Thursday 22 March 2007

It was not meant to be a surprise

When I returned home on Tuesday night, as I had my last mom-cooked dinner, I noticed that everything was still set as though mom will be back. There were still unwashed dishes in the sink left by unappreciative children, food was still in the pot, and vegetables prepared for the next day kept in the fridge. Surely, mom never had it coming… I was wrong.

My cousin came today from Alor Setar, mom’s hometown. This cousin of mine is very close to my mom. Mom will call her to talk about her problems. Imagine that, she never talks to us. But I believe the real reason is because we don’t want to talk to her. Do you talk to your mother?

Cousin informed that approximately 6 months ago, mom found out that there was something in her brain. It was actually detected by the Chinese sen-sei, doctors that my mom trusts. She was asked to go for a scan. Cousin asked her to go, to which mom promised she would.

Last November, mom made a trip back to Alor Setar, her first trip back in a long time. Cousin said she visited all her old friends and told my cousin that she should not cry if she goes away. My cousin was suspicious, and asked about the brain scan. Mom didn’t go for the scan, she said she was busy. She said she will do it after CNY.

Indeed, mom is a busy woman. If you think working 8 or 10 hours a day is hectic. Try spending a day looking after a (singular) house. I swept the floor and did 2 round of laundry today. Trust me, it’s very extremely tiring. Then I washed all our cups. Removing mom’s cup from our usual cup tray made me tear enough to wash a cup by itself. It was painful.

Back to mom, she told cousin that if she was to have a stroke, she would rather die. She would rather leave us behind, than to stay behind and be a burden. I believe that is the reason why she never went for a scan. How many of us will scream for a MC as the slightest headache? How many of us cowards will jump straight to the specialist’s doorstep at the sight of bleeding? Plenty I suppose.

But for courageous people in this world, namely mothers, that might not be the case. Mom was one of those courageous souls. She knew she will be going soon. And she left these messages with my cousin:

1. She wants a cremation;
2. She wants an altar in the house and a joss stick a day;
3. She set aside some money to get a necklace for my sister, to be worn when she gets married;
4. She set aside some money to get a necklace for Julia;
5. Dad should do some housework so that his brain get some exercise; and
6. If she was to go away, her biggest concern would be my wedding and my sis wedding.

After knowing all these, I realised something…

Mom bought a new washing machine this year, a new stove too. Of course, no one will be able to cook better food with that stove in this house besides her. Mom also told me that washing detergent and groceries are bought on a need to buy basis, not on a routine. The signs were all there, we never saw it coming. No wonder she went back to Alor Setar to see all her old friends.

I think mom also did made a comment about her having severe headaches and asked me “what to do?”. My reply to her was simple and irresponsible … “go see a doctor”. It should been… “let me take you to a doctor”.

Mothers will forever think for the best of her family. She will sacrifice all that she has just to make her children happy. Most mothers are like that. Does your mother show any out-of-the-norm sign? I am not trying to scare you, that’s not my intention. My intention would be to have you talk to your mom more. No matter how much you hate her, you will love her for the rest of your life. I know it’s easier said that done. But you better do it when she is still alive.

It was not meant to be a surprise to all. Those times when mom said we took her for granted, and we never appreciate her, and that when the day comes when we want to take her out and make her happy, she might be gone… it was not a passing comment. It was a warning we failed to see. And now, we will have to live with it.

p/s: Perfect timing, the alarm rang, the 3rd round of laundry is done. Time to hang the clothes.


Anonymous said...

We as humans always take things for granted.....It is so natural that sometimes its too late...

Yday after reading ur blog...I told Sab this....My mum's brother, my uncle was very strict with me...alwiz scolding me and he was the type that in cantonese ppl say 'ching fu yan siu tak chui yan tor' 2001 he was struck with my mum n aunt wanted to visit him at the hospital alsmot everyday..I had to drive them there...but i use to complain so m uch bout it....

After he passed away, my mum told me that he was the one that was with her at hospital, in the ambulance and in the morgue during my father's death....

You can imagine the remorse i felt bout complaining driving fr ss2 to UH in Jln University...

