My Mother



My mother was hospitalised again in the middle of last month.  As she would get panicky if she is left alone, my sister, brother and I took turns so one of us would always be with her for 3 weeks but she passed away on the 9th of this month, she was 84 years old.


After the funeral, I stayed with my husband in Kobe for 2 nights but I spent the following few days with my sister and brother going out for lunch or tea, making dinner together, talking about our mother and got back to Singapore in the evening on Friday last week.


It was a year and a half since she first got hospitalised and my brother looked after her at home most of the time with my sister’s help (and mine when I was there).  It was hard work for everyone but I also feel that this year and a half was given as a present to us. We had never spent so much time with our mother since we were grown-ups until then and we shared lots of tender and funny moments dunking this time.  When she was in hospital the first time, she told each of us and also to nurses how happy she was being looked after by her children, and I know she felt loved by us.  As she went up and down often during that time, I feel we sort of got prepared for losing her little by little, too.  She didn’t suffer too much at the end and things could have gone much worse  – we don’t know if she would have had good enough quality of life even if she recovered again this time.


Of course, I cannot help thinking “I wish we took her to the hospital earlier the first time, she wouldn’t have become so ill”, or “I wish I spent more time with her” or “I wish I took her to places when she was still able to get out” etc, etc but I most likely would have thought these things whatever I did or didn’t do – that’s human nature.  Every time when these thoughts come up, I tell myself “She said how happy she was being looked after by us. Isn’t that enough?”


I lived far away for so many years that I sometimes still feel she is there in her apartment, but I’m sure my sister and brother are finding it much harder as everything reminds them of her.  I’m very grateful and thankful that they looked after her so well.  I’m also grateful for my husband, who always supported me and never complained even though I was in Japan many weeks at a time quite a few times in the past one and a half years.  I believe my mother was very happy being looked after by her children.


I am full of gratitude to the nurses who were always so good to my mother in hospital (though not every one of them was), the rehabilitation guy who gave so much encouragement to my mother and support to us, and the nursing helper who would come to see my mother once a week at home and cheered up my other by her sunny nature.   We were not so lucky with the doctor but so many people helped us.


The photo is of the bouquet that a friend of mine gave me yesterday to show her sympathy.  My mother loved flowers but we couldn’t have them around her because she started having asthma attacks a year or so ago.  If there is a heaven, I believe my mother would be surrounded with beautiful flowers that she loved, playing with my sister’s dog that passed away about 2 years ago, watching TV programmes that she loves, drinking beer and eating something she loves.  Right now, I cannot help remembering her when she was struggling to breathe, which breaks my heart, but I try to remember her smiling and laughing as that’s what she is doing now, she is not struggling to breathe any more.


Although I’ve always believed that enjoying little things in our every day life is very important, I haven’t been able to really put my mind to things like cooking, entertaining, making cards, arranging tables, etc in the last year and a half because they seem to mean nothing when I had such a big worry.  I cannot say that has changed yet, but I hope as time goes I will be able to enjoy these things again.





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