In Memoriam – Mum’s Fifth Death Anniversary

Five years – that is how long you have been gone. That is also how long I have been carrying this one guilt. I lied to you. Yes, I lied to you early morning one after Wuan had helped you change. We told you we had planned to get married two years down the road. Why two years? Because I wanted to settle the loan for the apartment that we were living in first.

Mum, in reality, we lied. I lied. We had no plans to get married then. I had roped Wuan into it because I wanted to give you a reason to go on fighting. I wanted you to have something to look forward to and not give up. I could see that sparkle in your eyes when we broke the news. At the same time, you were also worried how her parents would not accept me. Wuan assured that she would talk to them.

I had not seen you as cheerful as you were on that morning for a long time already. I could sense that you were already looking forward to that one day to see me getting married and that one day when you would get the daughter that you had always wished for. I thought I got it all figured out. I thought that you would steel your resolve and overcome the illness. I had expected you to live for many years more.

I also remember a few days after that when you were suddenly struck by hypothermia and how you had cried so desperately and repeatedly called out my name. I knew what you wanted. You thought that you would breathe your last then but you refused to go just yet because you wanted to be there to see Wuan and I get married. At the hospital, after the blood transfusion, I was relieved to see you get better. You even told those who had visited you that your son would get married. That was how happy you were despite the suffering that you were going through.

Wuan had taken good care of you. She had helped clean you and and helped you changed. She was the only person who had willingly done that for you. At the hospital when I told you that Wuan would have to go back to Kuala Lumpur the next day you covered your face with the towel and cried. Tears were rolling down your cheeks.

You were sad that Wuan had to go off. You feared that you would not be able to see her again. Wuan assured you that she would return in July and would want you to take good care of the plants that she had put outside our apartment. You assured her that you would.

You did not live long enough to see us get married. You did not even live long enough to see her again after that. I know for sure that even at the very last moment, you had wanted for Wuan to see you for one last time. You fought. You hung on. But Wuan told you to let go if you could not wait and that she would understand. She did not want you to suffer. If only you could wait a few more hours. But you had to go. Your time was up. The angels came took you away. And you left me forever.

Ma, I may have lied to you five years ago but Wuan and I really got married on October 20 last year. You now have a daughter-in-law! You now have a daughter that you had always wished for! We could feel your presence when we sealed our marital vows that afternoon. Even though you could not be there in person anymore we knew you were with us in spirit and had blessed us. Thank you. Thank you so much Ma.

Rest assured that Wuan is taking good care of me now like she had promised she would do and like how she had taken good care of you during those trying times. I pray that you will find serenity wherever you have gone to now that I am married. That was the only thing that you had wanted for me. It has finally come to fruition. Rest in peace now Ma. I am in good hands. I believe that you are too. I love you. Till we meet again.

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.

5 thoughts on “In Memoriam – Mum’s Fifth Death Anniversary”

  1. grandpa, you know, I think when your mum was living, she had already considered Wuan the daughter she’d always wished for. It need not be just now, now that you are married. Know what I mean?

    Did you know that david was sobbing after everyone has left, because he wished so much that his mum was there present with us. well, he was half drunk.. but reading what you wrote here reminded me of seeing him then. Through him, I really feel what you are feeling. *Hugs*

    Your mum’s soul is resting in peace, I am sure. Because there is someone she can totally trust, as her daughter-in-law! 🙂

    Aunty, I think so too. It is just that we did not get to go through the tea ceremony with Mum to make it “official.”

  2. Ahhh..! what a sweet letter .. Peter..! my prayers are with you and Wuan always.. 🙂 you take care buddy..!

    Thank you.

  3. One’s life is paved with good intentions and regrets.Paint over the regrets with love and don’t look back.Pin the happy memories to your heart,remember her not in death but in praise of her life fulfilled- your mum would want it that way.There’s a life to be lived Pete!

  4. I happened on your blog while searching for the lyrics to “That’s All I Ask of You”. I’ve heard it many times but only this morning did I really “listen”. Thank you for posting the lyrics. I read a little more and came upon this post. I lost my mother five years ago in June. Your letter touched me, made me think of my own mother, her struggles and not making it to say goodbye to her. Your words truly touched me — my tears flowed freely. What a beautiful letter to your mother … it speaks volumes of your love for her. Congratulations on your marriage. May you create many more precious memories to add to the memories of your mother.

    I also appreciate ex panang’s comment. It opened my eyes and my heart to a life to be lived.

    I can’t express how grateful I am and wanted you to know how deeply affected a stranger was by what you shared.


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