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Thursday, 2 May 2013

When everybody's celebrating Mother's Day...

Mother's Day is coming.  It's on the radio, it's on TV, it's on Facebook with all promotions for celebration.  I am jealous.  Jealous that people can bring their mothers for dining and shower gifts of appreciation. Envy my customers who brought their moms to my place for nail treats.  I never even had a chance to paint my mother's nails....

My mom worked from home as a tailor ever since I was very little.  She was a lady with few words and hardly display her affections.  She seldom spend time with us.  Most of her time, she was seated with her feet paddling on her Singer sewing machine.  Those days, electronic sewing machines were rare and expensive.  It never occurred to me she was earning a living, I thought it was her way of life.  It never occurred to me that she would be tired, I thought it was a easy job.  She had never complained, so I presumed she was enjoying her work.

My mom and me, I was about 4 years old I think
I had held it against her that why couldn't she be like other mothers who pampered their children by doing all the housework and cook every meal.  My sisters and I were made to do everything, from cooking to mopping, from laundry to ironing.  Despite of being 6 and 7 years older than my younger sisters, I was very calculative and divide housework as equally as possible.  I thought that was only fair.   I hate myself for being so nasty whenever I think back.  What's so difficult with washing a few dishes, sweeping floor or turning on the washing machine??  Why was I so calculative and immature despite of being the eldest sis?

Pic taken in 1992, it was our first overseas trip at Jakarta
As years passed by, I started to notice my mother's fatigue, but I was never sensible child, I was very spiteful. I was a very lousy daughter and a lousy sister.

You wouldn't believe it, but the person who shook me up was my son, Darren.  My son had opened my eyes when I was carrying him in my womb.   I started to realise that my mother had worked too hard all her life to bring us up.  I told myself to that I must atoned for all the wilfulness and it's time for me to appreciate what my mother had done for me.  Life was tough back then with my hubby working as the sole bread winner.  My 2nd sis was still in university, youngest sis didn't fetch a good pay either.

I could only afford to treat my mother coffee shop meals and tried do as much housework for her as possible.  I said to myself, once I gave birth to Darren, I would get back to workforce, mother would look after baby for me and I would pamper my mom with a better financial status.

After baby Darren was born, my mother took care of us.  She could hardly get a moment of rest but she was beaming with happiness.

24 Oct 1998, my mother was holding her first grandson, Darren
When Darren was about 1 month old, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  I was never with her for doctors appointments, I was never with her during chemotherapy.  Taking care of baby Darren had made me very immobile.  As her condition deteriorate, mother stayed at my place under my care.  I juggled between a baby and a cancer patient, 5 hours sleep per day was a luxury, but I wanted to do as much as I could.  After a few months of torment,  she left.   I was never able to repay her.

She passed away 3 weeks before Darren turned 1 year old.  Darren is now 15 years old.  He only knows his grandma through photos.

This was the last photo she had with Darren.   She told me she love Darren very very much and couldn't bare to leave him.  She was already bald through chemo, wearing a wig.   She left 3 weeks later after this pic was taken.
Her last wishes was me to bring up and take good care of Darren myself and not domestic helper, I obeyed her.  She told me to celebrate Darren's birthday, we did.  She told us to take care of our father, we kept our promise.

I felt myself sheltering apart when I looked at her belongings.  I could just tear in the middle of a shopping centre just because I saw a dress that she may like to wear.  Immerse pain would attack whenever I see stalls selling tu tu kuey, one of her favourite snack.  I would listen to her favourite songs, enjoyed crying till I got really exhausted when nobody's home.

I was very very torn apart, baby Darren had pull me up.  Cos' if I collapsed, I won't be able to take good care of baby which I had promised my mom.   Darren had picked up funny expressions from my mother.  Each time I looked at my son, I could see the resemblance.  Darren was my only console.

People around me, even my family members always asked why I don't like to celebrate my birthday.  I really don't know how to put it in words..........  I want to celebrate this date with the person whom brought me to this world.  Since she had left, I would just like to celebrate it by missing her, thanking her and remember her in my heart.

Missing her is part of my life.  Each time I travel, I wished I could bring her along.  Each time I do nails for customers' mothers, I wished I could do the same to my own mother.  Each joyous occasion, I wished she could be around, sharing my joy.  Each time.

If mother is still around, she's probably to put on so much weight from all the treats we can afford now.  If mother is still around, I will never make her angry, I will never let her lift a finger to wash a cup.  If time can turn back, I want to be a useful and thoughtful daughter to share her burdens.  I will do all the housework, all the cooking, everything, anything...............  everything that I wished I could had done can never be done.

After all these years, I can't help to think that she chose of leave cos' she want to give me a better life which I am having now.  If she is still around, my children will be taken care by her, and I will probably be a lowly paid office clerk with a monotonous life.  You won't be even reading this cos' this blog won't likely to exist.

She gave me life, I treasure it and I am living my life to the fullest each day, till the day I join her in heaven.  This is a painful blog post for me, there may be grammer mistakes or typing errors but I need to bring this message across to whoever is reading my blog -

I hope everyone will love and appreciate your mother.
They may not be perfect, but they love you whole-heartedly and self-lessly.

Message to God:

If you exist, please take good care of my mother in heaven.  If it's time for her to reincarnate, please give her a life without worries, a life without having to slog, a loving husband who treats her like queen and sensible children whom she will be proud of.  Let her shed only tears of joy and not sorrow.

Mother, thank you for bringing me to this world;
thank you for raising me up;
thank you for everything.
Mother, I love you.


  1. I am touched by your heartfelt post.

  2. This is really touching.. Don't worry your mum will feel your love (:

  3. Susan, you really make me cry...thanks for the reminder..I go hug my mum tonight...Love, Regina

  4. You made me cry...My mom passed away from meningioma (a kind of brain tumor) six years ago, when my youngest was just 18 months old...Like you, I have lots of regrets and wishes, things I wish I can do with her but can't anymore...

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