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Posts Tagged ‘life with mom’

Mom


This photo earned several “hearts” and “likes” emoticons on Facebook. This is how mom looks now, she is really getting old, hard of hearing, can’t see clearly and sometimes with bouts of forgetting. So glad though that she  still remembers our names, she still can sweep the yard in the morning and play with our four kitties.

Nissa gave that shawl to her as Christmas gift when they came over last December 24. The first one she gave her three years ago was a little darker but equally lovely as this. Those flower designs are embossed on the soft cloth. Mom loves it.

She’ll be turning 92 in a few months. My brother Noel was so happy to see her because they never get to talk anymore over the phone nowadays. Sometimes, she can’t even read those enlarged words I type on my notepad. She gets cranky when she insists that she wants to go home to the province and we say that it is not allowed. She no longer understands the gravity of this pandemic, that older people like her are more susceptible to catch it outside.

That’s mom, blessed to have reached this age still healthy and strong. She plays solitaire every day and watches television even if the sound is muted.

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My dearest Mom,

Of course I didn’t forget, it is your birthday today. How I wish you were here with us. If you were here, at least tomorrow we could go out and celebrate your 90th birthday.

I can’t imagine myself reaching that age. Nine decades of happy and blessed life. I know you sometimes forget, simple things that still you ought to remember. Then you will say “anto layay ulok, alingwanan ko la”. (Gosh, I always forget).  But you know that you forgot something.  Maybe it comes with old age. I always hear this phrase that  “when you reach 80, everything is a bonus”.

We are blessed too that you are still with us despite your age. Hopefully, you’ll still see Nate growing up. I am proud to say, he is a smart boy.

May you always remain strong and healthy and most of all happy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY.

from a loving daughter.

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Again, for the second time this year, I attended the earliest morning mass at 5 am.  I love the quiet around this time, seems like 5 am is still too early for some to wake up. Since Josef and Jovy were not around, I left mom alone at home. I told her to catch another hour of sleep before she watches  the regular 6 am mass on television. When I came home, she has just woken up and the mass was already halfway through.

My sister-in-law texted earlier and said that they are fetching her today. After almost seven months of staying  here, she is just excited to go home. When I told her about it, she said, “very good”. Haha, I just  laughed.  It is not really practical for her to commute so I wait for my two brothers when they have time to accompany her going back to the province or to fetch her from there.

When she is here, she would always say that she’s got nothing to do. I told her to just relax and enjoy. When she’s at home in the province, she is always busy. Every morning, she would sweep the yard of fallen leaves from the fruit trees that we have there. At least she could still enjoy bonding with her two older sisters and cousin, playing cards in the afternoon and going home when it is time to cook for dinner.

She has forgotten even how to open our grill doors. She cannot remember which key is which.  She turned 89 two months ago. Maybe when you reach that age, forgetfulness creeps in but we are so blessed she doesn’t suffer from dementia.  I think it is the “wear and tear” of getting old.  She hasn’t  learned to adjust wearing a hearing aid. She cannot hear with her right ear and sometimes she even complains that her left keeps ringing.

Getting old and growing old. I guess when you reach the age like she did, you’ll just get old. I pray that she’ll always be healthy.

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Been meaning to bake a simple cake for Mom for a few weeks now. Yesterday, I decided to bake a carrot cake for her. I used just a cup of carrots. I could smell  the sweet aroma of the cake from here.

 

Mom loves anything sweet. It’s a good thing she is not  diabetic, thank God. She loves all kinds of salads, be it veggies or fruits.  She had her favorite cup of coffee together with two small slices of this. Heaven!  Sometimes she would always say she is doing nothing but sleep and eat.  She watches the news on TV every night and her favorite soap operas but I wonder how she could understand the stories.  Her hardness of hearing is more prominent now. Back in those days when it started, she used  a hearing aid but didn’t feel comfortable with the noises she heard all the time.

