There are still instances when I refuse to accept that my mother died not so long ago. Was it three or four years ago? I can barely remember. I never keep tabs of such dates. I can't even recall how she died. All I know is I was not by her bedside when it happened. I was sleeping, exhausted of the trip back home from Hong Kong, when my brother called me early in the morning to tell me the news.
That year, she knew that she was gravely sick but tried her best to keep it from us. She never complained, though. She was always happy and bubbly. I know that she was always delighted to see me whenever I went home to visit her in the province. The first time that she was rushed to the ER, my aunts told me that she wanted me to visit her. And I did. I took a leave from work and went to the hospital right away.
The following days got worse. Simple headaches made her sleepless every night. Soon, she requested that she be confined in Manila. That's when we knew it was serious because she never complained. Nor did she ever wanted to be confined in a hospital because she said it was too expensive.
We brought her to St. Luke's and the doctor diagnosed her with a swelling in the brain. Nothing serious, our father assured us, and soon she was back to the province while I flew to Berlin for an official assignment.
It was during my absence that her health turned for the worse. But I didn't knew hence two days after I arrived from Berlin, I flew to Hong Kong to cover the opening of Disneyland. I didn't see the fireworks on the last day because that was when I had to rush back to Manila to see my mother at the ICU.
I can still remember how she looked: she was all skin and bones; she had dark circles under her eyes, her cheekbones stuck out like fishbone, lips were dry and chapped. She was too weak to acknowledge me when I entered the room. She just kept staring at me, mumbling under the oxygen mask.
I was told that she had stage 4 breast cancer. God! Wasn't it only a month ago when she started complaining of painful headaches? And now the disease had spread to her lungs and bones!
Maybe you can call me a worthless, uncaring, callous, selfish daughter because that same day, I went home to catch up on sleep and told my brother that I'll be back the next morning to take care of her. I was so exhausted. Unfortunately, there was no next morning. She passed away a few hours after I left. I was too shocked to cry. I was angry at myself. I felt guilty. I blamed myself for leaving her in the hospital. It's still painful until now and I know that the pain won't go away...ever.
I just wished we still had her today. I miss her so much.
Why do Filipinos have mirrors on their desks?
3 years ago