“Have courage and be kind, Darling..”


My mother used to tell me this when I was little. Back then I couldn’t really fathom its depth, neither what it meant to me, nor how it would have an impact in my life. Until a surprising event altered our lives—and my life as an only child.

Let me tell you a short story. A story of my life.

My mother was a chain-smoker and a frustrated writer. She didn’t get to publish her creations, but to me she was the best writer in the world. She has written countless fiction stories that she would read to me during bed time. She’s so creative, her imagination is limitless. She told me I was her inspiration, that most of the qualities of the protagonists in her stories are the ones she hoped I would have one day when I grew up. Sadly, I didn’t get any of them. I grew up disappointing her for being the girl who did not possess such character of a princess of strength. I just couldn’t be who she wanted me to be. I tried, but I failed. Expectations unmet, promises undelivered. I promised her I will continue what she has unfinished. That I will write stories that will change the world. But I couldn’t, I just couldn’t do it.

She would usually say, “Write a novel and put your heart in it. A fiction with words that would speak of love and inspiration.” Not the exact same words and tone of voice because for sure, she would have said it better. She’s my idol, but I despise the idea that she smokes two pack of cigarettes a day. She said that it helps her become more creative, hence I wasn’t able to do anything to stop her.

Unfortunately, it has taken its heavy toll on her.

Fast forward to today, my mother couldn’t even remember me. She has Stage 4 breast cancer and dementia, as per the doctors, which they said has nothing to do with her smoking that much cigs. How come? And why her? Every single day from the time we found out she was very sick, I have anticipated the nightmare of losing her and being alone. I’m scared, really scared. Nevertheless, I’m happy that she’s still with me, that I could take care of her, even though my Idol in her was now gone.

She would usually call me Ella or Mina, some of the girls from her stories. And then last night, I came home and saw her lying in her bed, staring blankly out of nowhere. I took advantage of that moment to study her, to remember all the memories we have shared when she was still sane. I felt that pinch in my heart, like a stab in the chest, but no blood came out. I then wished my mum comes back, even just for a short while, I murmured.

And even before the tears run down, she looked at me as if she’s calling me to come right beside her. So I did. I held her hand and closed my eyes as I rub them in my cheeks. My way of telling her how much I miss her and her bedtime stories. And when her left hand brushed my hair, I could no longer hold the tears from falling. They fell hastily like a bird who needs freedom. I freed all the tears my eyes could release. And she spoke to me the words she would always tell me when I was young:

“Have courage and be kind, Darling..” she wiped my tears and smiled after saying those words. My wish was granted. My mother’s sanity was back, she’s back and she remembered me!

Ah, really? Guess not…

“Ella, call your father and tell him the dinner is ready!”, she said in peremptory fashion, just like how Ella’s mother in her stories would do. I just sighed in utter frustration. Subsequently, she kept on coughing non-stop, I quickly prepared a glass of water and searched for her meds—there I saw a bunch of them scattered in her drawers. My mother has been cheating, she hasn’t been taking her meds all this time. Guess she really wants to leave, to leave me, and she left me with such words that used to be blurry.

That same night, she closed her eyes, so peacefully I could almost see an angel giving her wings so she could fly.

And now that I’m alone, I get it. To have courage and to be kind would probably be the only thing I could instil in me, and this time, I won’t disappoint her.

I promise, Momma, I will have courage and be kind. Always. 



(This story was inspired by the Cinderella movie I just watched an hour ago through Fox Movies Channel. The title was mentioned several times it got stuck in my head I had to write it down this way. Thanks for reading!)

Image source: Pinterest

Fresh eyes (Part 1)

This is the most nerve-racking moment in her life. By the time she woke up, she felt like she slept in a pond of sweat. She hurriedly wiped it with her bare hands as soon as she saw a seemed-like-a-slow-mo drop of it from her chin down to her lap. She suddenly panicked so she rapidly got up from her tangled bed, threw away her blanket and ran towards the mirror. She was startled to see her reflection but at the same time she felt some sense of relief. She looked normal, no bruises, no wounds, no blood.

“It was just a dream, Amma, ok? It will never come to life.” She said to herself whilst zooming herself in and out, looking for some sort of physical damages, examining her face and her body in the mirror. She tried to lift herself up with those words of affirmation but she’s utterly aware of a familiar scary possibility.

It all started when she was 16. Amma lost her parents due to the famous 2011 suicide plane bombing.She has a 10 year old sister, at that time, named Emma, who just turned 17 last December. It’s been exactly seven years since they passed away but the effect of this tragic event is still fresh in her memory. That was also the time she realized her gift that she sometimes refer to as a curse—because Amma can’t help but to blame herself, she thought she could have used her gift to warn her parents about what she has seen in her dreams. She could have went there and informed everyone she knew what’s going to happen, heedless of  whether they believe her or not—she could have saved her parents and 100 more innocent lives. But she didn’t. For she knows it’s absurd to believe that she could see the future through her dreams.

The premonitons that show up when she’s asleep are not usually bad dreams per se. Oft times it’s good and funny and sexy but last night’s dream was intensely terrifying. In this dream, Amma saw herself drunk driving, on her way home, with an unknown guy in the passenger seat who was laughing crazily, a bottle of Nils Oscar beer in his right hand, his left on her hips and as he was about to kiss her, she saw a silhouette of a man who’s about to cross the street, so she quickly turned the steering wheel to her right, unable to anticipate the ten-wheeler truck coming in the same lane she’s in. The unknown guy shouted at her, Watch out!, but Amma recklessly lost control and then BAAAM!

