Friday, April 27, 2007

A mother's legacy (part 2)

(Note: This is part of a series of stories dedicated to my mother who passed away last 13 April 2000. Her birthday is on April 27th)

Bridging the distance

I will sleep early around nine in the evening. By two or three in the morning, I will wake up to answer the phone. I will be talking to my mother from overseas until early in the morning.

Thanks to technology, it was as if my mother is just in some other Philippine Island who calls me up as often as she misses me. Back in the days when having a phone inside your house was for the rich and famous, I had to contend myself to the weekly phone calls we make from a payphone around 30 minutes away from our house. In due time, I learned not to cry so much over the phone and began to talk sense to my mother. It was the only way aside from the letters that took years to arrive.

In the year 1993, about a month after my mother left, an Uncle died. Another uncle collected me with my other brother from our house and off we went to the airport to attend the wake. At that time, there was this popular advertisement about calling the States, and at 10 I thought calling my mother was that easy. For some reason, I saw the payphone at the airport as a way to talk to my mother, dialled the number without the slightest idea how to even call her. I remembered being scolded by the operator on the other line. I was so scared and did not tell anyone, I just missed my mother badly.

When I lived at a house that has their own telephone in High School we had more opportunities to talk a lot. She tried very much to be updated with everything that was going on in my life. She asked me about crushes, about things in school and my other activities. I know it wasn't the typical way of being parent to a child, but I think that was the best that she could do to at least continue to be part of our lives. In time I did understand why we just have to be phonepals, it was the best that we could have to remain a family.

I guess the hardest that my mother was faced then was to make me understand the so many issues that hounded our family that she left unexplained. Leaving me at ten, much of the problems in our family was like a haze, it was unclear and very confusing. My mother understood and really did try her best. Her answers to my questions, although hurt me a bit, was something that guided me growing up. For some reason, her stories had so much effect on me that it shaped the kind of person I am now. From the phonecalls, the letters and to the voice tapes that I was sent all of it had some kind bearing in the way I took things.

I will not wish the kind of childhood and bonding I had to be the same as that of the children I will be having. Although I do not exactly agree with my mother's decision at leaving us so that she can provide our financial needs, I know that she did everything she had to give me and my other siblings the best life she wants. Hers is an example of being undaunted by circumstances and deciding to pursue everything possible for the people that she loved. For how she was, she taught me the value of love that never ceases. A mother's love that is felt even beyond great distances. A love that will continue to endure despite of the many things in this world that will hinder such devotion. I guess that is what love is.

to be continued...

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