As the years go by, the memories become blurry. Faces once familiar are now devoid of features. Their names are associated with the kindness that they had showered, or their villainy, instead of their physical forms. All that remain are the obvious ? clawed hands, atrophied limbs, one three-inch surgical scar on the neck and some discoloured photographs. Nineteen years is a long time to be paralysed.
What happened that sunny day in October 15, 1984 will forever be etched in my mind. That day, I dived into a swimming pool and drastically changed the course of my life. That day, I nearly died. That day, I discovered myself all over again. That day, I broke my neck.
The first three and a half months after that were spent in the hospital in faraway Kuala Lumpur. Mum never left my side throughout. It must have pained her more than me. As I write this, I begin to understand the anguish that Mum went through the months after my accident.
She became the hands that I no longer had control of. She became the nurse who dressed my pressure sores. She became the caregiver who cleaned me after every bowel programme. She became the masseur who eased the sore muscles that were steadily wasting away.
The hard labour of looking after me was not the source of her grief. Mum never once complained. Her maternal instincts had always been intact. What broke her heart most was seeing me in the condition that I was in, seeing her dreams for me, and also my own, whittle away with each passing day that I lay incapacitated on the bed with no sign of recovering. Still, Mum never gave up on me.
I owe my life to Mum not only because she gave birth to me. I am alive today because Mum made the impossible possible. With martial exactness, she would go about fussing over me daily. For more than eighteen years, she kept up the routine. I am truly blessed.
I am where I am today because Mum refused to surrender me to the forces of destiny. I regained some semblance of independence despite the severity of my disabilities because Mum dared to hope. And I know how determined Mum was to make a pilgrimage to the Feast of St. Anne at Bukit Mertajam annually to pray for my recovery.
Mum was always there for me, through thick and thin, through treacherous and stormy, through pain and agony. Mum was always there irrespective of the journey I took. Mum always supported my decisions. The times when I fell back, she would gently nudge me along. The times that I cruised with ease, she would still watch from the distance, making sure I was safe and sound. Mum was even there for me when she herself was critically ill and nearing her end. After accompanying me for nineteen years, Mum was called back to the Lord, and now, I have to continue my journey without her anymore.