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Sunday, February 14, 2010

"hi mummy" no more...

as i've mentioned before in my previous posts, 2009 has been a very trying time for my family and i.  on february 5, 2010 around 10.30-11.30am, my whole world was shaken.  like any other morning, i wake up as usual, check my twitter and facebook on my iphone, wake myself up with a dose of internet on my laptop in bed until all of a sudden i hear a bit of a commotion outside my room.  the help we'd hired to take care of my mummy during the day while everyone was out to school and work and the maid needs to get the housework done, was calling for the maid.  in utter panic, the maid came rushing to my room alerting me to get ot my mummy pronto.

my mummy couldn't breathe.  she'd developed some phlegm in her throat earlier that week out of the blue and hadn't been able to get rid of it since.  we'd given her some medicine for it as prescribed by her doctor but i suppose it didn't help her.  my heart had sunken as the tears came gushing out of my eyes begging my mummy to hold on while we try to clear her air passages so she could breathe.  she saw me and shed her final drop of tear without being able to say a word.  as i laid my palm upon her chest, i couldn't feel the rapid beating of heart anymore.  her pulse had gone weak and was fading by the minute.  her pupils weren't dilating or responding to light.  i'd already called her doctor earlier.

when the ambulance came and took us to smc, i kept hoping that there was still hope for my mummy.  deep down, i knew, her time had come.  the paramedic pumped out the remaining phlegm from her throat and strapped the oxygen mask on her.  when we got to smc, we sat outside the emergency room at level 1 while the doctor went in to check on the situation.  with a grim face, her doctor came out, tapped bapa's shoulder signalling him to come over near the door and broke the news to him.  my brother and i were sitting opposite where they were standing waiting to see bapa's reaction and what we saw confirmed what our guts had been telling us.  mummy had gone.

my eyes flooded with tears, i hugged my brother so tight i was afraid he'd suffocate.  fortunately my uncle was around to take charge and ring up the necessary people to make arrangements for the burial and kenduri.  i started texting close friends and some relatives and called my uncle to make arrangements for the grave site.  my vision was beginning to turn hazy, my legs were beginning to feel numb.  soon i couldn't type on my qwerty keyboard, i had to ask my brother to type.  not long after, my hands began to freeze up and my eyes shut, my breathing had gone haywire.  my body practically went into shock mode.  the nurses swiftly transferred me from my seat to a wheelchair then to a bed.  before i knew it i had oxygen tubes inserted into my nostrils and the voice of the nurses trying to calm me down.

the first time i experienced this body reaction was the week before.  when i was by mummy's side taking care of her and accompanying her.  i hadn't slept the entire night and my mummy was speaking in sentences that didn't make sense, in a tone that was mostly mumbles.  i'd felt so helpless and sad that i wasn't able to help her because i didn't know what she wanted.  i started having difficulty breathing, my eyes shut with tears flowing, my limbs were numb and everyone else was asleep.  my mummy couldn't help me and kept asking me what was wrong while gently stroking my knee.  i know she wanted to calm me down but she wasn't in the proper condition to do so.  fortunately my aunty who had come to stay with us for the week with my grandma had woken up for early morning prayers and heard coughing in the room.  bapa, the maid and my aunty all tried to calm me down so i can breathe normally again.  i ended up not speaking for the rest of the day until late that afternoon while getting my mum to drink some water and she told me to drink the water instead.  then she asked me to sleep.  even in sickness, she still wanted to take care of me.

it's been a little over a week now since that day and the relatives have returned home.  my 2 youngest brothers are at my grandma's place for the chinese new year break and the maid is home for the weekend.  i miss my mummy.  i remember chinese new year last year we were all suppose to head back to my grandma's place but at the eleventh hour i couldn't join because i'd gotten a fever (which lasted the entire week they were there).  my mummy kept asking me to come.  catch a flight there and i can join them on the ride home.  the plan was to stop by sandakan as well and eat at agnes keith house.  she loved the scones at that place.  she was still well then, save for some back aches.  i can't regret not going because i was not in any shape to travel at the time.  i wish i wasn't sick then.

when my mummy was diagnosed with lung cancer (her 2nd diagnosis. the first was breast cancer in november 2006) last april, we were all quite devastated.  to have it recur in the same location and so soon was a shock to us.  she was a fighter.  and she fought the disease til the end.  she held on to every last bit of energy in her body and soul to hang in there for the family.  by august, her tumour had cleared and we felt thing looking up.  we were filled with positive thoughts and big hopes that she will recover.  with another 2 more additional chemo sessions to go, the battle was almost won.  or so we thought.  right before her second last chemo set, she was having difficulties walking.  the task of moving around was excrutiating for her.  after  a couple of trips to smc, they finally found out the cause of the pain.  there was an abcess in her muscle near her hip joints.  she ended up with 4 surgeries (3 times for the hip joint area and 1 for the incision near her ankle -- there was puss collection near the ankle area) and 2 months hospitalized.  it almost drove her nuts being in the ward for too long.

despite everything that she had to endure, she stayed strong and positive.  we still talked and laughed.  we joked around and she'd give me advice and share her opinions like we always do.  when i was feeling down or stressed out, she cheered me up.  when i was having problems, she helped and protected me.  i always felt safe and happiest when i'm with her.

