a Letter to Mummy

departed on 11 June 2011

We wish to express our appreciation for the kindness and caring support that we received from Relatives, Friends, Business Associates, Doctors and Nurses from NUH and Dr Teo TCM clinic, Dr Ng Wai Cheong, chanting group from cakavalla, buddhist fellowship and wat ananda.

Our heartfelt thanks to all the people who offered their care, concern and prayers in difficult times. We know Gloria will appreciate your kind gestures. She spoke often of her love towards her relatives and outstanding friendships with many of you. The generous contributions made will be donated to Ajahn Brahm Bodhinyana Monestary in Perth. As you know Gloria always supported Ajahn Brahm, it would have meant a lot to her to know that so many contributions were made.

Sadhu Sadhu, Sadhu.

Dear Mummy

It has been 21 months since you passed on but I finally found the courage to come to terms with it today. My life was never the same again after June 11th. 
I think about you a lot and there’s so much I wish I can say to you. As I find time today, I promise to finish this eulogy which is way overdue. You deserve a tribute for being the wife and mother you had been. Something you should have heard from us while you were alive. I want you to know mummy, if our family had ever been unhappy, it is our fault and not yours. We were the ones who had been unkind and petty. Your love for us was magnanimous. It was unconditional. A love I have never understood before being a mother myself.
As a child, I remember you holding a camera in hand and taking pictures of me [all the time]. I would pose for you as you count 1 – 2 – 3. Then one day, I didn’t find it fun anymore. In fact I hated the camera so much I sulk every time you whip the camera out of your bag. I would even roll my eyes at you and say, “Stop It will you?”. Today, my dearest mummy, I’m doing the same to my son. It is only now, as a mother, I realise the driving factor behind all these picture-taking. Love. For one day, you anticipate opening that photo album to remember your little May when she was 2 months old, 2 years old and yes, even at 20. 
I had been rude to you. 
I was foolish.
As a teen, I secretly blamed you for not being home during my growing up years. Why did I have to be taken care of by a Filipino helper? Where were you when I needed you most? I swore to be the main caregiver of my own child in future and shower him/her with my love even if I had nothing. Like you heard my inner voice, you retired when I was 14 to start spending time with me. By then, I was a rebellious youth. I made things hard for us all at home. I didn’t think you have fulfilled your duty as a mother. I am very sorry to think of you this way mummy and with this thought, I have not fulfilled my duty as your daughter. Like many mothers who want a better future for their children, they work. They had to work. I am counting my blessings every day as we sustain our current lifestyle with Ewan in tow. You sacrificed your time with me in the past to work hard for this future I have now. One I can share with my son and not having to worry too much about income.
I had been rude to you.
I am sorry.
As a young woman, I understood you better. We shopped, brunched and holidayed together. Still, I chided you for being greedy. You are always in the line to get free cupcakes, free parking, free vouchers and free things that we do not need. You said, “Loo Peng likes this.”, “Loo Yi will be happy with free Starbucks voucher.”, “Get free parking for daddy.”, “I don’t know who wants this but hey it’s FREE!“. Everybody in the family gained from your resourcefulness and they were happy. But I hated it because you would collect receipts (that aren’t yours) and claim the points at shopping centres. I have a very strong conviction of black and white – do not take what is not yours. And it could have grown on me because you were so grey with your rules in life. So yes, I do not like to buy lottery because I believe we should work for everything we own and not welcome money falling from the sky (my husband thinks I am crazy). Yes, I must admit. I am a stickler to black and whites. With you not abiding to my rules, upsets me. My bad. Point is, if cheap thrill makes you happy, why should I be angry? 
I had been rude to you.
I am ashamed.
As a caregiver during your cancer years, I had to battle with my emotions. I quit my job and dedicated the last 1.5 years to you. Giving you all the love I can ever give. We went in and out of NUH every day for your treatments. You fought many tears and loneliness. I promised myself to give you the best but I met my breaking point. During this time, I took up another degree, I counselled and tutored the kids at Singapore Children Society and I volunteered at Children Cancer Foundation. Eventually, I had to seek help from a counsellor myself because I started blaming you for your cancer, for your crankiness, for daddy’s absence and for my tiredness. I am thankful I sought help. Only then did I see the beauty inside you. Only then, I stopped volunteering because the only person that needed real help was you. Every single person I know tells me the same thing, “You have a an amazing mother. Life was not easy for her and she struggled her way through to sanity. You should be very proud of her.” And I was. I am thankful you told Shuyun and Beverly that despite my stubbornness, you know that I love you dearly. I am thankful because when Beverly told me this at your wake, I broke down in relief. 
I had been rude to you [yes, even through tough times].
I am grateful you continue to give us 7 years of love despite the pain you went through.
As a mother, I want you to know that I am very proud of you. Despite all odds, you gave your everything to this home you built. Yes, the best dish you’ve ever cooked was maggie mee but that should not determine you a failure as a woman. Our definition of a woman, a wife and a mother should not circle around cooking, caring or cleaning. It is so much more than that. You have been hurt so many times by the words daddy and I have uttered. Like a knife that stabbed you in the heart and made a twist, you forgive us so readily. Before the wound healed, it got stabbed again and again you forgave. Thank you for being magnanimous. Your heart is so full and big, we must be embarrassed to even think bad of you in any way. 
You finally decided to let us go on 11th June 2011. 
You had enough and we were all very tired. 
I told you I love you at your deathbed. I am lucky.
For Meyer, I thank you mummy for treating him like your own. You loved him like a son and not an in-law. You call him every morning to chat with him and wish him a good day ahead. You remember his birthday, you remember his favourite food and you even remember the length of his shoulder. I will strive to be a mother-in-law like you had been. No questions asked. Just love, unconditionally.
If you were here today, you will be blessed to know that Ewan will also return your love with his chuckles. 
Your daughter,
May May


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