A Letter To Mum

Dearest Ma,
Time flies. It has been two months today since you left. Today is a rather special day because there is a convergence of many significant events. Today marks the ninth week of your passing on. Today is the fifteenth of the Chinese Lunar eighth month, which is the Mid-Autumn Festival. While many will be appreciating the beauty of today?s full moon, I will be looking skywards too, hoping to catch a glimpse of you up there in Heaven.

On festivals like these, I think of you a lot and miss you even more. We used to spend times like these together, just the two of us, and celebrated it in our own special ways. Now, I have to go through it alone. It is just not the same anymore. Today is also the second anniversary of the September 11 tragedy in New York. I remember how sad you were when you heard of the news two years ago.

After you left, I realised that I still have much that I have yet to share with you. I know it was as painful for you as it was for me that we had to part like this. As much as you and I would like to share more of that mother and son bond that we have had for so long, God has decided that your time here is up and called you back to where you really belong.

I would love to have you here with me longer. I wished I could have taken better care of you. I am sorry. That was all I could muster. If only I had not broken my neck and became paralysed. Ma, please forgive me. Nevertheless, where I could not, Swee Wuan had taken good care of you in my place for the time that she was here. I know you were very fond of her because when I told you that she would be going back soon that time, you cried. I know that ultimately, you were reluctant to leave, even in your final moments, because you were worried that no one will look after me when you were gone. Ma, you can rest assured that Swee Wuan will take good care of me as she had taken care of you.

Please do not be sad that we had to part. It is better that way. You were in much pain. I am proud that you had fought against this incurable disease for so long. The prognosis was already not good when you were diagnosed. It is a wonder that you have survived for six healthy years when the average survival rate was only two to four years.

I am even prouder that despite having had a back surgery, walking with a limp after that and being plagued by leukaemia, you could still manage to look after me and manage all my daily needs. The luckiest thing in my life is having you as my mother who in spite of your own problems put all my priorities above yours. Without you and your absolute support, I would not have recovered to this stage. For that, I am forever grateful to you.

Ma, you know, a few hours before you passed on, I saw two angels lifting you up. The Prayer Group from the Cathedral of the Holy Spirits was at your bedside singing hymns and urging God to deliver you from this suffering that you were going through. And you smiled at me. You have never looked more blissful. At the very least, I found consolation in that vision of you with the angels and the radiating aura that seemed to emanate the goodness of God into all of us who were there.

Ma, you surely know that I had never believed in God. At my most desperate moments, you were always there for me. You were all that I ever needed. As long as you were around, I never needed anyone else. But during that time that they were praying for you, I was silently praying to God, too. That was the first time that I had prayed in earnest. I prayed to God that you would be well again. I prayed to God that you would regain consciousness again. I prayed to God to keep you here a while longer.

And I made a vow that I would forever be in God?s service if my prayers were answered. I know that was silly of me but I was really in desperation then. When I was ill, I could go to you. When you were ill, whom should I go to get help for you? Although my prayers were not answered in the literal sense, I know God had delivered you from the torment that you had suffered during those final few months. I know you are in good hands now. I know you are with Jesus now. I know you are with the angels now. Ma, please tell God that I will make good that vow.

Ma, I cried a lot subsequent to your passing. Many asked me to be strong. I tried to but the thought of you not being with me anymore hurts deeply. For a while, I was extremely depressed. Only God knew how I was hurting inside. Now, I am slowly learning to live without having you around, without waking up to the sight of you, without having meals with you, without you cooking my favourite dishes. You had built a foundation for me to carry on. You had made provisions for me to go on living when you are no longer with me. To waste my life away wallowing in despair would be a travesty to all the effort you had put in for this. I am sure you would want me to go on living a fruitful life after you, and Ma, that is just exactly what I will do. I will live fruitfully and productively to immortalise the legacy of care and love that you had showered on me.

I did not have the opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate all that you had given me. Ma, thank you for everything. Thank you for the life that you had given me. Thank you for nurturing me from infanthood to adulthood. Thank you for nursing me with such devotion when I became paralysed. Thank you for giving me hope when I had already given up on myself. You are more than a mother to me. I am truly blessed to be your child and thank my lucky stars that you are my Mother. And now, I know that you are the guardian angel who is constantly looking over me from Heaven. I cannot ask for more. Thank you Ma, for thirty seven years of unconditional, unparalleled and selfless devotion, and much more. Thank you. I miss you very much.

Rest in peace, Ma. You are with Jesus now. Till we meet again.

Your one and only,

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.