A Door Closes Quite Nicely

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She was one tough cookie. We were raised never to buckle to a challenge.

“Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly.” – Sarah Malin


It cannot really get any easier. It’s like a door creaking and closing – with finality.

You know its coming but then you can’t possibly get yourself prepared for the pain and sadness so deep.

I just arrived from Dhaka when my sister Nanette told me my mom was not good. She had a bad fall from her bed and was in pain. Though, she was not complaining, we know she was. We know her, she won’t complain.

After taking a brief rest, I traveled four hours from Davao City to Koronadal to visit her in the hospital where she was confined. I can sense my sister’s unusual fretfulness but I tried to take it with calm. I was still tired and it won’t be any good if I panic.

I already had that strange feeling.

As soon as I got picked up from the bus terminal, my son told me she was gone. My mom’s gone. Can you imagine being told that? Well, it did not really stick at first. The reality of it was still so unreal. It was numbing – like getting a slow shot of anesthesia.

This is the kind of acceptance without any other choice. There is that sense that this goodbye is forever and there is no way you can turn it around. None.

For a long time my mom has been professing she was ready. Every time we asked her, she would say she was bored and wants to rest. We do not take her seriously. We know she was serious but it was difficult to just agree with her.

Her last holiday in Sarangani with my father's family.

The guy at the hospital joked (quite respectfully, though) that, “The only person in the world named Circumcision is gone.” I can’t quite argue with him. Have you ever known anyone named like her?

After the eulogies, the comforting words and the 10-day vigil – she was laid to rest. There were sidelights in her passing – but she was able to leave with her brand of serenity. There was calm and peace when she joined my father.

She is one lucky woman. Smiles lighted up that one Saturday morning on August 25, 2012. Fr. David Ong, OP was delightfully blunt with his sermon. It was a not-so-usual one but I know my mom was smiling in agreement.

We were done with all the tears and we sent her off with a lot of cheer. Most of the moments were happy ones.

Oh, well, there were times when you can hardly hold the grief. But then we clearly know she wanted us to be happy. It is tough but I guess we have to give it to her. we keep trying.

I take my hat off, Mom!


All my life I have been hungry to fill in the blanks, clinging eagerly to every photo or story or scrap of paper that would tell me more of the man who gave me life.” – President Bill Clinton from his book My Life on his father who died in a car accident.

We sent her off with joy because we know that is what she wanted.

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2 thoughts on “A Door Closes Quite Nicely

  1. Im pretty sure ur mom was a remarkable woman simply by knowing u ate ces. I love the stories u’ve shared about her. Im soaking in the quirkiness of my own parents now that im home with him- taking in everything – the funny and the irritable- in stride and with much humor. Thanks to ur stories, i have learned to appreciate these times with them at their age, remisniscing what our life was bfore when they were raising us kids. One exciting thing is, i will be giving tribute to my mom on her retirement! That’s an honor any child should be excited about, dba? 🙂

    • All moms are remarkable (has to be sweeping to include myself) and superhumans to survive the angst and challenges of their children. No PhDs can match the responsibility so prepare to give your mom the highest order of Medal of Valor ever! Prepare for a towel when you do the tribute – and I guess its fine to do it without a tinge of embarrassment. She would say she doesn’t like tears but actually deep inside she does … hehehe. You should and must be excited, and you’re one lucky woman she is still around to listen – so just be generous to the max!

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