One of the hardest things about this pandemic is not being able to visit my mom. The last time we were together was in August for her birthday. We only have our daily phone calls to hear each other’s voice and catch up on. Unfortunately, there is no one at home who has offered to do video calls which would enable mom and me to see each other. The numbers are still high, it’s still too risky to pay her a visit but perhaps a drive by or a very quick visit should be in order real soon.
Over the last 30 days, I’ve taking time to look at photos from the last four years, the ones I still have on my phone, as a way of looking back on my life. I always get reflective on my birth month. I’ve finally reached 2019. I’m so grateful that I have many photos of mom and me, and mom and the children at our home in QC, or dining out somewhere. Going out and talking to people has always given mom great joy. Mom has always been very sociable. Greenhills was always her happy place.
Nowadays, she talks about visiting Cebu and returning home to where her life began. She knows that in Cebu she has a lot of family. My prayer now is for her to be strong the way she is now, so that she can visit Cebu next year when the world will be safe once more.
Yesterday, when the stories about her came out on the online sites of major media organizations. I got a lot of messages from her old friends and colleagues. Many of them she still remembers quite well. I wrote that story and agreed to be interviewed by Mario Dumaual, who is a friend, because I was thinking that our story might help other families also going through the same journey. I did not write it so that I could elicit sympathy or pity. That’s the last thing I would have wanted for myself, and for my mom. I also write to remember every part of this journey. The good days, and the not so good ones.
The other day I asked my mom when my birthday was and she said that she couldn’t remember. Though my heart sank a bit when I realized she could no longer remember the date, I decided to take it in stride and tell myself how this is part of the condition, and that it was par for the course. Then she said, “Oh baka nakalimutan mo ako ha.” In my head I was thinking, how can a child ever forget their parent? So I asked, “Mom, Ano niyo ako?” And without missing a beat, she said, “Anak!”
Thank you for still remembering. It’s true, the heart never forgets.