My mother is a very headstrong woman. All throughout my life I don’t think she has ever admitted that she is ever wrong. She likes things a certain way and when I was young I was under her mercy. Of course, nowadays I realize that even as old as I am now, I will be forever at her mercy simply because I love her.
Growing up, I would hear all sorts of stories from her how like hard her life has been. All the hardships she went through during the early times of her and my father’s marriage and all the things she did for us. Admittedly, my mother have a long memory and though she might forgive eventually, she definitely never forgets.
My mother is also quite strict. I have to be clean and groomed at all times. My clothes back then are always pristine even if it’s gotten old. We might be running out of money but we wouldn’t look it. I am taught to be respectful when talking especially to my elders. During high school, I have to be home before 6PM even if I have to attend group acivities for school projects. We have no phone back then so it’s my parent’s way of ensuring my safety. I even remember her always reprimanding me whem I have an unsmiling facial expression. My siblings would say that it was worse with them than with me. I have been spanked only once and it was when I was already in high school and it was because she sided with my nephew. Her first grandchild. Basically, once the grandchildren came in, she lost some focus on me. That allowed me to breathe a little. Like choose my own clothes and not bother with my hair when I go to school (not exactly a good thing, I know).
But despite all that and more, my mother gave us this brand of love unselfishly and I recognize it as such. It only means she cares. Ofcourse, I learned to avoid being reprimanded and in my family, I seem to be the only one she would listen to. I learned how to spend time with her without riling her temper. I get to tell her my opinion and mildly scold her when she is being her usual hard headed self. The times when we had some sort of argument is one of the most hated feelings ever for me. Any child would agree, the agony of having your parents disappointed or mad at you is punishment enough.
Now my mother is in a subacute facility because she had a massive stroke. She has no motor function in all her extremities and cognition is near impossible according to her neurologist. Those who attended her would talk about her condition with us and would remind us to decide already what our advanced directive would be. As a doctor myself, I fully understand the way they are thinking and acting, but if it were other people they have been explaining these things to I wonder how hopeless they would make that person feel. If I was the doctor, I would like the relatives of my patients to know that though the chances are small, it is still a chance, and whatever happens, to be ready for any eventuality be it good or bad.
Now, as with my father last year, I am with my mother to look after her. I have to travel for about 16 hours and 7,000+ miles before I can get to her. The setting does not allow relatives to stay 24/7 so I spend my mornings and afternoon with her. I am either alone or with my sister, brother-in-law, and/or nephew. We are all far away from where the rest of my family is which is the hard part. Still I am happy to be with her and take note of any improvement however small and far in between it might be.
I am thankful for relatives and friends who pray for her. Prayer for me has always been what gives me all the hope I need. I pray for what God deems good for my mother though I would throw in my hopes that she recovers and have more years with us. My mother, though not the easiest person to get along with, I will never trade for any other. She has molded me to be the strong person I am now. Though she gave us limits, she never limits the way we think. Even though she never got through high school or college, she will always know more than I do (all mothers do!). As with my father, I cannot fathom giving up. We just all have to be ready. Her chance might not be good, but she is still alive and I am willing to pray and work with that.