Jesus did what He said. He finished His mission without second thought. He loves me that much to die at the cross, to endure an excruciating torture a human body could ever take.. And He promises me He will prepare a room for me in His Father’s Kingdom that where He is, I will also be with Him. And never, ever, He leaves me alone as an orphan.
I believe in Angels. I believe that sometimes God sends one of His Guardian Angels to help us in any way, whether we realize it or not.
Today I experienced a heartfelt of thankfulness to what God did, poking me , to remind me that He protects .
Rain poured down since early morning so I told my mother to stay home, take rest and I would go to church by myself.
Later when I had left, she changed and went to church. She is 82 years old and has started to have early stage of dementia. I have reminded her many times to not going out by herself as we don’t know if she is going to suddenly forget her way back home.
As usual I switched my mobile on silence mode when I got at the church, but few minutes later when the mass began, I took my mobile and saw some missed calls from a neighbor. There must be something wrong at home , either with my father or mother. I rushed out to the hall and called her back. My neighbor told me that my mother had left saying she was going to church. They tried to go after her but she had gone already, and nobody around the street saw her take a taxi or a local public transport ( angkot ; minibus used as local public transport around the area ).
I was a bit panic . She never took angkot to go to church and I was not sure she could make it crossing the busy intersection near the church, to make it worse, the church is not on angkot’s route.
I was making the call near the food stall in the hall where some women from the church community selling food and cakes on Sunday during the mass. One of the ladies overheard my phone call and said to me , ” I saw your mother went up to the main hall. We have told her that we saw you in here but she said she wanted to sit at the elder’s pew.”
I was so relieved and thanked the lady. I told them briefly of what had happened and they told me to understand that sometimes old people get stubborn.
When later I met my mother, I asked her how she got there. She told me she took the angkot. I said ” Oh gosh, you crossed the traffic light ? It’ s a chaos over there.”
She replied , ” No, I didn’t. The angkot stopped right in front of the church gate.”
I said no way. This is not their local route.
She said that’s what really happened and even the driver refused to take the fare from her.
I asked her how many people were in the angkot. She replied, “Just me and him.”
I looked up at the cross on the altar and silently whispered a thank you to God.
I said to my mother, ” You know, Mom. An angel took you here.”
An interesting story I read in Stuart M. Perkins’ blog (www.storyshucker.wordpress.com ) caught my heart. It’s about a simple hello that turned two strangers into friends in a few minutes. He told about Ms.Tourist and Ms. Business in a train.
When I read it, I couldn’t help but smile and giggling. My mother fits Miss Tourist’s shoe very well. Even beyond that, I think.
At the age of 81 today, I can’t calculate how many strangers she has said that simple hello and then had a good conversation with.
Around four years ago, she still knew almost every family lives at two blocks away from our block. She knew every kid around our block and the block next door and whose their parents are. She became well acquainted with the grannies of the kids. And most of all, I could have a new gossip around the block everyday at night. Well, it’s not all about bad talks , only she would retell what she has talked with a neighbor and what has been happening that day. I nicknamed her my PR minister ( haha ). While her sisters and my cousins tease her with a name “the weaver ant”, the most sociable little animal alive.
You cannot be near her for five minutes without her getting you in a short or long conversation. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, young or old. I think my grandma forgot to teach her the term of ‘don’t talk to strangers ‘ when she was young ( lol ).
Till today I am still amazed how she could easily open a conversation with a stranger, as easily as she smiles. Unfortunately for me, I don’t inherit that kind of DNA from her because I am more a reserved and quiet person.
But today as she aged and some of her valuable memories are leaving her , she becomes quieter and doesn’t like to socialize much as she does before. Still, when we happen to meet a person or a kid who is not from our neighborhood at the mall or market , they remember her and call out to her “ Hi, grandma, how are you ? “
Often they stop and chitchat with her while I just stand beside her with my sweetest smile on my face as honestly I don’t recognize them. When they say goodbye to her, and I ask her who that person is, she just shrugs and says , “I don’t remember. I have met many people. It’s wonderful to know they remember me.”
Right, she has met too many people . She has made acquaintance with many strangers, even for a brief. I must say she has a rich life , preserved in her mind. Some memories are leaving her but some still stays. She still is the “Weaver Ant”.
I am not a mall shopper. I’d prefer to shop at small shops around the neigborhood or traditional market than going to mall. The mall is where I hunt for books.
The thing I want to share about what I think of the shopping mall is I have found out the place could be my remedial emotional breakdown. It’s not about spending all my money for books to make myself feel better, but just sit at one of the public benches provided inside the mall with a glass of fresh lemongrass tea and deep eyes.
Deep eyes. The thing I do is letting my eyes wander around and read many pieces of life stories. A mother tries to calm down her little girl or boy’s tantrum. A young teen couple passing by holding each other’s hands with eyes filled with young love. Parents with toddlers , are happily window shoppings, kids with extreme energy playing at the amusement onsite park ( I love to sit around the place and enjoy another form of chaos which in a way soothes me ). Or just watching a guy or sometimes a woman getting busy with their IPad at a cafe nearby.
Just a couple of hours sitting there has released my own heart tantrums. Strange place to soothe a breakdown feeling but it helps me.
The wise man says, live in the moment and indulge in it, you will be more happier… I think I read it somewhere just perhaps it just digs in my mind.
