The Day My Dead Mother Wrote Me a Blistering Memo

by Jan Geronimo on March 27, 2009

And I received it today. All because I wrote a wimpish post yesterday. In her book, it was enough to indict me.

When I hit the publish button on my previous post, I have forgotten who I am. I am my mother’s son. My mother was a loving person but she was also strong willed. In her youth, she used to travel to Manila to bring supplies to my eldest siblings who were in college. She had with her all sorts of fresh vegetables, a couple of live chickens, and sometimes a sack of rice. At the pier, she fought off stevedores with her signature stoic demeanor. She’d stomp her foot on top of her assorted baggage and ward off pesky pier hands with her emphatic no.

Of course, she couldn’t carry them all by herself. But she could not be pushed. Let her decide on her own sweet time which lucky hands to help her with her things.

Sure, I inherited my father’s thirst for learning and writing, but it was mother’s discipline and stoutness of heart that will serve me well in blogging. My mother was one of the most loving persons I’ve ever known who at a moment’s notice could go feral on you when her brood was threatened. My father was maybe one of those rare breed whose love never strays, but I suspect my mother’s flash of steel had a lot to do with my father keeping to the straight and narrow path of marriage.

I used to pride myself I have my mother’s stubborn streak. It has never occurred to me my mother’s spunk was the more important trait. I am my mother’s son. And I have forgotten it.

I have to start anew.

Do you have a similar experience? Who do you give the credit to when you talk of the steadying influence in your life?

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  • Jan
    @Fifi: Code provision on easements. Sounds painful. hahaha
  • fifi
    there's never a dull moment with my mom around. that must have been the reason why she asked me last night to not stop looking for civil code provisions on easements. lol.
  • Jan
    @ You must have a very exciting household. lol.

    Yeah, I'm very lucky in that sense.
  • fifi
    just at this very moment, my mom came from the lupon and complained about a neighbor that encroached our right of way! can't help but relate that about your comment about her being a mother-in-law. :)

    maybe at hindsight your mom knows that you don't need the american couple so you could get your way around the english language and become the good writer that you are right now. fortunate you are for having parents who would never even think of giving out their children to other people even at the most trying times.
  • Jan
    @petit: You're right. It's an emotional response. Should have slept on it and then reassess if it's still valid. I posted right away. My mother would have slapped my wrist if she were alive. :)

    She only finished Grade 2. But she had a great outlook in life. God knows what she could have achieved if the old folks back then had let her finish her education.
  • Jan
    @joji: That's a lovely way of paying back your mother's love. First, you have no trouble expressing your love for your mother. And this little matter of putting out there your middle initial for all the world to see. Just splendid.

    Sons are different. Well, in my case, I had difficulty saying I love her outright. It just wasn't said, I don't know. But toward the end of her life, I wised up and finally had the guts to tell her. Every day. I hope that still counts. :)
  • jojigirl
    When I was yet single, I always remember putting my middle initial whenever i write down my name. Or correct this person if he missed out my MI in writing or mentioning my name. It was a gesture of acknowledging my mother's special place and part in my life. And one of the compliments that I gave her. I did tell her that my middle name meant to me so much because of her.
  • Petit
    i do understand why you posted it in the first place. you just let it out because you can not sleep until you make your stand too, am i right? whats good with blogs is that you can sulk for the moment, take it back the next day. oh well, you have the memory of your mother to guide you in the right actions and counteractions.
    anyway, she's one great mom, she made you not thinking narrow-mindedly.
  • Jan
    @yatot: Like a Brocka scene. lol. Yeah, she was one thoughtful lady.
  • yatot
    i can actually imagine how your mother bring those things from your place to manila... parang isang scene sa pelikula... hehehhe... your mother is very thoughtful indeed! =)
  • Jan
    @Kathleen: You said: "And as a mother myself, I can assure you she has found a way, from somewhere and somehow, to guide you still. But no matter what, she will always love you, always. And you will always please her."

    Thanks, Kathleen.

    There was a time I had always been twitted for being the favorite son. But this was said more in jest than an occasion for venting enmity. At least I felt that way. What my older siblings did not realize though was that they were by far luckier. They had known my parents, had lived with them longer. I wished I were with them right from the start.

    But we always find a way to make do with what we're blessed with. And to use every challenges in life to honor their memory.

    Thanks, Kathleen. My mother would have told me the same things.

    @fifi: When I was a toddler my parents were pursued by an American couple who wanted to adopt me and take me to the US. It did not happen although I was the 9th of the brood and we were not exactly living comfortably.

    Would have felt estranged with my parents had that happened. Although I generally find that the ties that bind are far more important than general feeling of disappointment.

    You're mother is quite a character. I wonder how she is as a mother-in-law. :)
  • fifi
    sweet thoughts about your mom. i wonder if all moms were made the same -- overprotective, overbearing, sweet,loving and steadfast all at the same time. i am yet to see a person who doesnt have a soft spot for her mom. my mom is like that. no one dares to go against her unless that person was willing to suffer the consequences or would be able to justify why. when i was younger, i resented her penchant for lawsuits (she's the plaintiff) for almost everything that didnt suit her. later on, i had come to realize that she was right when she fought for what she believed was right. i would always remind her now that she is not like zaido or any superhero, that things have a way of resolving themselves even without her intervention. im just so happy that she had since lessened her battlefronts.
  • kathleenmaher
    If someone asked me to guess, Jan, what your mother was like and how she influenced you, I would have named these very virtues. I wouldn't have had the same intuition about your father and find it wonderful that her mettle kept him faithful.That's exactly what it takes.
    And as a mother myself, I can assure you she has found a way, from somewhere and somehow, to guide you still. But no matter what, she will always love you, always. And you will always please her.

    So it's yourself you must please.

    Work hard, of course. But don't be too hard on yourself.
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