Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tales From the Hospital 1

My room has a small window that opens up directly to the kitchen. It's nothing fancy or ornate, just two panes of French windows that allow me to see who's in that area. In turn, I can be easily seen by whoever is peering through it. It's very useful during the times that I don't feel like going into the main house. I simply ask whoever is there to pass me something, say like a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee.

The work table in my room lies directly across the window. In other words, I usually have my back towards the window whenever I'm seated by the table. I really don't notice anyone who's in the kitchen unless they call out to me, or open the window itself.

I woke up one usual Saturday night. As a matter of routine, I treat my rest days as pure rest days. You'll rarely catch me going out on a Saturday or Sunday night. I'd really rather relax at home after a hectic work-week. I tend to while the night away surfing the internet and what not.

It was around 11 pm or so when I heard a knock on the window. I turned around to take a look at who it was.

It was my Mom, waving and smiling thru the glass panes.


Bon-Bon isn't a stranger to my rants. I've shared with him numerous times that I still have difficulties adjusting to my mother's presence in the house - two years, and counting. Being away for practically half my life, she came back to retire and supervise my half-sister's college education her in Manila.

Originally, my Mom wanted to set up residence at our other place, but I thought it might be impractical since it's some distance away from the family house where Pospy and I stayed. So I asked Popsy if it was okay for Mom and my half-sister to stay at our place. Popsy, being my deadma dad that he is, gave a nonchalant yes to my query.

And so the day came that my Mom finally arrived - maletas, boxes, half-sister, and all - and set up residence at the family house. To be honest, I think she thought it was just as easy as putting away her things and pick up where she left off years ago.

Not quite that easy, I tell you.

In the interim that she was gone, things have changed. Popsy and I have changed. Even our household help, who has been with us the past 20-something years, has changed.

Sooner or later, friction predictably started to build up over minute things. She rubbed us the wrong way, and I guess we rubbed her the wrong way, too. It came to a point that she and our household help had a conversation that escalated into raised voices. But Mom couldn't really fire her because she was indispensable. I don't doubt if my mom would've taken over what the household help was doing for our house. What I doubt is that if she could actually do things the way our household help did it.

So I just bit my tongue in the meantime, and washed my hands off the incident. I really didn't want to get involved, since it was their tiff, and not mine. I quietly told our household help to stretch her patience with my Mom, and I also told Mom the exact same thing.

When Mom took a three-month vacation in the province, I think all parties gave a sigh of relief. That included Popsy and I. We agreed that Mom has a singular habit of being unable to let things go. I know for a fact that she loathes throwing away stuff that she thinks can still be repaired or recycled, and at the same time, I know she has a hard time letting old grudges, perceived or otherwise, be bygones.

I also realized that it was easier to love my mom from afar, rather than be physically present with her. At first, I felt guilty. After all, what kind of son would think of such a thing? But that's how the cards have fallen, so it seems. C'es la vie. I just have to learn to deal with it. And just like I told the household help and my Mom, "Magpasyensyahan lang tayo ng onti."


"Yes?" I replied grumpily when she opened the window.

"Wala lang, anak ko. I just wanted to say I love you."

"Hnh." was all I said.

She smiled again and silently closed the window.

Perhaps I should've said more. Or even took a few minutes to ask how she was. But at that time, I was still groggy, and all I wanted to do was to be left alone.

Contemplating back, it's funny how the what-ifs scenarios seem to rewind again and again in one's head. It is during these introspections that regrets are born out of moments passed.

And yes, I am not ashamed to admit it: I genuinely regret not seizing that particular moment.

That particular moment was the last time I actually saw Mom standing on her own.

The very next day, she didn't get out of bed because she was racked in pain.

And a month or so later, I was tasked to have her confined at the hospital under the doctor's orders.


  1. oh my....

    yep, what-if scenarios are really torturous.

    i hope she's okay.

  2. We all have those moments of regret.

    But now, you are making up for it.

    Regrets are ghosts that haunt even the strongest of minds.

    Ternie, you can do it. And so will your mom.

  3. I'm terribly sorry to hear about your mom.

    I hope she gets better soon.