The fragility of life
My mum is now unable to do most of the activities of daily life. Today marks more than one year since she fell down at home. She spent two months in the hospital and after she left the hospital she was never the same. Her introvert self became further withdrawn from the world. She still looks youthful and her hair is a good blossom of ebony and an envy to many at her age of 71; however, beneath her visage lies the inevitable pain of suffering in silence and her inability to articulate her emotions to the world.
She is now unable to do the simplest of things that we have taken for granted. Brushing her teeth , bathing herself, and lately even feeding herself are all problematic. Being a fiercely independent lady who wakes up early in the morning to tend to the family, her habits have totally collapsed and with it her world as well. It definitely saddens me to see her state and as I am a positive minded person who wants to be near bright and cheerful people, it really makes it very hard for me to be near her. But the thought of not being near her also pains me equally the same ; after all, we cannot choose our parents, all the more , our mother. She is the earthly person that God has chosen to give life to me. Like Mother Mary, Jesus was born of an earthly vessel. When we honour the Virgin Mary, we are also honouring our mothers indirectly . By not tending to my mother’s needs, it will be highly hypocritical to continue any form of veneration of the Virgin Mary.
I do not communicate very well with her but my recent mentor Andrew has shared with me of his own personal experience about spending all his Tuesday afternoons with her during her last six months of her life together. It was the best six months of his life ! I do not know if I have this honour or grace to be able to handle this if it is my turn. My mother is an educated woman, brought up in a strict Confucius , Taoist family. Married to my Catholic father, she thus became Catholic in name but still practising strong Taoist traditions. I never got my Catholic education as the family left the church shortly after my baptism. On hindsight, there is always that shadow of blame that I have thrusted upon her and I have always asked the question of ” what if….” It was only when Andrew enlightened me that our parents are always doing the best of what they can do for their children based on their limited resources and understanding at that time, that I could relate better. Our vision is also 20-20 on hindsight ; but again it is also easier to connect the dots looking back…
Anyway, I will make more time to see her and make her more comfortable and pray for her and pray that her silent suffering now is redemptive and today I even offered up my run for her ; this year I will dedicate my marathon run for her. I will run for her this year . I will run the 42 km for a woman whom I have not known well for the last 42 years but in the recent three years have grown to love more and appreciate more of the silent sacrifices that she and my father have made all these years. I always tell Anna my wife, it does not need to be this way.. .but God knows best and God must know something which is better for all of us and I will ask Him this question about suffering when I see Him one day.
Mum, I love you and I will always say this to you while there is an opportunity when you are alive. I know God will ease your suffering and pain and channel all these to some divine and mystical purposes. I wish I can find some way to tell you this and allow you to understand this…
The fragility of life