Grateful thoughts on my 18th Mother’s Day

For years, I haven’t been able to properly celebrate Mother’s Day. Even after I’ve had so many children with my husband. Deep down, it will always seem incomplete because the reason for the first time I became a mother is never here with me on this supposedly very special day. 

I remember how I celebrated my very first Mother’s Day – so many, many, many years ago – confined to bed because of a pregnancy complication. Three weeks later, I was rushed to the hospital with excessive bleeding due to placenta previa. I was only in my 28th week. 

As I was lying there in the maternity ward (they didn’t think I would be delivering any time soon), the entire hospital cot soaked in red, I was more concerned for the life of the baby than anything else. That, and the fact that I had promised this bundle of joy to a sweet couple who had been waiting to have a child for ten years. 

By some miracle, the baby and I survived. A C-section was carried out – following only a nod of my head as consent before they pushed me into the OT – to save both our lives.

Not a day has gone by when I do not think of this baby, now almost a young adult, whom I had to give up because I was too young to provide all his needs. 
I am deeply grieved that I couldn’t nurse him to make up for the ten more weeks he was supposed to stay in my womb for his growth. They told me I shouldn’t form a bond with him. 

I am deeply grieved that I couldn’t hold him so he could be comforted by the familiar sound of my heartbeat, which he had been listening to for the past 28 weeks. But instead, he was left to cry alone in the strange and frightening incubator for a month, again, because of that bond they were afraid I would have with him before he was given to his adoptive parents. 

I am deeply grieved that I was not able to watch him take his first step, say his first word, and make his first friends. 
But I am thankful that I was able to bless that couple with the very thing that they had yearned to have for such a long time, to complete their family. When I first met them, I knew they would be able to give him the life that I couldn’t even give to myself. 

This Mother’s Day, I am especially grateful for the man with whom I’ve been blessed with eight beautiful children (and four who will always be in our memories even though they never made it). I couldn’t ask for a more loving and caring husband who is just as loving and caring to our children. This Mother’s Day is dedicate to him for his acceptance of my past, for being my pillar of strength every day, and for being my best friend and partner in this parenting business. Without him, I would never have found the joy of motherhood after all that had happened to me years before I met him. 

And to all my children, including P, it is a privilege, a blessing, and an honour to have you in my life. I thank God for choosing me for that role of being your mother.

*Originally posted on my Facebook page on 14 May 2017.

On the night before he died…

How are you feeling? I ask.
Scared, he says.
We are silent for awhile.
It used to be always about me and never about him.
Every single day of the year, I’d tell him about me, my family, the people around me and all the issues of the world we’re living in.
It used to be always about me and never about him.
But not today.
Today, it’s all about him.
I wait for him to speak again.
From the corner of my eye, I catch one of his friends stirring in his sleep.
All of them must be really tired.
Or maybe they have no idea what he is going through.
Every once in a while, he shivers a bit.
I reckon this happens whenever the thought of what would befall him the next day crosses his mind.
He knows – for a long time, now – what is going to happen to him.
He tried to tell his friends, but they refused to believe him.
Or maybe they believed in him too much to think anything horrible could ever happen to him.
I remember how my mother used to sing me to sleep, he says, a small smile on his face.
I could never sleep until I heard her sing her favourite song.
And he starts to sing the lullaby he used to listen to.
He stops, however, after the second line as he finds himself choking back the tears.
At this moment, I sense his fear is more for his mother rather than himself.
What son wouldn’t feel a little worried knowing that he would be leaving his mother alone soon… for a very long time?
And then, he tells me about his father who died some years back.
About how, when he was still a little boy, he would wait every day for his father to return home after a few days’ journey of getting wood for carpentry.
The minute he saw his father a distance away from the house, he would run to meet him.
He recalled how, when he tripped and fell to the ground, his father would immediately come down from his colt and run towards him to pick him up and make sure he was alright.
Again, he keeps silent after that, probably thinking about more memories of his parents and him together.
John…, he suddenly speaks again.
He was the closest thing to me after my parents.
I only heard about him before I saw him at the river.
And when I got to know him personally, I knew exactly why my Father chose him to go ahead of me.
He was an amazing man, brother and friend, righteous and true.
He goes on to talk about the Twelve: the thunderous voice, the fearful one, the one who always tries really hard to please him, the doubtful one, the quiet one, the stubborn one, the one who never fails to bring life to the party and the money bag.
They are all his friends whom he considers family.
They are all very dear to him.
As clueless as most of them are at the moment, he has already commissioned them to his Father and the Third Person.
He doesn’t want to lose any of them but he also knows that they are of this world.
Do you know why I come to this world? he asks.
Of course, I say No.
Not only do I suspect that I’m not too sure of the answer, I also want him to continue talking to me.
I needed to be a part of this world.
I needed to be a part of the human community.
To know the human mind.
To know the human emotions.
To know the human pain.
So that you will believe, not just in me as my divine self but also in me as my human self.
That I know exactly what it’s like to be you.
That I know exactly what it’s like to be of the flesh.
That I know exactly what it’s like to live in this world and experience joy, sorrow, contentment and hardship.
So that you will not feel alone whenever you experience any of these.
So that you will always know that I know… and that I will always be by your side.
Because I’ve personally walked on the face of this earth and experienced all that any human would.
I sometimes feel I may not be ready to leave just yet.
That there’s something I have not done.
But my time here is up.
And the Third Person is ready to take my place.
When I go, I will be able to do so much more… not just here, but throughout the whole world.
Sitting beside this man in this very cold night and hearing him say all those words breaks my heart.
Here is this Almighty Person, stripped off of his divine self on the last night of his life on earth, totally human, worried for his mother and his friends, hurt that he is going to be betrayed by a dear brother and drenched with his human emotions that he is going to suffer torturous pain and death before the day is done.
Take this cup from me, Father, he exclaims with tears and sweat of blood flowing from his face.
I watch him, so human, not how I had come to know him.
Today, he is just a man who happens to know that after living in this world for 33 years, he only has a few hours before he leaves all the memories behind.
And those few hours are certainly not going to be memorable ones.
It used to be always about me and never about him.
But not today.
Today, it’s all about him.
And yet, he is dealing with today because of me.
Because of us.
Because of the whole world.
After a time of silent pleading, he finally says,
Not my will, Father, but yours.
And then, comes the traitor…