Today I am going to write about my mom. Yes, I know, Mother’s Day went by last week. So? It doesn’t mean I can’t pay tribute whenever I want to a person who brought me into this world. Every day is Mother’s Day to me!
On the afternoon of April 30, mom slipped and fell as she was emerging from the washroom. She had a nasty knock on the head, which caused her to bleed profusely, and the fall led to a fractured upper femur.
Mom is 80, and petite — just 4 feet 11.
By the time I rushed to the Sarawak General Hospital, she had been attended to by emergency unit medics. My sister had earlier summoned an ambulance which arrived promptly to pick her up at home.
After she had her head wounds washed and bandaged, and the fractured leg X-rayed, she was wheeled to the orthopaedic ward. Doctors said her leg had to be operated on as soon as possible as complications arising from a fractured femur could be quite serious — even life threatening — especially because of her age.
Poor mom was in constant pain and she had to be given morphine to ease her pain.
On May 7, eight days after the unfortunate accident, we were informed mom would have to undergo surgery. I signed the consent papers and the operation was performed around 9am. It lasted three hours plus.
While I was accompanying mom by her side as she was being wheeled back to the orthopaedic ward, I could see she was in tremendous pain. It pained me to see her in that condition. I cried silently.
I guess this is the biggest crisis of her life. Despite her age, she was an active woman who never seemed to stay in one place — always doing things that would easily put younger persons to shame.
As my two sisters and I took turns to keep vigil by her side, it gave me the opportunity to reminisce on time with mom during my younger days in our hometown in Sibu where I spent much of my life.
I will spend the rest of the column talking about the first and main woman in my life.
Mom is a unique person; no other woman can take her place in my life. She taught her four children to always think of others first. She is a strong believer of karma. Her philosophy: think of others and do good to them and the same will return to you!
I remember an old vegetable farmer who passed our government quarters every morning plying his trade — often exhausted carrying two huge baskets of farm produce — for several years, in the early 60s.
Mom invited the apek (old man) to stop over at our house for a cup of homebrewed coffee daily. The appreciative old man would leave some vegetables despite protests from mom, who believes in not expecting anything in return.
Mom shares a strong connection with all the siblings with whom my dad failed to establish that type of understanding with. Even if it was a trivial issue, we all ran to mom.
We only ran to dad for money, simply because mom was a very thrifty woman. It was very difficult to get her to give us 50 cents a week. Back then the currency was dollars and cents. Dad was generous when it comes to money. But he always ended up getting an earful from mom who felt we should not be “spoilt”.
Mom is also extremely forgiving; her level of forgiveness is unmatchable. We shared every wrongdoing with her, knowing well that we would be forgiven over and over again.
One incident I will never forget was when I forgot to lock my dad’s new Raleigh bicycle when I went to get some kerosene from the nearby Sungei Bakong market (in Sibu). Because of my carelessness, someone stole the bicycle. When I walked back home, news reached dad that I had lost his prized cycle.
There he was waiting to give me a tight slap and I was already peeing in my pants. But mom stood between him and me and stopped him from giving me a good hiding. That was mom. Thank you, thank you, mom!
Mom is the gem of my life. I like the way she deals with and tackles any problem. No one else can be a better problem solver than mom. I can tell you this, her way of handling any problem is magical. Simply put, have mom no fear!
And there was one funny incident which will forever be etched in my life. I think I was in primary six then when I was involved in a fight with the neighbourhood bullies. I was surrounded by six big guys.
That’s it, I thought I was finished. But no, there was mom, my heroine! She rushed out of the house with my dad’s parang ilang.
No sooner the bullies saw her rushing to my rescue, than they ran helter-skelter. That’s mom — brave despite her pint size.
I have inherited many of mom’s qualities — hard work, humility, simplicity, tolerance, forgiveness and farsightedness. These values are the strong foundation of my life.
However, there’s one difference between mom and I in that I have zero level of patience and this is my drawback. I pray I still have time to inherit mom’s patience.
And I end with a prayer to the Almighty for mom to recover fast and get back on her feet.