I remember the first time I made her cry. She was at the last stage of her cancer battle that time. We’re poor and we didn’t have the money for her chemotherapy. We had surrendered her, as doctors said she won’t live even with chemo anymore. I remember that day, she just woke up after a night of convulsions. She was weak. She could barely move her head up. I was doing something, I could not exactly remember what it was. She asked me to help her out in going to our shanty comfort room a few meters away from our house.
She raised me a “spoiled brat,” as my stepfather would always say. Thus, I would, most of the time, act up whenever I am asked to do chores, or to be told to do things, even at that same day when she needed to assisted in going to the toilet. I acted up, made face, and muttered. What happened next was probably the worst memory I had with my mother.
She cried, like she never did before. She cried because her son, whom she barely asked for something, was too lazy to hold her up in going to the toilet. She cried, because I acted like I was not a son to a mother. While crying, she told me the most excruciating words I could ever feel now that she’s gone: “You will eat your own tears when I’m gone.”
And it’s true. I ate my own tears when I was dearly missing her. I ate my own tears when I nearly stopped my studies because my sisters could no longer provide me allowance. I ate my own tears when I didn’t have penny for the day. I ate my own tears when I had not eaten anything for two days because I did not have money. I ate my own tears because I knew back then that she would not let these things happen to me if she’s alive.
And there’s probably one more thing that I wished I had done before I buried her: to say that I love her so much. But it’s too late. She could no longer hear me when I whispering to the heavens how much I love her. I was too stone-hearted to say those words.
But I hope I am making her proud right now. I remember a time that she had to borrow money from our relatives so I could attend press conferences and writing competitions. I remember those times she would brag about my achievements to every person in our town.
I missed her a lot. I can only say I love you and Happy Mother’s Day to her in my prayers.
Raymon Dullana is the Northern Forum’s editor in chief.