Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!

Mother Goodbye !

 ‘.. . moment of realisation that my mother was…’


It was a hot day. I was with my friends at a restaurant in Naga City (Philippines), cooling ourselves off with iced sago and gulaman when my father showed up looking for me. I sensed something was wrong because he was instructed not to leave the house alone because of his poor vision, unless it is an emergency. I tried to calm him down by offering him halo-halo. But there was a sense of emergency in his voice. He got a call from the hospital and the message was my mother was calling for him and his children. A friend drove us to the hospital.

My mother, who was half-conscious, looked like she was in a deep slumber, except when she tried to speak. But I heard only mumbled words that sounded like my father and my brothers’ names.

 ‘How is she doing?’ I asked a relative who was staying with her. She said my mother was all right and leaned toward my mother to whispers to her our presence. My mother nodded. It felt great to know that she was aware of our presence, even if the thought of losing her was imminent.

 My relative put on a happy face as if to say my mother is still capable of responding. She is really a fighter, she added. I guess when we are losing a loved one, we tend to deny, if not delay, the inevitable.

 I knew, however, that mother was not doing well. The doctor said so. Of course, the doctor could be mistaken. That was my prayer. But the almost two weeks now, my mother was getting weaker and weaker. Her arms were swollen from the intravenous needles. Her lips were dry that they had to be regularly moistened. Her skin was pale. Her breathing depended on the oxygen machine.

 My father could not stand what he saw. He entered the bathroom and cried.

 Two weeks before when she was conscious, I loved the way my mother interacted with her visitors. She talked to them as if everything was normal. My impression was that she did not want her visitors to feel depressed and leave with a heavy heart.

 But she did not hide her emotions. When my wife and children told her they were leaving for Manila and then off to the U.S., tears rolled down from her eyes.

 I was told that every night she prayed the rosary. Her rosary was under her pillow. Nothing unusual for a woman who had taken her Catholic religion seriously.

 It was time to say goodbye. I, too, was leaving for the U.S. I leaned closer to my mother, he hugged her, kissed her and whispered, ‘if you’re tired, let go. We’re okay.’ This was the most difficult and painful thing I ever told my mother. I told her I might not come back anymore and, with closed eyes, she nodded in approval. It was the most fleeting moments of realisation that my mother was going to die.  I could not control my emotions, but I was finally at peace.

A week after I left for the U.S., she died in the house where she lived for so many years after her retirement from the public school. It was around three o’clock in the morning, when everyone was asleep, that she took her last breath. She probably wanted to go peacefully, without her care providers feeling sorry for her or feeling panicky for the last time. And that’s what happened.

 Hundreds of people attended my mother’s funeral. As I looked around, I saw many relatives, friends, my mother’s former students and co-teachers, and acquaintances. The liturgy was beautiful. People I did not know spoke highly of my mother as a teacher, as an administrator and as a person. I was glad I came back for her burial for my final goodbye.

 From As I See It by the author published in U.S.A.