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Honoring my Mother | Still here

Today is the 12th year of my mother’s passing, and since that dark time, a lot has already happened around us. At the family’s mothership, all the children who used to run around the compound have all grown, with some already having a few of their own. Being that ever-doting grannie, I am sure that she would have loved to see the clan’s latest editions of great grand children and her tiny great-great.

The landscape of Davao, her favorite arena, too had changed; its people and goings-on which she loved to write about, have all evolved, with new faces, dynamic migrants, and created that distinct melting pot which is Davao. New blood, old blood, in a metropolis constantly shifting, like our windup moving-picture and kaleidoscope toys of old.

Alas for me, except for family, other matters in the ‘now’ might as well be of another time, or another world, as they matter little. In some ways, the construct we call time seemed to have paused, and left me idling deep inside. I actually heard this from mom herself, during one time we had talked about the death of one older brother. “You never stop grieving for someone you love.”

At this turn, like her, I believe that some people are never really gone. In the course of everyday, I can still imagine hearing her voice, approving at the good choices, and then, crispy sharp at the dodgy ones, with a frown to boot. Others have shared this sentiment too, and that could be one of the whys many miss her also.

Among her last words to me, though I had not known it then, were, ‘don’t work so hard, it’s only money’, and ‘be kind’. Many months later, my final words to her had been ‘I love you’. By phone. At her deathbed. And thousands of miles away. That was just the way it was, although for a long time I wished it had not been so.

The other day, a friend, upon seeing my mom’s pic on my feed had commented, “great lady, Ikz.” I had replied that, of course, all moms were. He had answered back, “Yes, but some are really special.”

I guess that’s where her true legacy lies, on her touching so many lives. People who knew her attest that she was both fiery and tender. On one hand, you would not want to be on the receiving end of a reprimand, and as her kids, we knew that all too well. On the other, she would caress and console, as she freely gave personal advice to friends, students, office mates and family members’ acquaintances.

As such, I’m flipping the switch on this sad memory of twelve years once and for all, and celebrating her life instead. Her precious gift of being all that she was, to those who knew her is reason enough. She was after all, that dear friend, colleague, mentor, writer, and sweet mother to many.

Rest easy, momsy and thank you.

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