Mama has always dedicated her life to what motherhood she’s come to know. She has submitted herself to a somewhat dominant and sometimes twisted husband, my father.
Don’t get me wrong. I love them both. I used to think when I was a kid that I loved my father more. When I grew up, I wanted to be with my mom more. Not because of any bias, but because I love to talk to her about anything under the sun. When ate passed away, I became a stranger to my family. Apart from I was physically far, I distanced myself because I felt like I had a lot on my plate. And finding ate in Mama (which is a little ironic), gave me comfort.
Mama understands things like most mothers do, without their children telling them about it. Sometimes I think that she’s just my eldest sister and not my mother, because she would have child-like cravings, too. Like sundaes and hany.
I have always been against her decision to go to a faraway place to serve the people. At her age, in her early 50’s, I felt like she was best suited to serve here in the city. I questioned the sanity of this move. I cried. I got mad. I rationalized with her. In the end, when she said that all her life (she got pregnant and married at age 19) she had not made a single decision for herself, I finally threw in the towel.
To get married or not, to have more kids after ate or nor, to work or not, to stay at home or now, the list is endless. And when she said that, it broke my heart.
How could I even stop someone from pursuing something she’s always wanted to do, after depriving herself of it for 30 years? Yes, she was married to my father for 30 years until it all crumbled apart 3 years ago.
Now that she’s away, no matter how much she’d dissuade me from worrying, I can’t help but feel anxious all the time.
I’m like a parent looking out for his child. Has she eaten? Does she have roof above her head, does she feel cold when it rains?
Rain? Speaking of.
When I heard that a super typhoon is going to hit her area, I was worried sick about her. We do not have constant communication. One call per month is “often”. Once in 2 months is “normal”. Now, I hear news. Her area mentioned a gazillion times in twitter, the news, and pretty much everywhere.
But I don’t know how she is. I don’t know WHERE she is.
One time before she left, I asked her. Why would you want to subject us to the same pain and grief we experienced a decade ago?
She stares at me and says that my pain is nothing compared to the pain of the masses. My stress is a welcome treat to the struggles of the oppressed. She would lecture me on end, just like my sister did, when she was still alive.
Needless to say, I am scared to lose her, after the family lost Beng. The pain was the worst feeling in the world. The coping-difficult beyond words.
But then again, I get the same response from her, from what I got from Beng 12 or 13 years ago. Dito sya masaya. This is what makes her happy. This is a noble cause. This is how she wants to serve the people.
Mama, I guess at this point all I would want is for you to be safe. We want you to witness the graduation, wedding, and probably the motherhood of your youngest. We want you to witness the graduation, wedding and success of your 2 older “sons”.
I could have not said it a lot of times, but I know that as a mother, despite my loss for words, you know that I love you.
I love you, Mama.
Come back home standing and in one piece.