I was supposed to sleep early today and thus, skip a post for the day. However, I just can’t sleep yet. It’s my mom’s birthday and I haven’t had the chance to talk to her. I left facebook messages and tried calling her but she’s out of the house without her phone. I just miss her. The perils of living abroad!
Suddenly in the midst of an internal battle trying to force myself to sleep, I remember my grandfather. I call him Lolo. Just last month, I heard one of the saddest news, my Lolo has lost one eye’s sight. It was due to the late diagnosis of high sugar levels affecting eyesight. I know him too well, even if he feels something’s wrong, he won’t tell about it. I don’t know if his eyesight can ever be recovered. The night I discovered it, I knelt down in tears under the shower asking God to bring my Lolo’s eyesight back. I wished for no one to see me, but I felt so sad since then. I hate that feeling of wanting to do something for someone you love so bad and not being able to do anything about it. When God reminds us of our own helplessness and weakness, it can really be so painful. The last time I felt this was when my brother died. There’s no feeling like it. I can only call on to God and surrender to His will.
I want to take Lolo to this place where I am now. And my mom as well. But right now, I’m just scared. Scared that time is just slipping away. I don’t know how long my Lolo’s remaining good eye will remain good enough to appreciate the beauty I now experience in this foreign land and have the pleasure of calling home. His knees have long been weakened by arthritis. My Lolo is the closest I’ve ever had to a normally functioning father. His strenght was my inspiration as a little girl. His hardwork made me say to him once “Lolo, when I grow up I’m gonna marry someone like you!” But now, that strength is failing and I can’t do anything about it.
I’ve always wanted to give my mom the kind of love she lost when she married the wrong guy at a young age. She dedicated her whole life working for us so we will have a normal, decent life that doesn’t lack anything. “When I graduate, I will….”–those are the words the promises I made to myself start with. But seven years down the road since I offered her my diploma and medal, I have done little to rid Mama of hard work. She still wakes up in the wee hours of the morning and works til late night to keep the business running. I know she’s tired. To other people, she might seem to choose this kind of life because she likes it. But these other people are not her daughter. I know better. I sometimes act upset trying to tell her she shouldn’t work this hard as we’ve now grown up. But the truth is, I’m just masking my own anger…at myself. I can’t do anything. She told me once before that she’s tired of this kind of lifestyle. But there’s no better choice. My mom grows one year older today, and I’m no way close to taking her to the life she deserves, the youthful years she lost when she dedicated her time working for us and raising us. Sure she’s been fulfilled in a number of many different ways for having us and in watching us grow up but she never had a me-time, like most moms have. She lost that sense of freedom of bonding with herself. I’m not sure she realizes that but I feel really sad thinking about it. She’s never met friends nor attended reunions. The best conversations she had was with her own sisters and nothing else. She wasn’t able to catch up with her classmates she’s shared memories with. She has barely ten birthday greetings on her facebook wall, mostly from relatives. I wish my mom could catch up on lost time–all those she invested on us. Now that we are experiencing the life she always wanted for us, I wish I could let her have a taste of it, herself.
I wish Mama and Lolo could both experience the life they worked hard for to support. But I guess they are growing old faster than my wealth does. Time runs quicker than I could ever run the rat race to reach that capacity that can support the kind of life I dream for them.
But from this eternal loneliness springs also the realization of an eternal hope. I am weak, I have no influence over time. I cannot give the people I love the better lives they deserve, the one they afforded me to have. It is in vain for me to trust me. Seven years and I learned, I can only do so much. I might never reach it. I find rest in the fact that God isn’t me. What joy is it to remember that God can give so much more than I could dream for them. And the best thing I can ever hope for them is not to experience the life I now have. That’s being too short-sighted. The best thing I could dream for them is heaven. I shall not only hope for it, I should pray for it. I might fail them here and now but my God won’t. In forever and beyond, they’ll live a life so much better than I could ever have imagined. Then, there’ll be no worrying about time overtaking me.
But then again, every now and then I still ask God: Prolong their lives and strengthen me through this lifetime. It doesn’t hurt to seek the joy of making the ones who matter feel how much you love them. Maybe that’s what this life is about, what makes it beautiful, and what makes every waking day in this world worth living for.
Featured Photo shows my Lolo and Mama walking me down the aisle.