When my mother was diagnosed with seizure disorder last 2013, that was the very first time I needed to confront the existence of death. It is tangible, moving, existing, lurking in every corner and waiting for its next victim. Now, it chills me when I think of how close it came to claiming my mother’s life. Had it succeeded, I might have lost my greatest love.
Every day since then, I have resolved to do my best to cherish every waking moment that I have with my mother. Every day, I am trying my hardest to reciprocate her love, although they can never be equal, since hers is greater. Every day, we, her children, recognize the fact that we are blessed enough to have been given a second chance — perhaps even truckloads of chances —to spend more time with her.
I am grateful for that.
You see, I am a Papa’s girl. I grew up tagged as my father’s daughter. From my looks to my actions, I was always proudly imitating my father. I was never my mother’s daughter. She was way gentler, way more loving and more caring compared to me, who grew up messy, clumsy and boyish. I thought back then that I could never be her.
I used to climb trees and sit atop branches while eating my favorite snacks, and then sometimes fall from the tree and end up with scratches — but would still climb again. I used to ride a bike. Among us six children, I was the first to learn how to ride a bike at the age of 7. I used to run near the shore until my lungs would feel like bursting from exhaustion. I played with equally messy children and picked fights with some of them, never caring if they were older or bigger, or if they were boys.
I got lost a couple of times in the city while roaming around and discovering new places; I went home late in the afternoon bearing excuses. I used to cut classes, flunk grades, lie. Yet, through all these, my mother put up with me. And I wasn’t the only one of her six children that she had to put up with. It is possible that the lists of deeds and misdeeds of my siblings are way longer than mine, yet our mother wholeheartedly endured everything.
Indeed, great is a mother’s heart, and great is her love.
Stories of this great love are undying. Myths, legends and stories all have testified to the greatness of a mother’s love, from the Biblical tale of King Solomon’s judgment, to the famous scene depicted in Pieta, to countless ordinary anecdotes showing how this love is universal, pure and beautiful.
I am blessed enough to have experienced such kind of love. And every day, I feel a lot more blessed than the previous day, knowing that it has not been too late for us to appreciate our mother’s love.
I remember when we were first informed that my mother’s seizure disorder was incurable, that bouts of it could only be lessened through medication. We were devastated, and most of us felt regretful; we thought it was too late for us to make amends for all of our mistakes. My mother’s seizures came very suddenly. There were times we thought they were getting worse, and there were times we were made to believe they were finally going away for good. Every time my mother had an attack, I always felt as if I was suspended in an abyss, not knowing whether I would fall or not.
We continue to somehow regret that we failed early on to recognize the signs and symptoms of her creeping disorder, but now, we’ve learned to take precautions and preventive measures so as not to trigger an attack in her. We are also intently trying to be better people every day—for her own good and for us as well. We are grabbing every opportunity to relearn and live by the good values we grew up learning from her.
I can never be a perfect daughter, and yes, my mother may never have a perfect child among her children. But her love for us is the greatest, and that is enough.
Death may be a reality, but much more so is life. And wherever life is present, there is the biggest opportunity to love and be loved in return. How blessed we are that the great giver of life bestowed His creations a selfless giver of love—our own mothers.
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Bem Ardales, 28, is a NGO worker.
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