I tried to write yesterday. The day before yesterday. And the day before that. But none of the words fully describe what I’m going through so I stopped each time. No word comes close to describing the heartache of losing your mother.
Now I understand when they say you will never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. A strong woman raised me, it’s the only way of living that I know how, but losing mom is something that I still can’t get my heart and head to fully wrap around.
People remind me that I still have my husband, my kids, family or friends. I guess it’s hard for some people to understand that it’s not about that. It is the farthest thing from that. My husband and kids are my present, and they are my future. But my mom? She was my anchor. And when she died, I was left dangling – pretty much like being a 3 year-old again and lost in a sea of crowd, searching for that familiar pair of eyes. Only that those pair will never lock with yours ever again.
One of the hardest things that I ever had to do in my entire life was to watch my mother slowly lose control over her body. At first, it was her ability to walk, then she lost her eye sight, until she couldn’t talk anymore. Seeing this was especially hard because she was the most self-reliant, and even to this day, the strongest person I know. But cancer happened.
We were inside mom’s room – talking, laughing, and reminiscing our experiences with mom, with the bubbling sound coming from the oxygen tank regulator serving as a background to our heartfelt efforts to let mom know that we were there for her, to let her know that she was deeply loved. Despite the looming dark cloud, it was a rather beautiful day.
Unfortunately, like all other days, it had to end.
And mom closed her eyes for the last time just as the sun set behind the house.
Mom surrendered herself to the hands of her Maker, just right after my aunts and uncles left. Just when it was just the two of us left in the room.
A subtle and bittersweet reminder of a story about a mother and a child.
Just the two of us.
Mom and I.
I held her hand, holding on to our last moments together while I repeatedly told her that I love her, that everything will be okay, that I will miss her with all of my heart but that she could go. The pain pounded inside me with every word that I said because half of them were lies. And when she was finally gone, I wanted to scream and take back everything that I said.
I wont be okay without her.
I prepared myself for months for that exact moment but I realized that nothing, not a thing in this world will ever prepare you for that moment when you lose your mom.
It has been almost two months since my mother died and I have to admit, on most days, I struggle to stay afloat. Grieving is especially hard when you have your own family to take care of. You can’t allow yourself to break down and wallow in pain because more than your need to grieve are the needs of your family.
I always tell myself that life’s daily conundrum is the best antidote for a broken heart, so I plod on. But I find myself functioning on auto-pilot more and more. I go through the motions but hardly ever allowing myself to feel and think because I know that if I let the pain seep in, even through the tiniest crack, I would break down.
And breaking down is not an option when you have a job, mouths to feed, and an enormous pile of laundry waiting for you.
I just try to imagine what mom went through in her younger years. Alone at 21, pregnant with me and in an unfamiliar place. But she never gave up on me.
So nor will I.
Mom’s passing left my heart in pieces but I’m holding on to my lifelines. My faith, my husband and kids, my family in Iligan, and dear friends of mom’s and mine; they hold me up and keep me afloat.
They say that in order to heal, you have to acknowledge that you aren’t okay. What I wanna know is when does it get better.
I’m asking but I already know the answer.
There is no recovery from losing your only parent.
The void becomes a part of you.
I can only console myself with the thought that God gifted me and allowed me to love and be loved by such an amazing woman.
I miss you, mommy.
In memory of Ma. Dolores Saceda
March 28, 1958 – August 21, 2018
Your friendly motherblogger from Cebu. Healthline – Best Mom Blogs 2017, ESCooped – Cebu’s Top Family Blogger 2016, Top 10 Blogs Voice Boks Comedy Edition, Bloggys 2015 – Finalist, Family and Relationships Category, featured on BlogHer.com and HumorWriters.org. Jhanis also blogs at ThirdWorldKitchen.com.