She is so easy to please but sometimes at her age, she is so “makulit”.  How would I translate this in English, it’s actually a Tagalog word for persistence to the point of annoyance.  The past days and almost every day she kept asking me to call my younger brother to fetch her. She wants to go home to the province  but commuting is not an option. She is already old and sometimes so slow to walk when she is outside.  Gosh, she is turning 89 this coming month.

Have I told you before that when you reach 80, everything that follows is a bonus? I read that somewhere. Getting old is inevitable.  We will all grow old someday.

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I always laugh when Mom calls our dog Noki by another name. Boo is the only name she can remember out of our several dogs that have passed on. Of course, Noki just would not respond. He would just look at her and would only come near when there is food in his dog plate.

Haha, Mom is getting bored with my company I think. We could not talk like we used to since she could not understand.  She said she could not read small letters, even the big ones that I write with a  pentel pen. At her age of almost 89, she’s getting thinner.  Her doctor prescribed  vitamins and for her to drink milk every day. He said that the more we grow older,  our body  mass diminishes.  She still watches TV though, a bit louder than before.  I wonder how she could understand those stories being shown. When she speaks, it is loud because she can’t hear herself  while speaking. Her right ear is now completely deaf. She hasn’t adjusted to using hearing aid.

Can you live in a world where you hear only noises? I can’t imagine a world without sound but I can’t even fathom how it is to go deaf  and just hear sounds without understanding anything. One good thing though is she can comprehend words when you speak softly to her left ear.

Mom is the youngest of four girls. Their oldest sister died last year. She reached a hundred  I think.  the bonus years were definitely kinder.

Thinking of life, thinking of getting older. Of course most of us want to live longer and enjoy life a bit more.

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Mom  has stayed with us since November 30. Now she is quite  adamant to go home again after barely two weeks of staying with us. My brother could not fetch her yet since he is busy at work.

This morning I went out for a while to do some groceries  and to have my hair trimmed. When I got home, Mom was smiling at me and said in the vernacular, “you look lovely” at the same time pointing to my  newly shampooed  and blown dry hair.  She kept turning her head this way and that then I noticed her  newly cut hair. I asked her who did it. He pointed at my son Josef.

Haha, it’s the first time Josef held a  pair of scissors in his hands to cut mom’s hair.  She asked Josef earlier where I was then   persuaded him to cut hers too. She was  so proud  of it. We laughed together.  Two new hair  styles 🙂

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For the past three weeks, Mom has been attending Sunday masses on TV.  She finds it hard to walk when it is raining and the streets are slippery when wet.  Sometimes, she drags her feet when she walks. This morning though, I asked her to go with us to attend the Sunday mass at the nearby parish , a five-minute tricycle ride from our place.  The weather is just right, nary a sunshine in view but it is windy.

Sometimes she complains that she finds it hard to breathe so my brother has to accompany her to her internist for another check-up. She underwent an ECG and was prescribed a blood thinner which she has to take for a month on top of her other medications and maintenance.  I explained to her not to focus too much on what she feels, that is so stressful.  She always tells me that what she does here is “sleep and eat”. I told her to take a rest while she is here with us.  I know, she sometimes forgets that when you are getting old,  the aches and pains  are more pronounced.

She used to avoid having her photo taken but that has changed  in the last few days. I always tell her that I’ll send her pics to my youngest brother whom she hasn’t seen for so long because the family is based in Tulsa.  She is amazed at the number of photos kept in my gallery mostly shots of flowers, food and Nate with the latter having the most of it.

Mom at 87....

Mom at 87….

The wrinkles and gray hair speak of  life’s journey, the number of lessons learned along the way  and wisdom’s highlights too.  Some people always say that when you reach the age of 80, you are so blessed and beyond that, everything is a bonus.  Maybe that is true in a way because life nowadays is so stressful.  My mom is the youngest among four girls so you can just imagine, the eldest is now around 95 or older.

