25 Mar 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Last week was Mother's Day in the UK I think, and some time in early April it will be Mother's Day over here in Malaysia. Not that we celebrate it as many do, both here and overseas. For me, Mother's Day should be every day. One should remember one's mum all the time and respect her, love her and cherish her. I always tell my friends this, especially when they complain about their ailing and often forgetful mothers. It's not easy I understand - we are busy working people and if we also have to look after an older person who depends a lot on us for everything, then it is hard indeed. Often at this age they are also very forgetful and can be quite demanding. I lost my mum when she was only 58 years old - an age when she should be happy with her grandchildren growing up and her own children all working. But that was not to be. My mum was diagnosed with acute myloid leukemia and just when we were still trying to find out what it was and how to give her enough blood for transfusions, she passed away - exactly one week after she was diagnosed. It seemed that she had the disease for more than 3 months - the fever that would not go away and the lack of appetite were indications that we thought was caused by tiredness and overwork. After her death we all realised how much we depended on her. She was the "glue" that cemented our family together, the reason for coming home to Malacca every week.

Throughout my growing up years my relationship with my mum was very ambivalent. There were times in my teen years when I felt that she was too harsh and strict with me, that I almost hated her. My dad on the other hand was always more understanding, kinder, always praising me for my academic achievements. So I always loved my dad more than my mum and had a closer relationship with him than with her. I could talk to him and joke with him - about so many things - religion, books, astrology, even love. But with my mum our talk mainly extended to what's cooking, what to cook and how to cook it.

However when I got married and moved out of the family home we became closer in a way.  I could ask her about men, about marriage life, about kids. But we seldom had time to actually talk - I was always too busy - forever having workshops that took me away for days on end. I can stil hear her asking me, "When are you coming back to malacca?" And my answer, impatiently, "I'm too busy Mak..."
Then one day she was no longer there and when you call home, there is no voice on the other end asking you how you are, how the children are... and you suddenly realise that you will never again see her... hear her ...and you wish with all your might that you could see her just once more. I would give anything, anything at all to go back to those days and live it all over again and not make the same mistakes.

So I'm telling all this so that my readers, wherever you are, will treat your mothers with the love and care that they deserve so that you will not regret what you did not do for them when they were alive.

my mother in law who was in hospital last month

I am lucky that at least I have a mother in law who loves me. When I gave birth to my children she was the one who stayed at the hospital with me. At that time my own mother was busy looking after my younger sisters so could not leave them behind to look after me. I am the eldest in a family of 14 children! So when I got married at the early age of 21, my sisters were still very young - the youngest was only 4 years old!

Today my mother in law is 82 years old. She can't walk without us helping her and is fast losing her memory too. She will ask the same questions again and again. Sometimes when she loses her things she blames everybody but herself. She calls me whenever she's lonely and asks querilously what day it is. And  I think back to my early marriage days when she was only 40 years old and so capable  that she did everything in the house -  cooked, cleaned, sewed and even accompanied my father in law to work when he was on night duty. A friend once asked me how I can look after her without complaining - and I just say " She looked after me when she was younger; now its my turn."

So Happy Mother's Day Mak. I love you in spite of everything or maybe because of everything. You were always there when I needed help with the kids and you always made sure that my favourite kuih is there when I come home to Malacca. I hope that one day I can be like you.


naida said...

Happy Mothers Day ;)
Thank you for sharing your story Kat, it is very true 'One should remember one's mum all the time and respect her, love her and cherish her'.
It sounds like you and your mother in law have a great relationship. I am close to mine as well. Today is her 74th birthday :)

naida said...

p.s. I forgot to say, Im sure your mom knows how much you love and miss her.

♥●• İzdihër •●♥ said...

Happy Mothers Day .

Gattina said...

That doesn't happen very often to have such a good relationship with a Mother in Law ! Mother's day is celebrated in May in Belgium.

Clai Estabillo said...

happy mother's day!!!

Amin said...

Hello! I absolutly agree with You!

Kat said...

Thank you everybody - yes I am so lucky to have a mother in law who loves me. I know that is not often the case so I feel lucky indeed.