Happy birthday, Mommy!

2:31:00 AM

It's the fourth of July! And while I am one with the Americans as they commemorate their independence, I have a more personal reason to celebrate today - it's my mother's birthday!  She would have turned 56 today, had she not passed away in October 6, 2010 due to cancer. She battled the Big C for five months before her body finally gave up and succumbed to the disease.

I don't think I can say this enough: My mother is AWESOME. Or as Barney Stinson would say, she is LEGEND(wait for it)ARY. If I could at least be half the woman she is, then I would die happy and fulfilled. To me, she is a prime example of balance. She was both a successful career woman and a full-time mother. She was both a parent and a friend to me, and she knew exactly when to be one or the other. She is a loving mother, wife, sister and daughter. And a wonderful singer, too! To me, she was perfect.

My beautiful mother, Lisa - ten years before I was born
The news about her cancer spread quickly. Former bosses, colleagues, and subordinates, as well as a number of relatives and friends sent in whatever they could spare to help us pay for chemotherapy. I was not in the least bit surprised at how much people wanted to help. My mother was a good person, and she has touched so many lives. A former officemate even visited her at home once. The lady was very apologetic for not having money to give, but she promised to pray for my mother's recovery.

Days before her first chemotherapy session (she had three rounds before she passed away), we went to a small parlor in the neighborhood to get pampered. We were having our nails done when she noticed that she had a lot of white and grey hair. She wanted to have her mane dyed black, and I agreed to pay for it. But just as I was about to tell the attendant about it, we both remembered that she's bound to lose her hair anyway, so the treatment would be useless. We got a hearty laugh from that! :)
Mommykins with my nieces Pia and Panchy, about a week before her first chemo
She did lose her hair, and it made her sad because it was one of her many assets. My parents met in the 70s, and my father first noticed my mother because she had really long, beautiful, jet-black hair, and although she was short, she was a striking morena. (Side note: To this day, I still don't understand why she wanted to be whiter, when her skin color was absolutely beautiful!) He was smitten at first sight, and he completely fell in love when he got to know just how incredible my mother was on the inside as well. Who could blame him? :)
Still gorgeous, even without hair! :)  
On her deathbed, we whispered words of love and gratefulness to her ear. She was already in a coma at that time, so we were pretty much just waiting for the inevitable. And although I wasn't certain if she could hear let alone understand what we were saying, I knew that she knew how we felt (and still feel) for her. After the funeral, one of her friends walked up to me and my brother to tell us how happy my mother was to have children like us. I think my mother planned for that to happen.

Happy 56th birthday, Mom! I love you and I miss you so much! :)


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