“It’s already late, why don’t you all go back and rest?” I said that and bid farewell to my mom’s temple friends for the day. They were the last to leave.
I was really tired, which is an understatement. It was my mom’s first day of the wake, and I have been running around doing all that is necessary (and occasional blogging) since 7 a.m. I walked up to my mom and sat beside her. With me was my cousin from Alor Setar, whose tears continue to flow, she was my mom’s best friend. I never know how close they were. But little do I know, I am going to find out, I am in for a very big surprise.
There was silence between me, cousin and mom. We could only hear the chanting from mom’s lil electrical gadget, quite a convenient piece of instrument that chants repeatedly at the click of a button.
It was me who garnered enough courage to ask, “Does mom talks about me?”
Cousin slowly turned around, looked at me, and as she struggled to put on a smile in the midst of her immense sorrow… she said… “Tuck… all the time”.
“Really? What did she say?”
And so it began, a conversation that lasted from 11.30pm to 5.30am. In that 6 hours, I got to know my mom’s entire life… her aspiration for me, her concerns over me, her joy of having me, her depression for not being able to communicate with me, her fear that she was not good enough for me, her sorrow that she was not up to my expectations… all just… about me.
“Your mother seldom talks about Ah Foo (lil bro) and Ah Mui (lil sis). Very seldom, it’s always about you. It’s because she loves you the most”.
You know when you have a crush for someone, or fall for someone, do you notice you will always talk about that person day and night? My mom loves me so much, that every time when she picked the phone and called my cousin hundreds of kilometres away, it was to talk about me.
It’s truly remarkable, that my cousin was able recite my entire life. How I threw tantrums at home, the exact timing. What words that came out of my mouth. All the time when I made my mom happy with my once-in-a-blue-moon friendly gesture, all the gifts that I have given her, all the dinners that I brought my mom out, that even I myself have totally forgotten, my cousin could name them one by one… the exact timing I’ve done it, when… and how I did it.
All the gifts and simple meals, I will only get a, “mmm… ok. Do jie” from my mom. That’s it. Nothing more was spoken. In my mind, I thought to myself, that my mom never appreciate the little things that I did. Thus… it became an once-in-a-dark-blue-moon event. But I was wrong… very wrong… incredibly wrong… extremely wrong.
“When everyone is asleep, your mom will call me in the middle of the night and tells me how happy she was to have received this gift and that gift from you. And she will tell me which day you brought her out for that nice dinner. She will call me that day itself. From her voice itself, I could feel her immense joy”, my cousin said to me.
Cousin told me of this bag that I bought for her. Frankly speaking, I couldn’t recall that I bought one. Incredibly, my cousin can actually describe the bag to me.
“Your mom treated it like a ‘poh’ (treasure), and she ‘em seh tuck yong’ (afraid to use it as it’s priceless), she was afraid she might lose it, or dirty it”.
I tried to laugh… but I was crying… I tried to cry… but I was laughing. I must have looked so stupid next to my mom’s body.
I cannot write the whole story here. It would have been too long. It would have been too boring for you. I could hear some of you say … “huh… stories of your mom again?” So I have to stop here. But I really have plenty to write, to which I will.
I really wish I can put all those into a book. How? Tunku Halim, Lydia, Xues, Eric Forbes… how? Is it possible? I am not trying to buy a ticket to instant author-ship, but am just wondering if it’s possible. Words could not describe how much I want to share my 2nd chance with mom, so that everyone else, will do all the needful in their 1st opportunity. But how?
Have to go now, need to choose a new home for mom. I will pay for it. I am sure she will be over-joy that I will be buying her a new home.
P/S: The entire conversation… 6 hours of it, took place in Mandarin… MANDARIN!!!! I am very sure my mom will be proud of her ang-moh son. 6 hours of Mandarin from Zewt… maybe someone would like to contact Malaysian Book of Records.
I am proud of you too Master.
Your servant, Renee.
Dear Zewt, I'm really touched by all the things you've written about your mum.
It's an Asian thing, this undemonstrative trait of ours. Your mum didn't gush her appreciation to you for the things you've done for her. But she confided in your cousin and now you're hearing for yourself how much your mother loved and treasured you.
I am a mother and I cherish my children. My eldest son is now 17 and I'm so proud when he showed me an essay he wrote about me being the 'person who leaves a lasting impression' on him.
By all means, write. Pour out all these feelings that you have in you. Write what your cousin told you, every detail. Don't bother about the grammar or sentence structure or everything. Just write them down, raw emotions and all like what you've done in these blog entries. The rewriting and structuring and come later. And even if you don't get to publish it, the act of committing these memories to paper will help you come to terms with your loss. It will help in your grieving process.
A friend of mine who lost his mother to cancer recently did this : he knew his mother was going to die soon. He visited her regularly with a notebook in hand and asked her to tell the story of her life. He wrote it all down. His mother was a remarkable woman and he has recorded her story for posterity for future generations.
I'd be happy to help you in your writing journey.
