My Life in Ten Posts: My Mum (Part 7)

A son's relationship with his mum is always special.

It is said that the death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her.

I can’t agree more.

We all love our mothers.

But I have observed that most sons are closer to their mothers than with their dads.

Maybe Hans Eysenck was right. He said that boys tend to follow their mothers because the X gene is bigger than the Y gene, the male gene, so they have more of the mother’s qualities than the father’s. Girls have double Xs from the mother and the father, so they tend to have more of the father’s qualities.

My mother held “the empire” together.

She was the glue unifying our family.

Just like my paternal grandmother.

But unlike my paternal grandmother, my mother had a much greater sense of humor.

She wasn’t a fantastic cook all proverbial mums seem to be but the few great dishes for which she was known, I would gladly eat them every single day if I could.

Mother was generous to a fault.

When caught short of cash at hand she would even give her jewelry to needy relatives so that they could sell or pawn them. I remember a couple of relatives who would confide in my mum – they would be crying away, etc. My mum’s motto seemed to be “Life’s hard, help others” and she gave away everything she had – her money, her jewelry, a listening ear – to these relatives.

I shared everything with my mum.

Personal things that I would not share with my dad.

One of the sweetest vignettes that comes to mine is an early memory of my mum and I – as a young child, I would cuddle next to her as she sang lovely Mandarin songs from a songbook. That scene symbolized it all for me, it was an embodiment of what my mum meant to me. My mother was a source of comfort, a safe haven, a harbor from the storms of life, even in my adult years.

Unfortunately mother passed away nearly 20 years ago.

Not a single day has gone by since then when I don’t think of her.

Oh how I miss her!

Every time a significant event happened in my life – the birth of my two boys, the birth of my grandson, I would think to myself “How I wish mother is here to celebrate with us.”

I was very close to my mother.

I would confide in her.

I would seek solace from her.

The moment she passed away, I wanted to look for my mum to tell her.

It was only then when I realized that it was my mother herself who has just passed away.

I was distraught.

That realization hit me like a ton of bricks.

It was my mum with whom I shared my daily struggles.

It was my mum whom I turned to when I had problems with my dad.

It was my mum with whom I shared my girlfriend-related frustrations.

As a young man, I wept on my mum’s shoulders when a girl I was soon to marry passed away in a tragic accident.

My mum saw me through the most difficult moments of my life.

With my father, I held back, but with my mother, I let go.

Though sickly in her latter years, mum never denied me anything, never said no to me, and would always make time for me to hear me out, to endure my nonsense and to offer me words of wisdom and comfort.

There was no question that I’d loved my mother. It wasn’t a love borne out of familial obligation. She was a good mother, a good person, a very decent human being, and there were times when she was my best friend, if not my only friend. Those were the reasons I loved her.

Mum, you left us too soon.

They say time heals all wounds and in the larger scheme of things, 20 years is nothing.

I beg to disagree.

20 years is a heck of a long time.

It has been twenty very difficult years for me, mum.

Very difficult indeed.

It is as if I have lost a limb, a vital part of me.

The day of my mother’s funeral, a regal-looking moth came by.

Since then, I’ve seen a moth in my house every time I went through a rough patch.

Perhaps it was my mother’s way of telling me that she’s still looking out for me.

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