i'm not perfect but i did my best to spend as much time as i could with her, take care of her, accompanied her while at the same time juggling my office workloads (which were overwhelming at times) and keeping my brothers in check.  some days, i'd sleep in smc with my makeup on and in my work clothes of that day.  i avoided attending any trainings that required me to travel and stay overnight.  i barely had time to do much else.  fortunately my close knit friends are such dolls and understood what i had to do.  i didn't get to go out and do all those things peeps my age usually do.  i apologize to all my friends whose weddings last year i'd missed.  and to nyn, i know i promised to be there for your engagement, but i'm truly sorry i couldn't make it.

my mummy was truly a remarkable person.  she was beautiful both on the inside and outside.  everyone who knew her will tell you what a wonderful soul she was.  she has touched so many with her kindness and attractive personality.  i'm not saying this just because she was my mummy.  i'm saying this because it's true.  yes, she was strict.  but her heart has always been in the right place and always full of love.  her children were her life.  her family always came first before anything else.

i feel (and i believe i speak for the rest of my family) that we are all incredibly lucky and blessed to have had her in our lives.  she was generous, good hearted, loving, caring, wise, insightful, full of life, had an awesome sense of humour, practical, forgiving, hardworking, determined, strong-willed and always trendy and stylish.

as an only daughter, i was extremely close to her.  i was her shadow, her driver, her runner, and anything else she wanted me to be.  if i was away (or vice versa), we'd be on the phone everyday.  when she was still working, we'd have lunch together and get a bit of shopping in after.  whenever there was a sale, we'd be there.  if she needed to go somewhere, i'd drive her.  when we're at home, we'd hang out in her room watching astro and chit chatting.

i miss her calling me while i'm out or at work asking me where i am, what i'm doing, buy her things, come home early... i miss her texting me reminding me to pick up my brothers from school or pick something up for her... i miss texting and calling her when i'm waiting in the departure hall for my flight out and when i arrive at my destination airport... i miss talking to her in her room and listening to her advice and soothing words (she always knew what to say)... i miss being able to come to her for anything and being able to hug her... i miss saying "hi mummy" in the morning before i get ready for work and when i come home from work... i miss saying "goodnight (mum)my" before i go to my room at night... i miss her telling me not to worry, and telling me that everything is going to work out fine...

now i feel lost without her.  i know that in time, i'll learn to work things out on my own.  i know that we'll all be ok in the end.  i believe that she wouldn't leave us without being sure we're gonna be aye ok.  i know that eventhough we can't see her anymore, she will always be here to guide us in times in need.  we've all done our best to help her recover and i believe that she was truly happy til the end and that it was her time to go.  i will remember our last night together, joking and laughing the night away even though I didn't get a chance to speak to her that morning before she went.

thank you mummy for being such an amazing mummy to us.  we miss you dearly and no one will ever be able to take your place.  i will keep my word and honour your wishes.  we may not remember all of you in time, but we will never forget you.  we will treasure your time with us always.  as much as this feels like a dream and we wish you were still with us, we will move forward and your spirit lives within us.  i know you are proud of all of us.

i miss you and will always love you...

may your soul be placed amongst the righteous.  i will continue to pray for you.  al-fatihah.


  1. I shed some tears reading this, suddenly memories of my late dad came flooding back. :-(

  2. How long has it been since your dad passed?

    What scares me the most is that as I grow older, I might forget how her voice sounds like and her simple gestures. Haha. I shed tears too when I read my own post. But the again, it is something people who have lost a loved one can relate to.

    Also, congrats to both you and Mel on your upcoming nuptials. :) Regards to her too.

  3. Like Gallivanter too, I shed tears while reading ur post relates me to the people I love and bring back memories of my bapa.I know things are tough and no words can really soothe the loss of someone we love. Missing the person and not being able to do things with the person is extremely painful. But I guess it all recovers in time. When I'm feeling down, I just cry and cry until I think the pain in my chest goes away (of course you have to find some place privatela hehe)..That was back then, when I'm still adjusting to the fact that my bapa was no longer around. But in time Del, the heavy feeling in your chest will soon fade away. Later the memories you had with her will turn into something that you cherish, made you smile, made you proud of who you are today. Of course I still remember my bapa from time to time, but the missings no longer bring that pain in my chest and I find them very soothing and comforting instead. I'm sure the same goes to you. Life goes on, you have your loving family and brothers, and friends for you to share the love you have for her. Reading your post I'm sure she left in peace, you were always there for her=)
    "I am my mother's daughter because she taught me to speak my mind, clearly and in a strong voice. I am my mother's daughter because I work, laugh and love hard.
    I am my mother's daughter because I go to extremes, give until it's all gone and share for the joy of it. I am my mother's daughter because I eat life up and always ask for more.I am my mother's daughter, and I'm proud of it".

  4. Thanks bak. It's hardest when I'm alone I find. When the mind starts to wander off and reminisce the past. There's so many things that I miss about her. Most days I wake up hoping that it was all a dream and she would still be in her room resting or at the dining table with a big smile on her face or just a phone call away. I remembered you never talked about your bapa during that time. And I remember my mum telling me that I should just give you your space. Hehe. The heavy feeling in my chest, that makes it hard to breathe sometimes and the sting in my eyes, and the weird feeling of seeing everything around me stay the same when my world had just undergone such a drastic change. It can get overwhelming sometimes.

    And yes, I am my mother's daughter, and I'm proud of it. :)