I am living in the moment these days. In many days I try to make the best of it but for many days, the feeling is weighing me down.
She lives in the moment nowadays. Sometimes I just want to talk about what just happened in the morning or yesterday or remind her about what would be done the next day, but I have learned that it has become hard for her to live in that stage of her life.
So everything I say or things that she needs to do, I prepare to make it happen in that moment of being happening. Not a ten minutes ago, not a ten minutes later.
Sometimes she is a five years old one who cuts her hand while cooking and has no idea what to do with the wound. She wrapped it with her handkerchief and just said my hand is bleeding. I am still in a shock dealing with it. Cleaned her hand and told her how to put a bandage on it. She nodded. I am not sure she could remember it.
Sometimes I forgot that my mother is walking into her own world of having a condition of memory loss.
One day I was looking for some basil in the fridge and found two plastic bags full of tomatoes. I was surprised. There are always one or two tomatoes in the fridge but not these many. What was my mother going to cook ?
I asked her. She looked at the tomatoes and seemed surprised herself. She said ; “ Did you buy these?”
I was in a hurry to prepare my lunch before going to the office so I hastily answered , “I didn’t. You bought some a few days ago. Why didn’t you check the fridge before you buy it ? Now we have lots of them and we are not cooking anything with those tomatoes.”
My mother still looked confused.
“I didn’t buy them. Why would I buy lots of them ?” she looked at me.
Then I knew she had forgotten all about the tomatoes. I looked at her sadly.
She mumbled to herself about the tomatoes.
Still busy preparing the ingredients for my cooking, I said lightly. “So what should we do about it .”
She immediately smiled and said “ Give them away. Camay, Mrs. Dodi, and Narti would love to receive it. Perhaps they are in need with the tomato, we never know. I’ll leave three for us.”
Camay, and Mrs. Dodi are our closest neighbors. And Narti is a day-helper lady at our house.
In a minute , she was busy wrapping the tomatoes.
“We’d never know when we could be a blessing for others. Sometimes, we don’t realize that we are having plenty and others have not. We should not forget to share our abundant blessings,” she said.
“Yes, I know , Ma. But still you have to check the fridge , please ?”
She nodded and smiled.
I was not sure if she would remember to do it when the veggie-cart seller comes by in the morning, but that day I was being reminded what a blessed life we have that we should share it with others in any way we can, even for some tomatoes.
My mother is 80 years old, going 81 in a few months . She loves to say she’s 81 now. I don’t know why. She is a petite lady, comparing to my tall figure. She is about 150 cm tall. She likes to ask me taking things from a high shelf where I could reach without using a chair, then she would say “ Wow, you’re so tall apparently.” I guess she’s still amazed to know I am much taller than she is.
Lately, there are many things that amaze her, as if she sees it for the first time ever. It has been going on for few months now and I have had a talk with her that she should be more aware about things around her as I think she is journeying into the old age’s stage of life ; forgetfulness.
I am just thinking to myself that she is getting a mild dementia . Talking into her to see a doctor about this is useless . She knows that this happens to all the old people in the world and she has seen some of her families experienced this stage. She is aware of her condition and she tries to do daily routine , move around a lot, walking our two dogs every morning and afternoon around the neighborhood, and cooking.
She is a great cook and I love everything that she cooks. But she is worse in baking (lol). Never in her life she’s ever baked a cake, though I know my grandmother and many of my aunts are great bakers, but not my mother. Thank God that she still cooks well and has not forgotten yet all the complicated spices used in a dish.
I remember about a quote saying, often a good will come out from a bad. Deep deep in my heart I am worried and sad about my mother, but the way she joyfully enjoys her days, eases my worry. And like the quote, I learn something good on how my mother forgets things.
Around our neighborhood, there are many plant and flower street sellers, occupy empty lands along the streets that have not been used for house building. On Sundays when we go to church or sometimes we just drive to a hypermart in the shopping centre of the area ,we will pass through the street sellers.
One day, my mother spotted some blooming red roses and exclaimed happily, “ Look, they are beautiful , aren’t they ?” Then she eagerly talked about how the roses were so gorgeous and what the nurseryman did to have that kind of roses. She said she was not good in gardening.
Since I drive slowly, I could spot the roses, too. Yes, they are beautiful. I didn’t think about that event till the next time we drove through the area again and my mother said the same thing about the red roses, which they were still there and still blossomed. I said lightly that she had seen the roses few days before but my mother insisted that this was the first time she saw them. First, I tried to argue her and explained to her when was the last time we drove through the street and saw the roses , but in her vivid look, she defended her logic.
I thought, well, it’s not a good thing to argue about. So I left my mother with her own thought. By the time, she was forgetting other things as well. And she would repeatedly say things she just said minutes before.
It happened again and again every time we drove through the area where the roses were still there. I could see that every time my mother spotted the roses , it’s like it’s the first time she saw them. Then it came to my mind. Why should I be annoyed at the way she sees things nowadays. Why should not I do the same, see things as it’s my first ; eagerly, be amazed, find a secret surprise in them , get the spirit pumped out with excitement of knowing something new , like my mother does.
And from that new perceiving , an appreciation arises . I value more to things around me, refresh my mind that I can encounter a new thing every day, things that I might have taken for granted previously, like that red roses.
My mother might have been walking into her own world, a world where one day I could not get into and be with her, but for today, I take hold her hands and let her eyes be mine, to look at the world around differently.