Memories for my Mother – (for Book on Inspirational Stories)

By: DURANO LAWAYAN

At an age where only memories could uplift her spirits, my mother was denied this one final chance at relief. She was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and passed away on December 2, 2005.

The ailment began to manifest itself in 1992, a few months after my father’s death. The images she nurtured in her mind all seemed to blur as`the stages progressed. Relatives theorized that her will to continue waned when the only man she loved passed `away. My concerns then were not on theories but on the fact that my mother was losing us, the children and grandchildren she had cared for and dedicated her life to – not in the physical sense, but in the meaning of all she had endured for us all – to see us successfully through. It is those memories of the efforts she exerted, whether we showed appreciation for these or thoughtlessly took for granted, that would provide the most meaningful reason for her existence. Yet these were continuously eaten away by an irreversible malaise that championed her plight into oblivion. She was almost unknown to herself.

She died without recognizing any of us, nor her grandchildren, even at very close range. On several occasions, she would ask who we were , forgetting our response to the same query a few seconds ago. It often reminded me of a period in 1973, when even at a far distance, she recognized me and I could instantly feel her longing to hug me; despite being barred by soldiers and a wired fence, looking so gaunt, bruised, unclean and unrecognizable from loss of weight and psychological pain. I could feel the hurt etched in her eyes and see the tears welling her face, and I began to recognize the agony she went through, the pain of not knowing for several months whether I was alive or dead. The only positive factor the ailment brought was that she lost the painful events that transpired in the course of her struggle, to direct our lives the best way she knew how. It is a most bitter irony for her to be denied the joy of remembering that we all made it, in spite of ourselves and the depth of our youthful flaws. She lived in us but we faded in her. In a lot of instances, we were the closest strangers in her world, a world that increasingly became strange to her.

My mother was a natural soprano and she could liven up an evening with songs. She also delighted in seeing us perform and dance to the music of our generation, and adapted to singing and memorizing the lyrics of the 60’s and 70’s genre of artists and songs. In 2001, I bought her a karaoke machine and programmed it with songs she used to sing. What was uncanny was that she would start talking about events as a song was played. It gave proof that the songs which were such a part of her life allowed the flow of memories which were attached to it. Thus began my nightly concerts with my mother. We`were later joined by my kids and her other grandchildren. But the songs she chose to sing moved from the 60’s to the 40’s, until she could no longer sing any of those we programmed into the unit. Her disease was progressing fast.

On that final night, we tucked her to bed as she hummed an old folk song in her native dialect which we never heard of. She died in her sleep. But I was grateful for what memories returned when she played the karaoke unit. I was happy that even in fleeting moments, she was able to savor the mirth of the union with her family under the pleasant atmosphere of peaceful existence and carefree celebrations. I was extremely thankful that even in those rarest of times and tiniest of instances, she was my mother, and I her son.

My only lament was that I was unable to add more to her fondest memories when she was still in a position to remember. I am however assuaged by the fact that in some magical way, I was able to bring memories for my mother.

As always, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DURANO LAWAYAN of The Spitting Vessel is one writer I admire so much.

I know my description would not be sufficient to describe this brilliant, dynamic writer.

He writes about anything and everything under the sun, with such fluency and audacity. Yes, he writes from the heart and expresses his thoughts-no matter what. This extraordinary ability demonstrates a person who have been exposed to a lot of varied life experiences.

You should visit his blog to understand what I mean.

Thanks again Durano, for contributing to my soon to be published book – “Inspirational Stories of Bloggers All Over the World.”

18 thoughts on “Memories for my Mother – (for Book on Inspirational Stories)

  1. Beautiful story Durano. Your mother was a true beauty. Its amazing that songs would allow her a respite from that dreadful disease. I think, Alzheimer disease to be one of the worst ones to have to suffer. To lose those memories and feelings of identity seems so punishing.

  2. Hi Eric,

    It is a beautiful story indeed. It brought a tear to my eye. I remember the heartwrenching movie ” The Notebook” by this post. Alzheimer’s is a dreaded condition.

    This story is also beautifully written by Durano.

    Were you one of those who got young idealists in during the martial law years? I had created several short stories about those events. Perhaps you can give me tips for my on going novel.lol…

    There is also one similar article that I remembered from this, that of Ken about his mom:

    http://www.kenwriting.com/2008/10/littlest-duet.html

    These are stories that should be shared with other bloggers.

    Thanks Durano and kudos to you.

    And Eric, thanks for the visit. I always look forward to your meaty and significant comments. I may need your help in the future about my template.

    I’m sure Durano will respond to your comment when he gets to read it.

    Happy blogging.

