Monday, July 6, 2015

The love of a mother is next to God

By Alfredo C. Garvida, Jr.

I received the most painful news I had been expecting for the previous several days last Monday, May 18, 2015 from my brother: My mamang has passed away. My sadness was not as grievous as when I received the unexpected news of my eldest sister's death from an accident in Los Angeles, California back in April 1992, because we were expecting for days that mamang was to go anytime. 

She was 94, vibrant and mentally sharp, until she was operated on for a slight dislocation on her hip done by an accidental slip she made one innocent day. The operation was successful and she was as before properly cared by my niece—a registered nurse in America and married to a well-known cardiologist in the Palm Springs area—in their home. My younger sister, who herself a registered nurse in America, would often visit her too and give her care. 

A couple of months after the operation, she was complaining of stomach pain. They took her to the hospital where it was found that she was suffering from a virus attack on her colon. It was a rare case, as what I learned from my sister, requiring the unthinkable method of injecting some different species of bacteria into her colon to have them kill the other bacteria that was bothering her. 

The operation was successful, according to all of them, the cardiologist, my niece and my sister. Sadly, behind my mother's time-tested, unshakable willpower to fight adversity of any shape or form, her 94-year old body could no longer accommodate her earnest desire to survive once more. We talked once on Face Time along with my children, whom she most adored dearly despite their never having met personally. Against her struggle to extricate herself even temporarily from the constraints of being in a death bed, she was able to tell me and my kids her last wishes of us. “Be good, and love one another the way I have always loved you," were her last words that will haunt me forever before I will do anything contrary to her desires.

She was interred at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California last May 24, 2015 (U.S. time). Because of time constraint, I was not able to attend her funeral, but I wrote a simple eulogy that my sister read at her funeral, which I am reproducing here, with the kind permission of The Ilocos Times’ editor, which reads thus:

"To friends and relatives who took pains in coming to say their final goodbye to my mother, my family—inclusive of my wife, Theresa, our children, Alfredo (Trey) McClintock Garvida, 111 and Aurora Renee McClintock Garvida—is so grateful, for your presence and sympathy have indeed transcended our sorrows and pains in this most trying time we are currently in.

I last saw my mother more than 18 years ago, when I bade her goodbye prior to my returning to our dear country for good. She had certain misgivings about my decision to leave America permanently after 24 years of my stay here. But the kind of mother that she was to us, she understood, and gave her loving blessings to the wisdom behind my decision. I remember her saying to me that we may never see each other again, which I readily dismissed with a hearty smile, for she was only 76 then, a tender age for a woman who had survived every facet of test that time could offer; and frankly, seized by my bias towards her indestructibility as a creation of God, it never occurred to me that one day, my dearly beloved mother would leave earth and reside in a world diametrically apart from the world she had suffered in practically the whole tenure of her lifetime. 

My grief is beyond any word to describe, for it is clear to me now that she was not indestructible after all in the face of our Lord's wisdom; that never again will I see her or hear her voice until my time on earth shall exist no more. I am powerless to foretell when I will be able to move on over her passing, for I realize now beyond any shred of doubt that her love and wisdom, her caring for me and my children, and my siblings and her grandchildren and great grandchildren were the whole embodiment of a perfect mother that not every woman on earth could match. 

My siblings and I grew up with no father to look up to. She was our mom; she was also our father. She singlehandedly raised the five of us against every kind of adversity any man of reason could imagine, constantly defiant to the disheartening nuances inherent to single parenthood, albeit she was the legal wife of our father. Her efforts were priceless; her perseverance was beyond question and her gallant resolve to suppress with logic the mistreatment and injustice done to her, for the sake of her children, was more than enough to earn her the fine qualities of a martyr and a real-life hero.

And unquestionably, therefore, she is a martyr; and my real-life hero—she will forever be. But sadly now, it is for this reason that I could not come to terms with her passing because I have given no justice yet to my mother's love, sufferings and efforts in my behalf. I haven't paid her yet the price she rightfully deserves to be recompensed with and this is what pains me most; and this is what makes me cry and so sorrowful.

Whereas mamang was a perfect mother, she has had, like any of us, her imperfections as a human. To you, dearly beloved, on my dear mother's behalf, I beg of those she might have hurt or offended to forgive her, as she had forgiven those who had sinned against her. Your prayers, and most especially, your forgiveness, will be her personal bounty to take to our Lord's Kingdom.

And to you mamang: I love you so much. Theresa, Trey and Renee love you so much. They haven't met you in person but your love and kindness to them have made your name and your existence household items in the daily rhythm of their lives. I know I have not been the son you have aspired of me to become, but please forgive me for this. As much as I would want to otherwise, my failure to live up to your dreams of me can no longer be reversed, but in your name's honor, I shall compensate that deficiency with deeds along the terrain of your wisdom and values. My efforts may never be enough, but at least I will try: because your memory is most endeared to me and I know that there will never be any time in my life that I will not remember you and your affection to me, as well as to my siblings, my children, my wife, your grandchildren and their children, your sisters and brothers and your friends. If our Almighty God will ever give me the chance to be born again, I pray that I will once more come from your womb because no woman could ever take your place as my beloved mother.

Goodbye mamang. I know that God will give you a nice place to rest forever. I will see you in another life and please don't cry anymore over my woes and my missteps, because now that you are gone, the hard facts of life, especially your kindness and affection to us, have fortified my introspection that the love of a mother is next to God. Please go in peace, and pray for us always."

In closing, may I ask the reader to favor me with a simple prayer for the peaceful and eternal repose of Rizalina Curammeng Garvida's soul.

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