Said a little prayer for you as I read the last few entries. Take care.
hey..your blog is about what you want to write and not what people want to read..so if you want to talk about your mom..go ahead..and i m sure your mom would be happy to have heard your whole conversation as well 2...i think this kind of event makes one realise how we take things for granted..hey if you wan to write a book i m sure all the moms out there will give you the nod..
Yeah bro Zewt.
If you wanna write about your mom just write it..
I'll be delighted to read it..
Honestly i don't know your mom but i can feel she is a great mom while reading ur post does make me feel so touching...
I wish you could write it down too and I promise to buy the book.
Again, thank you for sharing. You have touched my heart again today.
Hey, just saw your Winning Photo in today's Star! Mom is smiling upon you, zewt. :)
funny how in our Asian culture and upbringing, we seldom show how much we care or appreciate one another, yet we can tell others about it... just not the person himself/herself.
I think your mom was a wonderful person. I'm sure you'll find a good 'home' for her. :)
i came from Angel's twitter.
very sad reading, at the same time, know you're reminding many here not to take things for granted. your mom will be (is) proud of you for this i am sure.
I know I shouldn’t keep reading your post if I know I will sure be touched and cry and made me feel bad….
But your post about your mom made me realized some mistakes I do too…. Like, I never really think talking to my mom is necessary. When she complaint I seldom talk to her anymore, I replied, "what do you want me to talk about??". When she is sick, I expect her to go see doctor herself coz I have to go to work, and, I did too have those moments when I hated my mom for not agreeing some of the things I asked (e.g. going for a trip with my bf alone before he becomes my hubby).
I hope you will feel better soon. And, I am sure your mom is very proud of you! And, I am going to trasure my mom much more now.
Zewt, ur entries this past couple of days have been one of the most touching ones i've read..by all means..if u wanna write bout ur mom. write. my heart goes out to you..
Your entries on your Mum are very touching and heartfelt. Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that life is short and we should treasure our loved ones while they are still here with us.
My thoughts are with you.
I agree with Lydia, pls write... make it a book for yourself and it will be with you for ur entire life... do not believe in brain memories.. you will loose it when you're a little older..
and LOL to you on the Mandarin session... *smile*.. ur post makes me sad and tiba-tiba, boleh ketawa sesorang...
It'll be a good book. straight from your heart. thats your 2nd chance. whether one wants to believe it or not.
there's always, always plenty to share. and those who share, will always, always get plenty more.
my friends all send their regards and condolences.
me, I'll send a prayer for your mom.
*continue blogging* anticipating ur stories....remember you once told me abt the r/s you have with your family....d not so close one...anticipating...... .... ...
Zewt, continue to write about your mother if you desire.. I agree with the rest, your posts for the past few days have been very touching in deed. Be strong and take care
We're not tired of your mum's stories, Zewt, it's your blog, express all you want out here.
You have a whole blogosphere worth of friends, and everyone's understanding.
each and every word you wrote bring tears to people eyes, and it helps people understand that there is indeed no second chance.
Zewt, you're opening many mind and eyes here, and I can't thank you enough. Despite the pain you're going through now, you manage to make us all feel that mums are important.
You're mum's definately very proud of you, and so are many other mothers around.
Continue to make her proud, write the book that you want to, we will always be supporting you.
Zewt, it's always been a pleasure to read whatever you type in your blog and the past few days each time I open it up and read, more tears are shed.
The most amazing thing is you're able to even add in things that can make me smile while I cry.
Whatever book you're gonna write, I'll be supporting you all the way.
Proud of you.
Look forward to reading more of your mom's stories, that is if you are gonna post them up. Spill anything here as it is ur blog. I'm sure most of your readers will not hesitate to come back to read u.
Thanks again for sharing Zewt.
Write to your heart's content. Hope it will help in the healing process.
write down everything about your mom and you.. You will remember it for the rest of your life. We know very well that there is no 2nd chance. Just pray that she will be rebirth into a better place, better family and a better life.
Her absence is just a sign wanting to u learn how to appreciate and traeasure your dad, ur siblings, ur relatives and ur friends around you more. Do that for her and yourself.
U wouldn't want a 2nd chance to be your your father. It's still not late to do what you have not done for your mother to your father. :)
My condolences to you..
Hey. I posted my condolences at The Star because the Johor office won't allow me to comment on blogger (now back in Shah Alam for the weekend).
My condolences to you and your family.
Zewt, do you know how many life's both you and your mum has touched through your postings?
Keep strong, spread your goodwill.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. You have showed strength of character in times of adversity. The book will be a fit tribute to all the mums in the world who have made huge huge sacrifices. Be a saint, and just do it.
Zewt, rest more, drink more water, take care of your health, you got long way to go and you have to take care of the family. I believe that is what your mother wish you to when she is in the heaven.
keep writing whatever you feel to dude. i learned a lot and reminded myself a lot these few days, after reading your blog. yes we always take things for granted. only when it's gone, we feel the loss..
p/s: you speak mandarin/english at home? I mean with your mom..
I am so sorry to read this post. I saw yr comment on my blog but I wasnt sure n didnt dare reply the comment.
