How Can You Let Go Of Your Mother?
It's been three months since I last wrote on this blog. I have no excuse. Or perhaps I do. The last three months have been a blur. I went through an emotional roller coaster in my personal and professional life. But I guess the one thing that really demotivated me was my mother's deterioration, and eventually her passing.
I honestly do not want to use my mother's passing as an excuse for my lack of focus and determination in the last three months, but I have not completely come into terms with her passing. And with this, I mean I have not fully grieved- I think. I have not fully processed my mother's death. Believe me, she crosses my mind frequently, but somehow I always manage not to let this thought linger for long. Perhaps I remain in denial, or perhaps it's a feeling of guilt.
It was at the beginning of August when I first felt that things were changing. My mother, since she became bedridden three years ago, would call me throughout the day, and night. I would wake up in the morning to 8 missed calls, sometimes 12. I would then call her at 0500 (UK time) whilst I prepared for work. Whilst she used to answer my calls straight away, I was having to call her at least three times before she answered the phone. She would say she couldn't understand her phone as it wasn't letting her answer my call, almost arguing with the phone. Then the first thing she would ask me was, "when are you coming home?". I would reassure her that I would see her again next year, so she needed to be good. This was our conversation on most days and everytime, she would say that next year is too long a time for me to go back and see her. Perhaps she knew that she wouldn't see me again.
As days passed, I noticed that my missed calls from her were becoming infrequent. Some days, there were no missed calls at all. My instinct was telling me that something was not right. I knew it was just a matter of time, but I was hoping and praying that I could see her one more time. I was definitely not ready to let go of my mother. The thought of her dying hurt me. I would cry in silence and blame myself for not doing more for her. I felt guilty that I wasn't able to provide her with everything that she wanted when she was stronger. I started regretting all the wrong decisions that I have made in the past- one thing that I don't usually do. If only I was wiser. If only, if only.
For a month, I lived in anxiety of waking up to a phone call that my mother was gone, until that dreadful week came. On the 4th of September, my sister-in-law sent me a message asking me to call her because she was going to tell me something. But before I called her, my brother already messaged me saying that my mother was already weak. I was still hoping that she could hold on a little bit longer. That Tuesday, my sister-in-law suggested that if possible, I should let go of my mother sooner than later so she didn't have to suffer anymore. My sister-in-law was my mother's main carer and more than anyone, she knew what was best for her. I didn't want to let go. I spoke to my mother earlier that week, and although it felt like a normal conversation, I knew the time had come. I told my sister-in-law that I would not call again because I didn't want to see her suffering, and I didn't want to remeber her that way. I told her to just call me when Inang had left us.
I went to work as usual on Wednesday the 6th of September, knowing that my mother could leave us anytime. My sister-in-law was updating me regularly throughout the day. When I got home that evening, something pushed me to videocall my Inang for the last time. With a very heavy heart, I spoke to her. She was agitated, but she was able to talk to me. I asked her if she was in pain, she said no. This somehow comforted me. I asked her if she could wait for me, she said yes. I felt so helpless. Somehow, I felt guilty because I have held many patients' hands before they passed, but I couldn't hold my own mother's hand. With so much regret and a very broken heart, I told my mother (reluctantly) to go if she was already tired so she could rest, but to wait for me if she could as I was planning to go home that Saturday. I said my last I love you, and my last goodbye. My mother sadly crossed on the 7th of September around 11am, surrounded by my family. At least she died at home, one thing that she had always wanted. She didn't want to die anywhere elese but at home.
Although I knew that my mother's aneursym could rupture anytime, I was hoping and praying that I could see her again next year. But obviously, God had other plans. Losing Keith was unexplainably painful, and losing my mother reignited that pain. The pain was intensified as I now lost two of my beloved immediate family members. My mother's death came at one of the most challenging years of my life since 2013. Perhaps this is the reason why after three months, I still haven't fully grieved. I have been preoccupied by many other things that I still have not fully processed that my mother is gone. I miss her very much.I miss calling her early in the morning. Until now, my phone still reminds me to call at 0600 daily. She wasn't perfect and we had our differences, but she was my mother. I wouldn't be who and what I am today if it wasn't for her.
It comforts me knowing that she is now at peace and not in pain. I hope that somehow, she has met Keith, Daddy Henry and her parents so they can be together again. I'm sure Keith will play "Amazing Grace' on his violin when he sees Inang, and hopefully Ama Berto will join him and play his trumpet, too. She will also now be able to play "tong-its" with Daddy Henry and Ina Lapaz again.
Ah, Inang. I will always love you.