The main thing is to move on and heed your mum's advice/words/sacrifices....Be strong and alwiz cherish our loved ones....

Huei said...

your mum was so "wai tai", she didn't want to hurt the family, she had everything done.

now you are taking over her job, and from above, i'm sure she's smiling

thanks for your words of advice, i think i neglect my mum too much too. Stay strong Zewt. You're a great son! :)

Horny Ang Moh said...

I have tear in my eye while reading this entry. I know how its feel like. Stay strong. Best wishes from me to your family.

ee chia said... strong, alvern..
my prayers are with you..
take care.

Anonymous said...

That is the way a mother works, they will always think of the family first, no doubt about it
Though you failed to see, but I know you will make so many see before its too late for them
I think you have learnt a lot from her and all she has done is to ensure that you and the rest of the family can move on
Don't be hasty and do it slowly for that is what she wants, the best for her family
Take care!

King's wife said...

Thanks for the reminder. I too take my mom for granted.
God bless and may He comfort you and your family in this time of grief.

My thoughts are with you.

may said...

I hope you won't be too hard on yourself. remember the good and happy times you've had with your mother more, yes?

thank you for reminding me too, how important family is. and nothing is for granted.

Dangerous Variable said...


I hope that everything is fine with you. It was a touching post and don't be too focus on what you should do or shouldn't do. Remember the good times and her sacrifices, it helps you be a better person for life.

Will keep you in my prayers...

Anonymous said...

your mom is such an angel, may her rest in's a good reminder, let's all cherish our loved ones. live everyday to the fullest!

Jane Sunshine said...

Dear Zewt, my deepest condolence on the loss of your mom. It's difficult to find the right words and as someone who has only recently experienced loss myself, know that sometimes, grief comes in waves. Sometimes you may be okay, sometimes, down in the depths. All that I can say is hold on to the rest of your family. And maybe, God is saying, Zewt, mom has taken care of you and the family but now, its time for her to be with Me

rainbow angeles said...

Thank you for sharing your story and for the reminder. Here's wishing that you'll find all the strength you need, Zewt.

BaitiBadarudin said...

isn't it just like most mums? to put their loved ones before themselves? cherish your memories of her is all i can say too.

weiwei said...

i am sorry to hear about ur mom. i almost teared reading ur posts bout ur mom. i too lost my mom 14 years ago. =(

Chen said...

Thanks for the reminder.
Your mum is a very strong woman.
May her soul rest in peace.

Rabbit said...

Thanks for reminding me. That reminds me that my mom and I do not share much problems.

Anonymous said...

my deepest and most heartfelt condolences.
i am lost for any other words.
drop me an email if u want to meet-up just to get your mind off things ;D

SuLee said...

my condolences to your family - your mom is lucky to have children like you guys and she went without suffer, so thats good... said...

Shit Zewt, im in shock.
Im really really sorry to hear what has happened, and convey my sincerest condolences..
As many have said, she is in a better place now, so just take it easy, and dont be so hard on yourself.. you're a good guy.

kyh said...

luckily i find my mum the most important place in my heart... now and forever. she is just the most beautiful woman i hv ever seen. i luv her very much, and i feel blessed that we hv developed an extremely strong bond between us since i was young.

speaking of house chores, yes, it's tiring. i still remember i hate doing house chores, leaving all the things behind for my mum alone --- derogatorily-termed Indon maid of our home. How saddening it is for a mum! The invisible tears! The unspeakable pain inside her heart!

At least now I wud help her wash dishes and sweep some floor. that's an improvement in me i think. :)

be strong man!



mothers are selfless...they love us selflessly and unreservedly.

my mom died in 1990. She had 10 children.

i remember my mom once told us -- a mother can take care of her brood of children, no matter how many there are, no matter how many she has....
but 10 kids will not be able to care for one mother...
..we used to get so upset...we told her to stop talking rubbish.

...zewt, take care.
I only found out about your mom this afternoon (Thursday) in Johor Bahru in my hotel room after attending a book launch. I hadnt opened my laptop because there was a problem with the internet in the hotel. The previous day (Wednesday) kept me busy until late at night as I drove down to JB.
It was Zaharah Othman (Kak Teh) who was using my laptop and told me about your mom.

