HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA
In honor of my mom's birthday on Monday, November 11, I am sharing with you a short story I wrote for my mom. On her birthday last year, I bought a hard bound book as a gift - a collection of short stories about mothers written by their daughters. Copying the book's paper and font type and size, I made this story the first feature of the book as if it was a part of the book! My mom, especially my mom's officemates who are also mothers, loved the idea and the story.
Whenever I think of my mom, several words come to mind – prayer, faith, strength, and generosity. She has been a mother, a friend and a spiritual guide to my continuous journey of faith. So many stories showing all these things she has been to me and to so many people, whether friend or complete stranger, all compete for attention to proudly showcase to the world how remarkable a woman she is. But the freshest and most powerful memory I have of her showing her at her best was last year during her mother, my grandmother’s funeral.
Inay died on December 14, 2000, on my mom and dad’s silver wedding anniversary. I remember Mama to be very calm during the wake. No bursts of tears or hysterical cries. Maybe because she has already prepared herself months ago when we have brought Inay home upon learning from the doctors that Inay was already in the late stages of cancer. Mama wanted her home so she can personally attend to her needs. And indeed she did, day and night she served her needs.
During weekends when I go home, I’d see Mama staying up late to make sure Inay is alright as Inay would always call her name if she was in pain or needed something. I saw how Mama lost so much weight and how financially deprived she was during those months that Inay was bed ridden at home. But complain she never did, despite the fact that I know how deprived she was of her own mother’s love as a child. Until Inay’s last days, she dutifully performed her duties. She did all these as an obedient daughter and as a Christian, she would tell me. In her heart she told me, she has forgiven her mother and instead took it upon herself to be a better mother. And she has been more than a better mother, she was one of the finest mothers God has ever made.
The day of the burial, she stood at the pulpit to deliver the eulogy. After the first sentence she broke down to tears. And I can’t help but cry myself and so did the rest of the family and friends who have joined us in church. The message she gave that will forever be etched in my mind was when she said “I thank God for giving me my mother and the chance to serve Him through my mother.”
That moment I saw myself years from now, hopefully several decades from now, in the exact place where my mother stood. Questions raced through my mind, coupled with fear and anxiety at such a painful thought. Will I ever at least equal my mother’s strength and her faith that has made her weather all of life’s storms? Can I be such a shining example of a remarkable daughter, sister, mother and wife she has been to us? And will I ever live a life as pleasing to God as she has been living hers? She is such a woman of great faith and courage that living up to her example will be a great feat to accomplish or at least equal.
PRAY . . .that was the first thing she taught me and I know that first lesson will help me do a fine job in honor of her. But more than all the stories she has told me and all of life’s lessons she has imparted on me through the years, one thing I will always be proud to say is that Mama has taught me to pray first more than anything else. ABCs and 123s came later after I have at least mastered The Lord’s Prayer. And because of that first lesson she has taught me, I know I will manage to stand up strong through life’s trials and at least live a life similar to her.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA . . .WE LOVE YOU!
Maria Lourdes Ann S. Cruz
November 11, 2001
See you next Wednesday!