MY MOTHER would have been 99 come June 6 had she not passed away at the age of 86 in 2008. The title “Manang” stuck to all of us in the family, from her 7 siblings to us, her 8 children, up to the 29 grandchildren and some of the 45 great grandchildren.
Her father died early so she helped the family by working as a manicurist while in her teens in a barbershop where she met my father. Her impact on all of us in the clan was great, but I will highlight her influence on me in some particular areas.
Avid Reader. Having a large family losing her father early, my mom reached only fifth grade level. However, she was an avid reader, willing to walk several kilometers to just borrow books even in war times.
Her penmanship was also neat and nice, and she expressed herself well in writing. Until her dying day, reading books and novels was part of her daily routine, aside from daily exercise and time for prayer and Bible reading. I was really close to my mom, and all these aspects became true for me as well.
Hardworking Homemaker. My grandmother and mother were hands-on in ensuring that our home with our large family were running smoothly even with a helper or two. My grandmother did the cooking and disciplining (she was strict, even with my 5 brothers!).
My mom hand washed clothes, did marketing, always cleaned and kept things in order in the house and in our closets. I do not remember chores being assigned to us because of school, although some of us pitched in. Having experienced hard times growing up, my mother shopped in bargain centers like Baclaran and Divisoria.
When life was more relaxed for her, she took care of grandchildren and a great grandchild who lived in our home for a time. I learned to sacrifice and take care of my own family as I grew up seeing what she did with us.
Music Lover. My mom loved playing classical music all day, so I learned to appreciate and love classical music too. Johann Strauss became a favorite. When I had the chance to accompany her on a Europe tour a relative gifted her, the Strauss concerts we attended in Vienna were an unforgettable dream-come-true experience for us.
My mother was religious, going to different churches four times during the week. Although my motive was to get out of the house, yet going with her instilled in me a desire to be close to God. God granted our desires when I came to know Him personally in 1971 and she in 1977.
The Sunday morning she committed her life to Christ as her personal Savior and Lord, she was so relieved to know that her sins were forgiven. She was so hungry to know God’s word after that, she started memorizing Scriptures and attended all kinds of Bible classes. From such a worrier, she learned to trust and pray.
I saw her forgive others and ask forgiveness from one she has greatly wronged. I saw her change from a shy, quiet person to become an aggressive witness for the Lord. She became an inspiration and an encouragement to many, esp. to her team of young professionals and students when, even in her ’70s, she volunteered weekly to help them plant a church in Antipolo and later on in Alabang. She stuck it out with them until a congregation and a building were established.
I am glad God allowed me to have her as my mother on this side of life, and also to be with her in His presence for all eternity. Manang, thank you so much for a well-lived life and for the heritage you have passed on to me and to my children and grandchildren! I love you so much!
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