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To my mother, whose laughter I have no memory of... (a birthday letter for my mother in heaven)

Have you ever heard your mother laugh? Have you ever heard them laugh so hard, tears form in her eyes?

If you did, hold on to those memories.

I try to scour mine for my mother's laughter. I have none.

Was it my poor memory? Did I have one too many anesthesias?


Why am suddenly talking about this?

Because it's October 7 today, my mother's birthday.  My husband is cooking pancit and nilagang may mani (soup with peanuts), while I am writing this.

Last year, October 8, I was rushed to the hospital. I requested the same dishes for my mother's birthday. It was a simple dish, but she was the only one in the family who cooks nilaga with peanuts. And so we miss her for that.

Anyway, going back to last year's traumatic experience - read it here. When the ambulance arrived, I was puking peanuts. The attendants couldn't make out what it was I was throwing up. Hehe!
I wouldn't let that traumatic experience ruin my mother's precious memories though. So it's still the same dish this year.

So back to my mother...

She was a kind woman who died of lung cancer in December 2007.  Right after I passed the CPA board exams, but before my sister got married.

She was diagnosed with cancer stage IV in February 2007. She fought and knew she was strong enough.  We made sure she received chemotherapy though money was hard.  When the chemo cycles were over and cancer still spread, we signed up for an experimental drug. I also experienced humbly lining up for PCSO assistance.

She fought until she knew the pain has become unbearable. She fought until she knew breathing has become harder.  It was hard for us seeing her that way and so I always find a way to replace all the traumatic experience with the memory that she died in my father's loving embrace. Exactly as what I imagine they are doing right now - in heaven.

There were a lot of speculations as to why she got lung cancer. People have a knack for diagnosing a patient as if they have PhDs!

One theory is because of fatigue from cooking. In the province, all four family meals come from one kitchen. She was cooking for 4 families. Back in the day, she was also cooking for around 20 family business staff, for their free lunch. They said the kitchen was hot and taking a bath right after may have been bad for her lungs.

Some said it was because of all the diet pills she took. She was slim before marriage but gained weight.

Another theory is that her lungs lacked exercise. No no, they were not talking about lack of physical exercise. They were talking about laughing exercises. 

Her sisters (my aunts), said it was because she never does belly-laugh. You know, the kind of laughter that flex our abs so much it actually hurts!

Now, that theory was funny and absurd at the same time, don't you think?!

It was accurate though. Not as the cause of her cancer. But that she in fact did not laugh that hard. In my memory - she did not at all.

But as to the cause of her lung cancer - let's stick to science!

My mother was kind, caring, carefree, stingy, loving. But she was a smoker. And she hanged out with smokers. My father smoked too. That is why the Lord took them so he can take care of them more.

To my mother, whose laughter I have no memory of - Happy Birthday in Heaven!

You have a funny grandson. I hope he's making you laugh hard. I love you so much...

To the readers of this blog whose mothers are still on earth with you, I challenge you to make your mother laugh.

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