Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and for this reason I am sharing in full the article I wrote for the book dedicated to mothers, which I co-authored with several others. We first launched this book, as an e-Book, on Mother’s Day in May this year.
Mommy: My Beloved Rose in Heaven
It has been five years, four months since God called my Mom back to His heavenly kingdom. Mommy, named Rose, was also a strong, faithful devotee of Mama Mary. This makes her more special and my memories of her more fragrant.
My Mom, you see, was born on the feast day of the Queenship of Mary – one of the most popular Marian feasts in the Catholic Church. Years later, she and Dad, a Marian devotee too, wanted to wed on the feast of our Lady of Lourdes. But because the Church prohibits (yes until today) weddings on feast days, they got married a day after. As if that was not enough, Mommy passed on to her eternal home on the anniversary of the Miracle of Fatima (or Miracle of the Sun), again another day associated with Mama Mary.
So with that, let me recount a few vivid images I cherish about my Mom and the lessons she imparted to me that make up her total essence. Each recollection is a lump in my throat as it brings me back to my sacred past.
First, from my childhood:
I see Mom close beside me waiting for me to open my eyes, one birthday morning when I was six or seven, so she could be the first to greet me. She made me feel extra special that day. She did this too, to each of my eight siblings on their birthdays.
Mom speaking to my shy, grade school self, telling me, “Marichu, you are bright, intelligent.”
Still to my shy, self-conscious grade self, I see Mom boosting my morale and telling me, “Marichu, you are ‘kayumangging-kaligatan’ pang- Miss International yan.”
Mom, you see, was fair of complexion, and so were my sisters. At the time, I was so aware of my brown complexion, the butt of teasing from classmates and friends who had lighter skin.
These pieces of memory show the significance of a mother’s edifying, reassuring love and belief in her child. It paved the way for me to grow more self-confident, comfortable in my own uniqueness.
More memories of Mom from my growing up years come to mind.
I remember Mom teaching my younger siblings and me to sing and draw; encouraging us to read books, and ingraining in us a love for reading. She would always tell us we already had a complete home library because we had the Bible, a big volume of the Complete Works of Shakespeare (that I still keep), and the Dictionary.
Yes, I grew up reading the dictionary as if it were a storybook. Mom had passed on to me the love for words, as well. I still see her at our dining table between chores, writing poems for my Dad while he was still at work. Mom was a schoolteacher of Pilipino and English before marrying Dad, so her love for literature and languages spilled on to me I guess.
Mom, together with Dad, established early on our daily family tradition of praying together before dinner, and eating together as well. Mom made sure everyone was present for prayers and meals because this is how a family can stay together. This family tradition endured throughout my parents’ lifetime. In our own homes, the tradition of praying lives on. Being a devotee of Mama Mary, Mom instilled in us a love for the Holy Rosary, aside from the family prayers she composed.
Still clear to me is the image of Mom being well- groomed with a special misty sweet scent, even though she was home, taking care of her large brood. Until into her mid 80’s, she carried herself with elegance, prompting my Dad once to gush how beautiful as a rose she truly was.
I admire Mom’s way of growing herself. A full-time homemaker, yet she made sure to develop her own interests and hobbies as well. She read a lot, kept abreast with current events, and enjoyed spending the evenings listening to Dad regaling her with his day at work.
So, that’s Mom. A woman of deep, abiding love for family and for God – through firm yet gentle words and actions, she reared, disciplined, and molded us the way a schoolteacher, a principal, and a formator in the convent would. Thus, she helped produced a contemplative nun (a Pink Sister) and a diocesan priest from among us.
Growing up, I saw Mom evolved and my relationship with her deepened. Now, Mom was no longer a mere authority figure for me. She became my friend and confidante in a motherly way, especially during the biggest crisis in my life.
I saw her transformed into a doting, sometimes indulgent, loving grandmother. At this stage, having already a nun and a priest in the family, Mom became even more prayerful. With more time in her hands, she served God in the Church as a member of the Apostleship of Prayer.
One funny thing about Mom though was her penchant for shopping – like a child out to buy a new toy. Yet, that was also what made her human and adorable in my eyes.
Then the most defining moments of Mom’s character came during her final days at home, and on her deathbed at the hospital. Suffering from so much physical pain from a huge growth in her abdomen, she could only moan – in prayer! She would recite, over and over, invocations such as, Lord, forgive us! Lord heal us, O Merciful God!” So fellow patients in the ER, as well as her attending nurses and doctors could only look at her with astonishment. In the face of death, she showed fortitude.
All these precious memories are Mom’s legacy to me – the way she brought us up in faith and love, as well as her total abandon to God’s Compassion and Mercy in the midst of suffering and death. These are the enduring lessons Mommy showed me, which I hope other mothers out there can emulate in their own ways.
NOTE: To order your copy of either the eBook format or the printed book, or both, kindly let me know in the comment box below, and I will e-mail the payment details. Thank you.