My Lanie is gone, and if I may borrow from William Wordsworth, “Oh, the difference to me!” I got a text message from her telling me of her heartbreak with her only child, a son.
Lanie went home at this unusual time for her son’s graduation from grade school, only to find out he had failed four subjects. Her own world was turned upside down and, consequently, mine and Vergel’s, too!
Lanie is, in effect, a solo parent, left by a husband never to be heard from again. She’s working and, I must add, living for her boy. Maybe that’s the first fatal mistake made by mothers.
Lanie has been with me for at least 12 years. Maybe I should be grateful, and move on.
For a few days I couldn’t imagine life without her. Ah, that sounds like a fatal mistake in itself. Two weeks without her is about as long as we could take, at our ages, or so I thought. I felt orphaned, someone had been removed from my life, and that created a void.
But, living with it a day at a time, I have begun to accept my new situation, and surprise myself that I have been slowly stepping up. I relearn where things are again at home, what’s inside those cabinets, which trapos are for what, what color-coded sponges by the kitchen sink correspond to what, how to use the washer and time the dryer for efficiency. I’m learning how to make it without someone who, like a mom, dedicated her days to my needs.
In the course of my adjustment I’ve rediscovered my freedom as well as my confidence around the house again. I put things back in their places, I don’t use as many glasses to drink my required fill of liquid for the day. I’m becoming a minimalist, getting more organized, even about my movements. Despite some memory lapses, I’m able for the most part to make every step count to prevent repetitions and useless movements.
I do forget things, like my cellphone, usually when it’s charging. I sometimes go blank, not knowing what I stood up so urgently for, but, mercifully, it comes back to me—that’s why I can still laugh about it.
Mother of All Mothers
Before the situation became too grim, I saw the benefits of my loss and accepted it with gratitude. Apparently, that was enough for our own spiritual mother, Mary, one of whose feast days, as it happens, we will celebrate tomorrow, because I got another text from Lanie: she promised to be back as soon as she had enrolled her son in a school with a stricter system against truancy. She even gave me a date.
Now, I feel better prepared to deal with changes in my life—changes that are bound to come. My own earthly mother, gone now but still a visitor in spirit and in my recollections, has always been an inspiration. But, in these times of delicate and desperate moral decision-making, I shall put my trust in the Mother of All Mothers. Especially tomorrow, she shall be in my heart.
It cannot be a mere coincidence that we go to the polls on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima—she who left us messages alerting us to God’s wrath if we did not change our ways, but who, at the same time, reassured us of her protection and love if we continued praying the rosary.
Oh, is Mama Mary all the Mother we need at this time! And to honor her, I will vote as a Catholic, mother, grandmother, Filipino, and citizen of the moral world. Yes, simply and unmistakably, we are called upon to make the moral choice. And we seniors, who ought ourselves to have become mothers not only to our children but to our younger fellowmen needful of our care and guidance, are called upon to supply that.
It seems a mother’s job is never done. Maybe that’s why I still attend political rallies and, outside these, campaign on my own. It can be a cruel world, indeed, without mothers, but an even crueler world with the sort of father this nation has found.