I am very sorry. My mum is not with me too. It was a difficult time too as I was the poh poi one... If I am in the same town, I would go to attend the wake. Please accept my condolences. Hugs from Mrs Bengbeng and me.
Your blog is about you and your life. If you want to write about your mom, go ahead and do so. Your posts over the last few days have been truly touching the hearts of those who read them. It has made me re-think the way i i treat my parents. Thank you for your beautiful posts, i'm sure you were a great son. Write that book if that's what you want to. Don't let people discourage you.
I was blog hopping and found the link to yr blog.
I'm very sorry to hear abt your mom.My deepest sympathy... =(
My dad passed away from a sudden heart attack a few years ago.It was some days before christmas.He died in my arms...
It's true that we always take our parents for granted and we think they'll always be around for us.But how wrong are we? =( Life is so unexpected.Now I have only my mom left...and your various entries abt yr mom made me realised once more how great a mother is to her children and how much we should appreciate every single moment with her.
May your mom rests in peace...
Be strong and take gud care of yr dad and bro and sis...
Stumbled to your blog, read the last few days' entries. Honestly, it brought tears to my eyes. It's very heartwarming and touching.
My deep condolences to you, fellow blogger.
I also agreed with the rest, please do write of your great mum to your heart content, be it in a book or in your blog. Care less what others may think, what it's more important is to pen down your memory of your mum, and express your feelings out in words. Perhaps can consider this as one last bit of your effort to show your mum of your love for her. And I'm sure she will be very happy and proud of you.
Very touching, Zewt. Even more so because it's real. My deepest condolences to you. I am sure she will be proud of you.
You have a blog, which is as good as a book, if not better - because it's uncut, uncensored, and honest.
*pats back* I admire your strength through this episode. Reading more of your updates on this will require more tissue papers. It's really moving.
Hang in there buddy.
i am not feeling boring at all with all your stories. your mum is always a great mum. she will be the happiest mum to hear you talking Mandarin just beside her. Your few recent entries made me think a lot and I am sure you had enlighten many more of us.
i hereby send my condolences again.. take care Alvern.
Why don't you create another blog dedicated to your mum (called it: My Mum and I). and place a link where we could read it. Divide the writings in chapters so that it's not too long for each. That way, readers will enjoy the reading and be empathetic. It helps us and direct us to a world of love and passion.
Dude, please accept my deepest condolences. My thought is with you and your family.
hey how r u feeling? hope u r ok :D
Yes, ur mum will definitely feel so proud of her boy! (I actually giggled at the last sentence...)
Another heart-warming and touching piece of dedication to the one you love... It definitely melts everyone's heart here.
Again... Hope you'll get over this very soon. Good luck!
Hopped over from Kenny Mah's blog to offer my condolence. For me, I find the pain and emptiness in my heart doesn't really go away but the intervals between my sad times do lenghten as time goes by. So will yours, take care.
ur entries made me teared thanks for the insight and sharings. really appreciate it. you take care now...
I have no idea what to coment except wish u good day & be strong.
you are a great guy!
it's not everyday that a guy like me to felt touched by blog post. really great to know there are someone in this blogsphere that felt so much for his mother.
it's not lame, its not boring. keep writing. i'll keep reading :p
My deepest condolences to you, ur story so touching, it make me tears again and again. Have forward ur blog for my sisters and friends. Good blog must let more people sharing. Hope u keep on writing and expresing ur taught , we will support u for sure.
Thank you, and I will learn to be a good mother instead.
Loss of a loved one is a phase in our lives that we inevitably have face up to.
Unfortunately, some experience it sooner than others.
I wish you well, my friend. Take care.
This proves how much your mom really loves & cares about you. The fact that your cousin can recite all the things your mom talked about, and all the details, proves all that. Im sure your cousin cares about you just as much, if not she wouldnt be able to recall all this.
I thin this is something that we can all learn from, which is not to underestimate our parents, relatives or loved ones, and take them for granted...
Thanks for sharing,
I thoroughly enjoy your 'conversations', kinda nostalgic to me during my late's mom's passing.
p/s: your name's 'Tuck'? My last name is 'Tuck' too. dayum, still remember my aunties used to call me by 'Ah Taaaaaaat!' in the most embarrasing ways a kid could be! lol
*having very embarrassing nostalgic moments...
I was so touched by what you wrote about your mum, even more so than the words she said. I'll keep your advice in mind, my friend. May your memories of her never fade, until the end of your days here on earth.
i meant "even more so about the words she said"
at this point, perhaps the last thing u need to think about is what yr readers think of your post. let yr posts be a remembrance to her and the times u hv spent with her. let it be a way for you to come to term with her depart. let it help you in this time of sorrow. tell us more. in telling us, you are accepting it, remembering it, loving her and maybe...maybe she is listening up there in heaven with a big smile on her face, pride in her heart and telling all her new friends about her son.
reading this made me realised a lot of things... thank you.
this is superb, and it makes me realize what i'm taking for granted all this while.
keep writing :)
My belated condolences to you...yes, just write as I'll be doing the same too.
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