It's been one year already since our beloved mom passed away which was a result of organ complications brought by her diabetes that she has been sustaining for over a decade. I wrote this piece of memoir almost eleven months ago while waiting for my flight from Cebu to Manila. I wanted to keep this piece secret in my laptop but recently, I decided to share it in my blog in time for mama's first death anniversary.
It was an ordinary day in Cebu. I did not feel any complaint from my usually clattered pad so I did the usual routine of putting myself to bed after a long day at work. As I brought myself to sleep, I had a sudden gaze at my phone which was lying near my books on a corner of my pad. Not the usual thing but I checked my almost forgotten gadget which I seldom bring when I head to the office for work. My phone’s look was enticing on that day, so I checked for messages. A couple of messages were left unread so I decided to check what’s up with the world. It was my sister. I needed to go home for the weekend as Mama was rushed to the hospital.
I thought, that was not new because Mama has always been in the hospital lately due to a couple of health complications brought by her diabetes which she has been sustaining for over a decade already. The last time I was with her in the hospital, she has been so weak although she stayed positive. She was occupying a bayside private room in a hospital in Bohol which she would always mess about because she thought it was somebody’s home or she was in a hotel. I would usually end up kidding or even bragging just to take away her worries on the hospital bills. Such confinement led to the amputation of her only foot but the good thing was recovery became brighter after the operation. In fact, she has been telling us that she already wanted to go home as air is fresher there. After almost a month of stay in the hospital, she was eventually sent home for further recovery and I stayed positive on that. On the day I went back to Cebu for work, I told her that I am going to see her the following month and I was emphatic when I said that she should be better during that time. We had a deal!
Knowing Mama, I knew she could make herself better that’s why I did not worry that much when I learned that she was rushed back to the hospital. I thought, things just needed to get better and it was good for her to stay in the hospital again for further medication. However, I was wrong with my foresight. I was so devastated to see Mama helplessly and unconsciously fighting with the doctors who were trying to insert tubes in her mouth. I wished I could take her place and seize all the pain she was experiencing at that moment. I stood up in her front clueless of what I wanted to do. Should I hug her? Should I kiss her? Should I tell her how much I love her? No words and actions ensued – only tears which started to flow down my cheeks. I wanted to stay positive but I could not be optimistic watching such a dreadful situation of Mama.
Then I talked to her. She would not respond but I knew she was listening – Mama was a very good listener. She used to stay late listening to my absurd plans and ideas. Even if she could no longer relate sometimes, she would still listen. Such thought made me feel better. I continued to talk to her and took her back to what we agreed on before I left for Cebu for work. She tried to grasp my hand and held me tightly. She tried to move her legs showing that she did her best to be better. Then I and my siblings started to recall fond memories which compelled Mama to speak but she could not utter any word. She only tried to open her eyes to let us know that she was listening.
After few hours, we needed to bring her to the radiology department for brain scan. I was on her side telling her that things should get better and assuring her that we will do our very best to bring her out from such agony. She opened her eyes again and gazed at me. Tears started to flow from her aging eyes. I knew she wanted to tell something. That was the last time I saw her eyes open.
The following days were emotionally challenging. Mama could no longer respond. She could not feel any pain. She could not move any part of her body. The only hint that life still went on for Mama were the figures shown in the machine attached in some parts of her body. Without those machines, we would not have any clue that life was still good for her. Doctors and nurses visited from time to time to tell us the real situation – it was almost hopeless. I drew some positive impulses from my brain and tried to convince myself that hope has never left us. I wanted to tell those medical practitioners that they were wide of the mark. Everyone was telling me to let Mama go as that was the only way her suffering could be ended yet I could not. Even though I tried, words would never come out from my mouth but tears would flow instead. The pain was almost unbearable seeing Mama in such a situation. That time, I was in the verge of believing that I was only waiting for the moment that those figures in the machines attached to her body would tell me that Mama could no longer be with us – FOREVER.
The following morning, I had a heart to heart talk with Mama’s doctor. I was telling her what kind of fighter Mama was. I was asking him if they could still pull things off and do something to save Mama. I got a positive response from him. He talked to all of us. He assured us that a specialist would come in few minutes to discuss the options left. However, Mama could no longer wait. She stopped breathing before further medical options could be discussed. I thought that was not fair but I had to accept the reality no matter how hard it sucked. Doctors tried to save the last few breaths of Mama but they no longer could. During those last moments, I could not say anything but the word “MAMA” – the very word I first learned to utter when I was still a young boy cuddled in her arms and probably the last word she heard from me. January 31, 2012 is a day that will always be engraved in my heart for it was the very day I lost an endearing mother who knew no other good but my and my siblings’ own good.
That same word I continued to utter on the day of her funeral. MAMA sounds so endearing to me. Even if I could no longer hear any response from her when I call her with such a sweet name she taught me to speak, it is still relieving to appreciate that I had and will ever have someone I could call Mama. I always presume no response but I know that Mama is still with us because she lives in our heart.