Life could have been unfair, it gives joy and so much hope, it made us dream of catching the stars but in the end, it will tear us apart. That is the exact feeling I felt 3 years ago, while I am so much occupied on serving our nation on the far flung area of Northern Samar, the biggest bang of my life occurred. I am not a dreamer, simple life, meals for a day, clothes to wear, pasalubong to my family when I got the chance to go on vacation and a welcome smile from my family as I got home satisfies me and nothing much more.

Looking back, on 03 May 2011, a week before Mother’s day, my mom got ill. I recalled that I am able to celebrate Mother’s Day at home once between 2002 -2010 that’s why I decided to go on R and R to at least take care of her for 15 days… only 15 days after her taking care of us all our lives. She seems very happy to see me went home. I thought she’s doing well as she even bothered to give me three pairs of slippers when I prepared to go back to Samar because she said that I might be gone again for a long time.

When I got back to Samar, I ensured to call her everyday but those were short conversations since she is easily exhausted in long talks. On June 11, Saturday, I called her before I attended the Saturday Inspection, I was amused as she could already talk longer while telling me stories from home. However, I need to hang up first to attend the SI not knowing that it would be the last pleasant conversation I will be having with her.

The following week, my sisters will not be able to look over my Mom as classes are about to start while my Dad can only stay after office hours. Hearing the news that it will be my younger cousin who will take care of my Mom, I felt the guilt. I began questioning myself on the purpose of the things I do, on the list of my priorities and things that matters in my life most. That day, I recited the military professionalism over and over then asked if I can bear to see my cousin beside my Mom instead of me or my sisters.

15 June 2011, Wednesday, I decided to go on vacation to take care of my mother effective 20 June, Monday. However, fate has its own pace that on the night of 15 June 2011, around 9pm, my Dad calmly informed me to be strong and to pray for the recovery of my Mom. I wanted to go home that very moment but military professionalism taught us to submit on our freewill to a law of perpetual constraints. That night I am sure I regretted being a soldier, I cannot do anything for my Mom… I felt so helpless. At around 11pm, our Ex-O called me and directed me to go home ASAP as instructed by our CO. At that instance I asked our driver to ferry me to Tacloban Airport for the first flight but at P1,000.00 difference between the 1st and 2nd flight, I chose the 2nd flight at around 6:45am so that I will still have money to buy choco-moron for my Mom.

June 16, 2011, I arrived in Manila before 9am but I didn’t call my dad right away instead I took my breakfast. After 15 minutes, my Dad fetched me but before we turn to V.Luna road, somebody called my Dad, all I heard is “ Ganun ba… sige gawin nyo lang ung kaya nyo.” My tears fell down in the unforeseen situation of my Mom without anyone of us beside her. I told myself, “Ma, malapit na po kami may bantay ka na po mamaya.” As we reached V. Luna Hospital, we silently took the stairs going to the fifth floor but as we reached the door of the ward room; I heard a very loud scream, “Ate!!!” I saw my tita beside my Mom crying and screaming while my mother is being revived by the doctors and nurses. I was shocked on the scenario, ECG and life support apparatus were all attached to her, with heavy feet I went on the feet of my Mom and hesitantly touched her. I went to the side of her head, still uttering no words; I cannot look directly on my Mom’s face knowing the pain she is going through. I saw the blood coming out of the tube inserted in her mouth as the doctor pumps her heart. I tried to speak but the only word I uttered is “ Mommy…” I held my tears… I called her once again hoping that she will hear me and know that she is not alone in her battle. I told her “Mommy nandito na po ako.” But seeing how she suffered, I closed my eyes and prayed, “Lord, ikaw na po ang bahala sa Mommy ko” as I opened my eyes, the doctor declared, “The patient expired at about 11:10am.” I cannot regain my thoughts, I can’t even cry, all I know is I went home to take care of my Mom but right in front of me she was declared dead. All I can remember at that moment was I gave my Mom my embrace which I know she haven’t felt anymore. I stayed embracing her until the nurse came back to wrap her in a white cloth.

There I recalled how I chose to attend the Saturday inspection over that conversation with her. I recalled how I chose the 6:45 flight over the 5:45 to save for pasalubong which she was not able to taste anymore. I recalled how I chose to eat breakfast at the airport over calling my Dad immediately; I should have able to see her alive and she should have able to see me before her last breath. I could have done more for her after all my Mom is the key that unites our whole family.

Indeed, there are lots of missed opportunities but if we know what matters most to us then definitely we can do more and give more and love more, let’s make the best out of it. Let us not suffer the pain of regret because surely all things will fall on its proper place in God’s precious time.

Moving forward, we still do the things we usually do with our Mom when she was still alive indeed; her death made us to love each other more. We are also thankful that we still have our supportive Dad besides us who still attends on our shortcomings. Though I and my sisters are already at the right age, we still take care of each other as Mom taught us. We had just celebrated Mother’s Day with gratefulness in our hearts and get out together with gladness. But there is one thing we always asked each other and that is how is Mom doing up there while we are doing things here… we hope she still looking over us and smiling back when we miss her.