I am truly truly sorry ....
Again, my deepest condolences. Hope that your family is coping well.
Your mom was a wonderful, selfless and strong woman.
May God bless her!

enar arshad said...

i am sorry for your loss.hope that you will be strong and do take care of your self during this sad moment.

Cocka Doodle said...

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family, Zewt.
Just learnt bout your loss last night from Angel.

Golf Afflicted said...

Hi zewt,

I just only read your posts. I know we've never met, but you have my heartfelt condolences.

I've been to many wakes, some recently, but while I'm always saddened by events, I've rarely shed a tear. I shed plenty reading your posts.

Take care!


What A Lulu said...


Ah Yun Wong said...

I offer my sympathy and sincere condolences to you.
May your mum finally rest in peace.
Sometimes you have no choice but to keep it all in you. You know it would be less painfull if you cry it out but you have to be strong for others.

Anonymous said...

My dear friend zewt,
We only meet in the blogosphere but in my heart you are my friend. As I just completed my windows system installation, and when I visited Clemfour I saw your comment.

My condolences to you and your family. May your mom rest in peace. Please be strong and do take care of your self during this sad moment.

Howsy said...

Deepest condolences mate. Hang in there.

nyonyapenang said...

my condolences to your family. take care.

Maverick SM said...

Dear Zewt,

I am really sorry to hear about your mum's departure. It hurts me.

I hope you had got on well.

I agree with what you wrote. It is something that we take things for granted in life till we lose it.

My mum is 80 now and I hardly spent time with her. I will now.

Zewt, take care and we are concern about you.

shar101 said...


No 'hugz' from me. I can't do that 'virtually'. Not for this situation.

My parents are still with me. Rather staying with me. And they are nearing that threshold that you just went through.

This I can say. Your loss will make me and some other person in the same
circumstances put that little extra effort to make 'mak and bapak' a little comfortable with their golden years which only children can provide.

I'm sure you have done your share.

Anonymous said...

ever wonder why the love stories story line are always repeating? always question myself as to's getting darn's always about how one fails to realize/appreciate the presence of the other half of their loved ones.....but then as i analyse and finally i've got the answer....thing is although as we watch the movies and try to grasp what's the moral behind the story we'll still fail to put into practice unto our daily is why the storyline are always repeating again and will not believe how it feels like until it really happens to you point regretting but to look forward for a better future

Alliedmartster said...


Your post woke me up. The first thing I did was call my mum.
She is a kidney patient and goes for dialysis 3 times a week, yet at first, we were worried, but it is now two years since. When she ask for somethings, like going to look for a new dialysis centre because the current one is too expensive, we find it hard to break out from our usual daily routine, and we have been posponing it.
Last night, she wanted 'Mein Fun Kueh' for dinner, and my brother bought it for her.
Otherwise, I am sure we will continue to teke her for granted, as would most others.
Thanks Zewt, for you have sent me a message.
Again, unless the wake is a very private do, I would like to pay my respects.

Kind regards, and heartiest condolences.

Tony Yew

Purple~MushRooM said...

Zewt, i called my mum on Wednesday after reading your first post.
I was one who hates talking to my mum coz i think she is very cheong-hei and lor-sor. I used to tell her i am busy and just said bye when she called me all the way from KL to Shanghai. I always cry at my own actions. But I need to change. I know I will regret if i dont change.
You are right. Talk to our mothers more before we don't have the chance to do so. I will make it a point to call her once a week. I will talk to my mum every week no matter how cheong-hei or lor-sor she is.
Again Zewt... no regrets. I am sure there are many other things you have done for her. Just live your life to the fullest now and make her proud.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zewt, I came upon your blog from another blog. I am sorry to hear about your lost. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

From your post, it made me realise that I need to care for my family more often and do not take them, any of them for granted.

Zewt, do take care.. and do keep in mind that your mom is now in a better place and free from any sickness :) I am sure she loves you all unconditionaly. Take care

Kenny Mah said...

