No matter how old you are, when your parents are gone, you are an orphan . That was the immediate thought I had when I first faced the reality that mum is gone and no more with me on that fateful morning on Thursday 7 May 2015. I last saw her on Sunday 3 May and held her hands to pray to the Divine Mercy at 3pm. As I prayed for the forgiveness of her sins and for hurts that she might have left unsettled, I felt that she was troubled. Her eyes were closed and her brows were furrowed in agony. I was not sure if it was her physical discomfort or a spiritual discomfort. I would attribute it to the latter. I had an unpleasant dream that evening and felt uneasy. I saw a group of shadows, people holding cards walking away and seemingly chanting some stuff. Shortly, unknowing to all of us, the Lord called her back to his heavenly home a few days later in her sleep.
My mum was a simple woman, woman of few words. I did not have much communications with her in the later few years of her life as I was too focussed on my dad and was trying to have a good reconciliation with him. There were many unresolved hurts and unsettled wishes; I had helped dad to close those chapters. I must definitely thank my mentor Andrew who has taught me ways to reconcile with dad. Mum was left alone in the background during this time. As I write this , I was wondering whether I could have spoken to her more when she was lucid and resolved more issues. I had many issues with mum when I was younger. I was aware keenly that her thoughts and her ways were very different from mine. Hers was one of timeliness and things should remain unchanged, un moved, untouched, undisturbed and untroubled. There should be order and discipline in life and chaos is frowned upon. She was fiercely patriotic and loyal to the government of the day.
Mr LKY in particular was her favourite person and a perpetual virtual guest in our home and on the day of his passing and funeral, we watched the entire funeral procession in Tiong Bahru. That day I felt she was alive again after so long since my dad had passed on. She was mostly silent that afternoon but I could feel a palpable emotional spirit from her when I held her hands.
My dad passed away last year and now my mum, so I am technically and truly an orphan. I thought of all the celebrity and fictitious orphans like JRR Tolkien, Steve Jobs, Oliver Twist or Harry Porter. These were orphans when they were very young. But I have been blessed to have a set of good parents for more nearly five decades of my life. It is a great blessing and I will always be thankful for this. It is a great blessing and with gratitude I will praise God forever for this. However flawed my parents might have been, God has chosen them for me from all eternity. They were meant for me. There were no parental guidebooks for my parents in the 60s and 70s. They had done the best they could have in their situations and circumstances for me and my siblings. I recalled they had regularly lavished me with toys and books. My mum in particular was very concerned about me when I fell ill though my memories are not strong but the feelings are still there.
I recalled on one occasion which I had pretended to be asleep when they came to the bedroom. Both of them came in to check on me and my brother and to make sure we were asleep and covered up with blankets. My mum was not a perfect woman in deeds and words but she was perfect in love. No mothers are born with a guidebook to love but all mothers are guided to love with God’s book of love. In her perfectly imperfect self, she demonstrated through , her timeliness , her beauty and her self-reliance, what a great mother she was. She lived 73 great and fulfilling years on this earth and may she be rewarded with eternal life with Jesus in the heavenly realm. Father Andrew aptly said that for non believers, it is birth , life and death but for us Christians, it is birth, life and Eternal Life.
Mum’s opinions and views may not be congruent with mine in many areas especially her view of community and self reliance but I have grown to accept her for who she was in her later years. When I was younger , I was fiercely trying to be different from her and had vowed never be like her but God has shown me that there are things I definitely can learn from my mum that no one can teach me. When I was young especially in my teenage years, I always felt some animosity that I could not choose my parents but consoled that I could choose my friends instead. In reality, now on hindsight and with a little wisdom, I could not have chosen either. God has already placed everyone and everything in my path. and in the fullness of time , God even has revealed my true identity , that of a child of God, to me. Whoever I needed and whatever I needed, God has provided in His time. and in my moment of grief, God even sent a secular quotation to comfort me knowing that I will respond and be comforted by an intellectual consolation ; “Everything changed the day I figure out there was exactly enough time to do the important things in our lives” . All things have been ordered and prepared for us and all God need is our Amen.
I would like to end by quoting Holy Scriptures from John 14:18 :”I will not leave you orphans . I will come to you” . Happy Mothers’ Day, mum ! You are now reunited with dad in heaven and I know you will continue to watch over all of us from where you are now and continue to check on us as we sleep and ensure we have our blankets over us every night. Thank you for being my mum for all these years.