit grand mom, I’ll be performing in front of my relatives because for them I am their Michael Jackson, I sing like MJ and mom would be so proud that she would hug and kiss me after. They will all be happy with the way I perform then they’ll give me reward.
“I want you to learn how to cook as early as now, so when time comes you’ll be better with what you cook, and you won’t starve to death”. She taught me how to cook when I was in elementary, it was hard at first but my mother knew some technique so I would be more interested in learning. She will let me cook my favorite Kare-Kare, Adobo and Sinigang. I never get bored with how we prepare everything, most especially with the cutting and slicing. “Hmmm… it smells good.” My mom said. It made me smile knowing that she will eat and will definitely like what I cooked.
Its laundry day and I have to help my mom separate clothes from white to de-color. I hate that day, because I don’t know how to wash clothes. All I know is, I’ll put water to the tub, then detergent, then the clothes. Then spin-dry. But my mom wanted it so clean so I have to hand wash. “OUCH! Mom, di ko po kaya e, ang pula na ng kamay ko tapos ang kati kati na.” (While showing the redness in my hands). My mom would say, “e pa’no ka matututo nyan kung puro ka arte. Kusutin mo ng tama.” That was my undergarments I was washing but I was so lazy to wash it so I’ll just pretend that I am washing it right.
It is so funny remembering those days when I tried cheating myself because I couldn’t do things right but my mom would be so patient and loving. She will still give me reward. We will still sing together. Dance Tango and Cha-Cha. Cook together. She will check my assignments and see how good I am in school. She would always say that I should always be good in school and that I should survive the worst and aim for the best.
ME . . .
I grew up living a life full of happiness with my family around, supporting me and my brothers, through good times and hard times. Nothing changed. We were raised to be thankful with everything we have in life and not to be envious of things we do not have.
“Kunin mo na yung mga gusto mong kunin, hindi ba dati mo pa hinihingi yun?” I really don’t know what she was talking about and to what she’s pertaining to. And so I asked my younger brother who’s sitting beside me if he knew something about it. It was her last 5 days, probably she’s hallucinating. But we really can’t understand her. She will say things that are so hard to understand. I would lie beside her and tell her stories on how good my younger brother is doing in school. How my eldest brother does in his work, and everything good just to make her happy. I can feel the pain she’s feeling. I can feel her loneliness, the sadness.
I would tell my grand mom to visit us very often because she doesn’t eat right. I would call my dad on the phone so he would insist my mom to take her medicines. I would contact Tita Belinda, her reflexologist so she would feel better. I would let my brothers stay with her after school and let her watch her favorite Koreanovela Endless Love: Autumn in my Heart. I would buy her Jollibee’s Palabok and pineapple juice and Mister Donut’s Twister Doughnut when she craves for it. We would record her video telling that we will send it to Wish ko lang then she will be calling us names like Dao Min Si (my elder brother), Hua Ze Lei (Me), Xi Men (younger brother), and Mei Zuo (youngest brother). My father would be singing her songs such as Be My Lady, Ikaw and Kahit Isang Saglit. Everyone was trying to make her feel light, just to ease her pain.
It is so hard to make someone happy, because you have to be happy before you can make someone else happy. Making someone smile is one of the most generous things you can do, because you are putting aside your own selfish needs and wants for a moment to make someone else feel good.
I do not know how she managed to do all the things she has done to us. We were 5 guys on his life. She’s our only Queen. She was the best. Even on her last days on earth she would say that she feels okay. She made me stronger and braver. . .
. . . I just smelled her perfume. . .
Okay mom. I’ll sleep now. I just miss you and I’m sorry I didn’t cook anything for Joshua’s birthday.
by: Ian Dherryl Alvarez Valenzuela