Trust me, your words about appreciating our moms while they are still around are heard and heard well. They sacrifice much too much for us.

Take care, bro. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Unknown said...

It is ok to think of all the things that we should have done and words that we should have said if that makes you feel closer to your departed mom. There is still a whole lot of life ahead of you.

Go ahead be sad, go ahead cry, go ahead regret but also learn from this all. Then, let go, you have to, life must go on. Say goodbye and move forward.

I hope you don't think that I am being insensitive, but painful as it is, thats the way it is.

Weig said...

I cannot feel the pain you bear,
Nor the emptiness that comes with losing someone dear,
I do not know how many times you have wept,
How many dreamless nights you have slept,
I see, though, that you are in mourning,
Of a cherished soul that left before the day’s dawning,
My dear friend, I weep too,
In my prayers, I shall place you.
She hasn’t fully passed away,
Believe me, she’s with you everyday,
As long as she’s your treasured stone,
Her love will comfort you when in pain you groan,
She takes every step you take,
Though her reflection may not appear on the face of a lake,
Like true soul mates you are,
She’ll be your guiding star.
Don’t you worry, she didn’t sleep alone,
The angels were there to guard their own,
That is why you should smile,
With your fate, you should reconcile,
Maybe her departure is a sign,
Maybe she is your passing angel, your future vine,
Bleed no more, you will be blessed,
You will be seen through this difficult test.

Lee Ping said...

Came to your blog immediately after visiting Kenny's blog. I am glad I dropped by. I am fortunate to have both my parents around. I cannot imagine losing either of them. Having kids of my own makes me appreciate them even more. Thanks for blogging your experiences. I shall forward this post to my youngest sister who is still living with my parents.

flaminglambo said...

Hi champ,

I know that there's a huge void in your life right now but take comfort in knowing that you were by your mother's side when she passed. I can assure you that your mum knew how you felt just by looking at you.

Everybody feels that they haven't done enough when they lose somebody special. I witnessed my mom's pain when her mom passed away. My mom had done so much for my grandmother but yet she feels that she neglected her somewhat.

It's more important to know that when she passed, you had no hate or anger in your heart towards her when she was alive. I'm sure that you love your mom and if you know that, your mom would've known that too.

If there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Anonymous said...

When you wrote of the endless housework that needs to be done, the dirty dishes in the sink, the last home-cooked meal, it made me think of my own behaviour. I have never realized how much I am blessed to have my mum do all these things for me.

I am sure that your Mum is looking down on you with a smile now, knowing that you are doing your best to get on with life and also helping others along the way.

God Bless, zewt.

Unknown said...

Sori Zewt, terlambat

I lost my mom seven years ago.

The first time my mother in law whispered the news to me, i did not cry. Dumbfounded.

But, when our car was somewhere near her house in Taiping, my daughter told me later: "abah macam orang gila"

Really hope your mom resting in peace.

Anonymous said...

Hope you'll be fine. Recently, the entries remind my mother. I miss her so much, and i want to take care of her till her end of the day. I want to accompany her when she still alive. May god bless you and your family.

Kelvin Hon

Anonymous said...

Hi Zewt,

I haven't been visiting recently, so I got a shock when I saw your recent posts.

My deepest condolences to you and your family. I cried after reading your posts, and I'm still trying to compose myself.

It's sad that it takes something like that for us to remember how much we should treasure the time we have with our parents. I often feel scared whenever I think that my parents will leave me one day.

I will not pretend I know how you feel, because I don't think anyone who hasn't gone through this pain can...but I hope that as the days go by, you will feel better. I'm really really sorry for your loss, I really don't know what else to say.

Take care, and from all the comments, know that alot of people are here for you.

me said...

this may sound glib but i don't mean to offend you, only console you. people say that only those who do a lot of good deeds get to die an easy death. for your mother, it was an easy passing. quick and no dragging on, no pain or causing a burden to her loved ones. the pain is only felt by the people she left behind. perhaps you can find a little comfort in that?

Anonymous said...

People die every now and then, no biggie.

Kiersten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.