To be continued…

(Photo credit to the owner)

The missing piece

For a moment, she closed her eyes. Even before she could open her mouth so she can tell Him her agonies, her heart spoke to her and said, He knows what you’re going through. It’s not something atypical, it’s a relatively old feeling. It usually happens to her when she starts overthinking, when she worries about tomorrow, when she’s incapable of adding words to form a message that could describe her current painful stage. God knows precisely what she’s thinking, what’s been bothering her. He told her, Just be patient.

She has almost everything she could ask for. But there’s only one thing that’s untraceable, nowhere to be found. It seems as though destiny has been playing with her heart for a quarter of a century now. She’s trapped in a list of several facets. She’s poisoned with a smell of false hopes. She’s blinded by some inauthentic human behaviour. Hence she’s literally clueless of how and where to find it.

God can read her mind. He knows how much she worries about finding it. He knows how confused she gets, everytime there’s divergent faces of options lined up before her eyes. He knows when to speak to her whenever she falls onto the ground. Just like what He did just today.

And she recurrently falls heavily—with so much gravity that pulls her down. He saw her almost drowning in her ocean of tears. Ironically, He heard a loud shriek from her but it carries no sound.

She cursed her whole being, overlooking the bountiful fruits that surround her. Oblivious to the flowers that bloom despite her pain. She forgets everything else whenever she remembers that piece of puzzle that seemed to be so tough to find.

She almost capitulated to the idea of finding it. She’s even quite uncertain if the piece exists in the first place.

And then she closed her eyes again. In a few seconds, the wind blew all the strength it has to be able to lift her. It destroyed the sinister scene she created due to the negative voices that broke her. It blew hard she was thrown on the surface of the universe and it hit her. It hit her hard. It was painful—but a kind of pain she needed to wake up from a live nightmare. Like ice cold water busted upon her dreary face. Like some electrical shots given to her at such a high frequency.

She was awoken by the wind God used as an instrument to remind her of the beauty of life. That it’s beautiful inspite the enigma of an incomplete puzzle. That the missing piece is just out there, that one day she’s going to be able to touch it—she just have to keep the faith.

(Photo grabbed from Pinterest)

Single forever

Carmelita is a 68 year old chinese woman who lived in Manila most of her life. She’s multilingual (English, Chinese & Tagalog) and was raised by her Chinese parents who used to operate a huge plantation of crops in Malaysia that is up and running until today despite his father’s death at year 2000 due to old age. Her mother died at age 48 due to Cancer and being the eldest among the five siblings, she took most of the responsibility in their family business and managed her father’s business affairs most especially the financial aspects because her father couldn’t speak the local language in Manila. To keep her background story short, Ma’am Mely (as how I address her) dedicated her whole life helping his father—took care of him when he was sick, looked after her younger siblings and decided to stay single forever. I asked her if there’s someone who tried to be with her and she answered me with a big YES and a wide smile in her face but her eyes were filled with regret. She told me there was a lawyer and an accountant who tried to win her heart but she gave me this apparent excuse that she was scared that they would not accept her for who she is, that maybe they would just get “turned off” by her, that she’s worried she’s too old for it because she was around 40 years old when they came. She then accepted her fate since. She decided she would stay single forever because she initially thought it’s okay, that she’s going to be okay alone.

When his father died and all her siblings got married, the pain of her decision commenced to become more intense, more intolerable, more obvious than it used to be. She opened up honestly how lonely she is and how hard it is to live alone. Whenever she got sick and the driver is not around, she would take her jacket and walk to the drugstore a mile away from where she lives, so she could buy herself a medicine, because no one else could do it for her. Although her siblings have often asked her to just live with them, she kept on refusing them because she feels like she’s going to be just a burden to them and admitted to me that she thinks it’s more painful to see them having a family of their own and feel sorry for herself for the decision she made for her life. She’s been living alone in that old gloomy house for almost 20 years and I felt the pain it has caused her. She told me she likes me so much that she wishes I am her daughter and she sincerely appreciate the time I gave her—because she said she badly needed someone to talk to. She kept on thanking me for listening to her repetitive story and apologized for it. I told her she shouldn’t apologize for it because I did enjoy the time I spent with her.

“Please don’t leave him because you’re very lucky you have someone to grow old with.” She said after we hugged before I had to leave for another client visit. Whilst I was driving away, I looked in my rear view mirror and I saw her waving goodbye like a mother who had to see her child leave because the school bus is already there. I felt deep within me that she wanted to be a mother, to be a wife, to have a family of her own. I have met several old maid well off clients but she was the only one who unhesitatingly confessed the unpleasant repercussion of living alone for the rest of her life. Perhaps not all them old maid feels the same way as Mely, but I’m certain that in one way or another, those people who chose to be single forever, felt lonely too.

I had to write about her story without her consent neither to announce the pity I have for her nor to make it look like staying single is bad. I wrote this so you could realize how blessed you are right now. If you have a family of your own or if you have someone who loves you and is willing to share his/her life with you, do not hesitate and stop overthinking about the negative sides of marriage or of having children—because I’m telling you, it’s better to endure the pain of getting hurt due to a quarrel or sleepless nights ’cause of your crying baby than the pain of living all by yourself. As the old clichéd saying proves: “No man is an island” and I couldn’t agree more to it.

I wish you start looking at your partner as a gift because perhaps not everyone is blessed to have met someone to love. You are loved and you have someone to kiss and hug, someone to share your thoughts with, someone to laugh with using a secret language only you two can understand, thus I hope you don’t take it for granted. Being single forever is a choice—but I wish you do something about it before you run out of time.