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The Day My Mama Started to Become a Memory...

I can still clearly remember this day, 14th September 2008. I remember my Mama was in the door of my room looking at me.

The phone rang. I heard my cousin Ate Mating on the other end crying, she did not say anything. She just said to board the plane as soon as I can.

The image of my Mama at my door was just a dream.

The day before that day, Ate Mating called me and told me to board the next plane to Surigao City. My Mama has been in the hospital for over a week. She said she didn't know if she was going to stay longer. I did not have any cash, so she sent me money that same night. And that's why I woke up early so I can buy the first ticket when I get to the airport.

I rode a bus going to Manila. I told our Singles Ministry leader that I cannot make it to deliver a talk as I need to go to the hospital to see my Mama. I was supposed to talk about "Loving God".

On the bus, as I would usually do every morning, I sent group messages to our Singles Ministry. I recall sending Bible verses and told everyone to greet one of our sisters in Christ as it was her birthday.

As the bus drove off, I was praying my Mama was okay, and I would pray for her and be at her side. I was confident that if I prayed for her, she would make it.

I arrived at the airport around 7 or 8 o'clock.The line was long. There were no flights to Surigao City, so the next best flight was one going to Butuan City. I got my ticket. I was about to check-in my baggage, when another cousin of mine, Ate Khrisna called. She asked me where I was, what I was doing. There were, I think, two people ahead of me, before my turn to check-in my baggage. Then she told me, my Mama was gone.

Time stood still.

I froze.

I cried.

And the ladies in the check-in baggage were teary eyed as well.

I could not cry a loud cry, but I could not contain the emotions. I was alone and leaned over at one of the check-in counters.

I didn't believe it.

I didn't want to.

It was still a long wait. I was reading the books of Job and Ecclesiastes to comfort myself. I would cry and stop for a few minutes then I would cry again. It was tiring. I also informed everyone of the saddest news of my life. My Mama will never be with me physically.

I boarded the plane feeling lightheaded and arrived in Butuan about lunch time. It has been 7 years since I saw my cousin, Ate Nila, who fetched me in the airport. It was awkward. I know she didn't know if she was going to hug me or console me. We went to eat lunch. I didn't want to eat. Then, she told me we had to choose my Mama's burial dress. I didn't know what to say. I was in denial.

I said, "No".

I don't think the tears stopped that entire time with her. I was even receiving texts from people asking me if my Mama has passed and I just didn't know how to answer. The phone was ringing incessantly.

Finally, my cousin was able to choose a cream native dress for Mama.

I still couldn't believe it.

Then, that was it, I was closer to my Mama as we rode the bus to Surigao. I couldn't recall if it was a 3 or 5 hour ride but it was very long. I didn't want to believe until I really see my Mama.

We arrived at the funeral home. It was real. All my relatives were there, and I couldn't help but bawl like a baby. I immediately went inside and saw my Mama's lifeless body. She didn't look sick at all. Her face was still soft and tender. I could still recall her long curved lashes as she seemed to just be asleep, and her full red lips looked healthy. I hugged her and asked her why she left me.

But she didn't answer. She didn't wake up. She was really gone.

I then kissed her in the forehead to say my final goodbye. I couldn't even believe it was real.

The next days were just the worst. I didn't leave my Mama's casket and would just cry and cry and cry. Loved ones were calling me to ask how I am. Though I was literally alone, I never felt that being next to my Mama's casket.

It was when she was laid to her final resting place that I broke down again. I wanted to go with her. I couldn't believe she was gone. I am a total orphan.

In the next few days, months, and up until this day, I still have a lot of regrets.

I never kissed Mama enough.

I wasn't there on her last birthday.

I am not sure if I was ever a good daughter.

But her love for me will live on.

A love my children will miss as they never met her.

But I am strong and will be strong even if I can't be with her because she was my stronghold.

And I can make up for the love I missed to give Mama, by loving my children.

When I learned about the book "I love you forever" by Robert Munsch, I knew that spoke of a Mama's love for her child. I regret I was not able to be with my Mama during her last days and that I wasn't able to take care of her, that she couldn't be in the biggest events of my life right now.

But I have this in my heart and I know this will always be true.

That I will always be her baby.

That her love for me lives on.

And that her love will live in me as long as I am living.

As the years passed, I would randomly meet someone who knew my Mama. That she was a kind teacher. That she loved me most than anything. That she was a great friend. That she was a loving person.

I will never forget the lessons she taught me.

"Don't give up on anything good, lest giving up will become your habit."

"It's okay to fail, atleast you tried."

"Be friendly and smile."

"Don't eat too much, because one day, you might find yourself fat no matter how less you eat" - You see my Mama was wise 😄

I will never forget our moments together.

Her bringing me everywhere and introducing me to our relatives and her friends every summer.

Her kissing me on the cheek as I would leave for Manila when I was working there in a call center.

Our dates.

Every moment with her.

She is the most loving and hardworking Mama. She had this pride to stand up for what you believe in and push for what is right.

But she cave in when I was born.

She dedicated her life in raising me.

She loved me more than she loved herself.

And all of these are just memories.

And I wish we could've made more memories if she was still alive.

Her being with me during my wedding.

Her being with me the day my daughter was born.

Her being with me when I was in pain losing an unborn baby in the hospital two years ago.

Her assisting me as I am going through a high-risk pregnancy and spoiling me with everything I want.

I still think "what if" and wishing she was here with me.

Today, as I write this blog. I want to remind everyone who has a Mama to love theirs before it's too late. Nobody else can love you more than your Mama. And the sad fact is, their life is too short, and they will just become a memory.

I will never be as great as my Mama but I am living the dream she always wanted: to be an office worker and a full time wife and mom. I know she is still praying for me. And that is why I am living her dream.

To anyone, who knows my Mama, I want to thank you for loving her and giving her the best memories. I hope I could someday meet all of you just as how my Mama always want to connect with her relatives and friends. I would be happy to hear stories about her.

For now, all I can do is to work hard to be a good wife and a loving mother.

Mama, please don't worry about your baby.

I am doing well.

I am taking care of myself so I can be with your grandchildren for longer.

25 years with you was never enough, but  I know, one day, we will see each other in heaven.

Your memory is never forgotten.

I love you forever, and forever, your baby, I will always be. 💓

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