Sometimes I wonder, are we luckier than their generation because we are surrounded by gadgets and things that make life easier? Mom never learned to use a cellphone except to shout over the phone (she is hard of hearing so she has a tendency to make her voice louder) to us and say, “kumusta“? She never learned the use of computer but she knew how to use a typewriter, not the one-finger touch system but all fingers locked into their proper places on top of the keyboard.  Sometimes, I wonder what she is thinking while deftly playing solitaire every afternoon  before  watching the three-o’clock news. She  depends on the news tickers because she could not understand the newscast. Oh but she enjoys a good movie on CinemaOne and always waits for Maalaala Mo Kaya  every Saturday night. She shouts with  Luis Manzano’s audience  on Minute to Win It every afternoon.  Come to think of it, she is more updated with the news than I am.

She  always asks  why some people do not want to bury Marcos at Libingan  followed by a question of why  there  are so many people dying on the streets.  Let me see…it is hard to explain, can you?

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I was thrilled to see my three pots of turmeric sprouting new leaves. The leaves are oblong compared to the narrow green  leaves of ginger.  I read somewhere that turmeric produces lovely flowers too. I can’t wait to see them bloom. Seeing earthworms in the garden reminds me of those days with mom.

During the last days of summer and the onset of the rainy season, I would sometimes go with mom to go fishing in the river. Yes, we use the old-fashioned hook, line and fishing rod made of thin bamboo pole  and  earthworm as baits. Back then, when the ground is soft because of the rain, it is easier to dig large and fat earthworms near our vegetable plot. We would place them on a fine plastic net or a tin can with holes and a small amount of soil on top of the can so they could breathe and would not die.  We would bring boiled banana, sweet potato or rice cakes for snacks and a bottle of water.

Ah, we would normally catch biya, those small fresh-water fish and grill them  in charcoal.  Sauce from fresh green tamarind is the best partner for this and  freshly cooked rice of course.   There were times when crabs would cling to the line. Fishing with mom was such a wonderful memory that I would always cherish.  Those were the days, I think I was in grade school back then.

I remember those head gears which the old folks used to protect themselves from the rain. Believe me, they were even better than your sturdy umbrella. The takoko which is made of  dried palm leaves and woven into a wide umbrella-like  thing was so popular then.  It is not complete without the kalapiaw,  a native raincoat made of the same material, with a cord tied at the neck.  I tried them before but they were always too large for my small frame but believe me, they  were the best things to wear when the rain was hard. They were  so cozy and warm.

I catch myself smiling while  editing this post. Maybe that’s what lovely memories do to you, they become more keenly felt and remembered as you grow older.

I had a similar experience fishing with dad in another blog post which you can find here.

 

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Yesterday, Mom got busy fixing her things, arranging and rearranging her clothes, her medicines, some groceries that she has to bring home and as usual reading those medicine prescriptions (she does it almost every day) that she has accumulated while arranging them with the newest one on top.

She came to my room with a copy of a passport size print and said “keep this in your wallet so you won’t forget my face when I die”.

I wonder where that came from, I mean her statement on dying. So in jest I answered, “Mas mauna pa ako sa inyo” meaning  I’ll die earlier than she will.  We both laughed. True, while she visits her doctor regularly complaining about the normal wear and tear of growing old, she looks hale and hearty at 87.  I’ve visited the hospital and been confined for a number of illnesses  more than I can count. I had a phobia of going back there, just the smell of antiseptics reminds me of those days when I was struggling with my health.

She is going home tomorrow and she said that there are lots of things to do there.  I will surely miss her and her appreciation of anything that I put on the table. She said, “parating special ang ulam natin”.  Those are ordinary fare I serve every day but in her eyes, they taste even better.

Life with mom, there is never a dull moment when she is around.

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Feeling amused 🙂

This is funny. My mom has been hard of hearing for several years now. She didn’t get used to the hearing aid we bought for her years ago. I told her that she has several birthday greetings on my wall. She just smiled. A while ago, she came back to me and asked:

“Saan kamo yung maraming bulate, sa Pangasinan?” (Where are those worms that you are talking about, in Pangasinan?)

I laughed, she smiled.

Then I whispered to her ear (her right ear can still pick up sounds), “maraming bumati sa birthday niyo”.  (Several friends wished you happy birthday.)

She understood then she smiled. Nagkaintindihan din kami sa wakas.
(We understood each other finally).

 

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