  3. Dear jena, thank yor publishing this wonderful article.

    Dear durano. While reading your text I remebered the pain of loosing a loved person. How sad that you mother lost her memories. And how wonderful that you recalled lovingly so much of the impressive sides of your mother..
    Blessings

  4. Hi Jenaisle,

    Thank you for generously publishing this post, I thought all along that it would simply be included in your book. This is really a pleasant and unexpected surprise.

    There are many stories and first hand experience on those years of martial law – that was the time I was a college student with one semester left before graduating. Those memories are too painful to recall and I’d rather desist from remembering – much less talk about them. Maybe at some point, I will.

    Hi Eric,

    It is a cruel disease and the saddest part is that the afflicted don’t even know they have a disease. In their world, they see people only as familiar, and later strange. Fear must grip them each morning when they see nothing remotely resembling a part of their life or their past.

    Their memories move backwards up to the point when they were about 5 or 7 years old. They probably feel that way too, and yet search vainly for their playmates or seek to be playing but can’t move as fast as they know they could.

    Hi Ray,

    I don’t really write about personal matters and my blog is basically a commentary on political, economic and social issues. But such memories are embedded in me and I loved my mother a lot. What brought on this urge to write about her for Mother’s Day was perhaps an expression of what I had long wanted to say but chose to keep within.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a vry demonstrative person and I openly communicate with my kids, but there are just some feelings and stories I want to keep close to my chest. It’s my personal treasure. And occasionally, I do find the moment to express these correctly. Thanks for the comment and the kind words about my mom.

    🙂 –Durano, done!

  5. Durano, your mother is very beautiful. She looks like an artista. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I know that I disagree with you on politics, but I certainly can not disagree with you on this very tender and poignant story, which is a great tribute to your late mother. You’re a good son. Kudos to you for making time for your mother, even during the times that she couldn’t remember you anymore. Awesome post!

    Tasha

  6. Hi Ray, thanks for the visit. Yes, this is a touching story. It is an article worth including in my inspirational book. Thanks for dropping by.

    Happy blogging.

  7. Hi Durano,

    I first publish it here and then later in the upcoming book. My target date for publication would be August 1, 2009. It would be a self-published book, But who knows what can happen in the future?

    Thanks for this contribution. I appreciate it a lot, and happy blogging.

  8. Thanks jena and durano for this story.Tumayo ang mag balahibo ko sa katawan.What a beautiful story.I will share this story to my children.

  9. Hi fatherly yours,

    Thanks for the visit. It is indeed a touching story; my eyes were moist while I was reading it.

    Nanays are always the best.

    Happy blogging.

  10. Hi Tashabud,

    Thanks for the kind words and the compliments to my mom.

    There are lots of things even people who love each other cannot agree on, but it does not mean caring is diminished because of it. In my personal and professional relationships, I rarely talk about politics and religion, it’s the fastest way to make enemies! LoL!

    I only discuss these topics when I know the other party exercises tolerance of others’ beliefs and opinions. In some instances, I simply resort to question asking to see how deeply the other person understands what he says or what he promotes. In a lot of cases, they contradict themselves and get entangled in their own ignorance. Being armed with facts and evidence , not innuendo is always important.:-)

    As for being a good son, thanks. I know I could have been better, but regrets are always on hindsight.

    Thanks for reading the post and the I hope you become a part of the rebuilding of the GOP base. Their fiscalizing role is critical in a Democracy, especially now that control is in the hands of a single party. 🙂 –Durano, done!

  11. Hi Fatherlyours,

    I like the username that you have, it suggests something positive and caring.

    Thanks for the compliment. She was a “mother” in all the noble things that word could mean. The saddest part is that we became “her strangers” in her final moments.

    Have a nice day. 🙂 –Durano, done!

  12. Thanks Durano for replying to their comments.

    I can see that your story would be a very good contribution to the Inspirational book. I’m glad you allowed me to include it.

    Take care and happy blogging.

  13. I remember reading this on your blog Durano and it moved me immensely ….congratulations on your guest post!!

    the notebook was certainly heartwrenching Jena…have you seen the film Away from her…starring Julie Christie???
    this book is a great idea…and I wish you every success 🙂

  14. Thank you Durano for sharing your story, and your mum’s.

    As I said, you rarely talk about yourself and I was glad to read this beautiful story.

  15. Hi Kim,

    Yes, I cried a lot in the movie the notebook. I haven’t watched Away from her, however. Now that you mentioned it, I’m curious to watch. Perhaps I’ll borow it in the future. Thanks for dropping by.

    Happy blogging.

  16. Hi Zhu,

    Yes, i agree with you. This is a wonderful article from Durano as he rarely talks about himself.

    We are lucky to have read this. Cheers and happy blogging.

  17. Hi Kim,

    This is rather a late reply here. I’m pleased you remembered. It’s a very private part of me that found expression at just the right moment I suppose. Thanks again. 🙂 –Durano, done!

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