Holding On

I held on to several of my mom’s stuff when I was clearing out her closet.  Some blouses that reminded me of her, nightdresses that she made herself, 2 or 3 exquisite gowns, her favourite shoes, the last fitflop she wore, scarves … at that time I thought it was just a few.  But last week as I was looking at the stuff I set aside, I thought – this is a lot.

I finally wrapped all of my mom’s formal gowns to be given to a cousin who is the same size as my mom.  All her nightdresses for my aunt.  I pared down the clothes I set aside for myself.  I think I’ve held on long enough.  It is time to slowly let go.  Eventually I will just keep 4 or 5 small tokens.  I mean what purpose would it serve keeping an outdated blouse?

It’s time to stop holding on to my mom’s belongings.  Memories are good enough.  She will always be in my heart.  She is more than the material things she amassed.

Because I love you

Even if it goes against what I believe in; even if I think love should not be like this I will do what you hope I will do if only to make you feel better.

To see you smile and feel light.  To see dark shadows chased away from your face.  To see you content and at peace.  Yes, for that I am willing to change.  

When at first I decided to do so, I was sad because I thought I would not be true to myself.  I thought I would be cheating myself.  But now that I have made up my mind to do so, surprisingly I feel good.  Not great. That would have been too much.  But good.  I feel hopeful. 

Yes I love you.  Though you may never understand the values that have shaped me and molded me, I do love you.  It may not be the passionate I will die for you love, but I will be there for you always.  I love you, regardless of what you feel for me.  

You are hurt by my actions, for that I am truly sorry but not sorry enough to say I was wrong because my beliefs can not see the evil in my actions.  We are different and yet in some ways we are also alike.  I do not expect you will understand my beliefs, I am not even hopeful.  But it does not matter because I understand you and I will compromise my beliefs for you.  

After all what is freedom and being true to myself if it means I do so without you?  I would rather a compromised life with you than an exciting honest life without you.

Platitudes

An acquaintance of my mom’s was here a while back.  After the purpose of her visit was concluded, she made small talk.  She talked about my mom and how it’s too bad she wasn’t able to get to know my mom better.  She mentioned how it was so sad how my mom passed on. 

I was, during this time, just humoring her since I really do not know her.  And then she winds up the small talk by telling me, but it’s ok.  I’m sure she’s in a good place and she won’t have to suffer anymore.  Well.  I raised my eybrows to that.  Being a well-bred lady, I nodded and agreed with her.  And tried to wrap up the small talk as quickly as possible.

Why do most people presume that we want to hold on to a dying loved one?  Why should they presume that we didn’t want to let our mom go?  Maybe that is how THEY would feel and they presume that other people are like them.

I for one do not think that life in this world is all that great.  It is not worth hanging on to.  If it’s my time, it’s my time.  Some people would call me heartless but my mom’s death was accepted.  There was no wailing, no denial.  My mother had always impressed on us that family members who cry and wail as one lays dying is what delays the soul’s release.   We released our mother to the new world with some sadness but we knew that it is her destiny and we will not make it difficult for her soul to move on.  We encouraged her to move on, to not worry about us.  It was peaceful.

Just last night I dreamt of my mom.  We were in a hair salon and she smiled when I came in.  She asked me what I was up to.  I still do miss her sometimes but dreams like this where she is smiling and in a good mood cheer me up.

Platitudes.  Sometimes they rankle me.  I’m just glad that I rarely am in the receiving end.

Proud of my Son

A cousin congratulated me when she learned eldest son got into one of the more prestigious university in our country.  “You must be proud of him”, she said.

I smiled.  But I was struck with the words she chose.  Proud.  

Not really.  I was happy when I learned eldest son was accepted.  Still am happy.  But pride in this kind of achievement?  No.  When eldest son was chosen to represent his high school at a citywide general information contest and got into the finals, I also didn’t feel pride.

What am I proud of?  I am proud that eldest son is generous with his talents and time.  I am proud that he sacrifices his free time to tutor his classmates in subjects that they have difficulty in.  I am proud that he is patient with his brother.  And best of all, I am proud that he accepts his heritage and tries to learn it.  That is what I am proud of.  That he is becoming a responsible fine young man.

More than academic excellence, what he is as a person is what matters in the long run.  I have seen how academic or athletic excellence strays by the wayside in this marathon of life.  When he is a full fledged adult, it is how he interacts with other people and how he carries himself that will make me smile and declare to one and all – Yep, that’s my son.

Guava

Image

Guava from Taiwan, similar to the guava of my youth

Cousin shared his loot of guava from Taiwan.  It was reddish inside and soft.  Sweet too.  Like the guava of my youth.  The guava proliferating now has crisper flesh and seeds and is whitish.  The guava now is actually a guapple, a cross between a guava and an apple.  As O would derisively say:  an apple with a weird taste.

Cousin ate two slices and gave the rest to me.  Told him I couldn’t finish that much.  Just take it he says.

And what do you know.  Despite my tender lower teeth, I finished the whole bunch albeit gingerly.  Sweet.  It certainly was a fruity weekend.

Image

halfway done

Feast

Image

Pineapple hidden behind the flowers. Durian was served later

O and I attended a national convention in Davao City, which is at the southernmost tip of the country.  There was only one word I could use to describe the dinner feast for the last night of the convention – food bacchanalia.

We sat to a dining table where the floral centerpiece was surrounded by fruits.  Bananas, oranges, coconut, pineapple, rambutan, lanzones, mangosteens, pomelos and mangoes.  Durian chocolates and fresh durian were also served after dinner.

And when dinner was announced, there was crabs, abalones, sea cucumbers, grilled tuna jaw, tuna belly, tuna sashimi, an Indian section with nan, roti, lamb biryanis, chili tiger prawns and chicken rendang.  And a host of others that I didn’t bother looking at.

When there are too many choices, my mind rebels.  I ended up eating only a few of the main course and stuffed myself with the fruits.

But I had to take a photo of the fruits.  Never have I seen so many varieties of fruits in front of me.

It’s Time

There comes a time in a woman’s life when she will prefer comfort over beauty.  I fear that time is getting close.  Several months back, I wore the below heels to a wedding.  By the end of the night, even if I was sitting most of the time, I vowed it would the last of the 4in (still the english system here in the Philippines) heels for me.  Feet are not supposed to arch this much!

Image

This particular pair is now in my to-give-away closet, together with 3 other 3-in heels.  

As late as mid last year, I still enjoyed wearing super high heels to work.  But the start of 2014 has seen me more and more in 2 to 2.5in heels.  I no longer see the virtue in suffering to look good.

Bye bye 3 and 4-inch heels!