Mom, what did we last talk about?

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Last words are powerful.

In stories or movies with heartbreaking endings, characters would leave important words that would impact the lives of the viewers; those which would give them epiphanies, so they would want to be better, to change, or to continue in life giving their best foot forward.

But fiction is fiction; and these words are well thought of and edited a hundred, or maybe a thousand times to create a perfect ending. Here is reality. In the real world, there are no beautiful and impact giving last words. Only questions of what should’ve been said before the parting.

It’s ironic how important for me last words are, when I can’t even remember what my Mom last told me before she passed. I didn’t realize this until months after my Mom’s passing, I was telling a close friend about the day Mom went when surprisingly, I was caught off guard and suddenly asked “What were Mama’s last words? Because I honestly can’t remember”.

The question haunted me for days, and up until now, it still does. I can’t remember what my Mom’s last words were. Sometimes, it’s funny; but most times, it’s devastating.

Every night, when I’m about to sleep, I look at my Mom’s photos on my bedroom wall, and wonder. How did I get to say goodbye? Or was I able to?

The sunset my Mom passed wasn’t the kind you see in movies. It was painful, and every night I remember.

I remember how she fought for air, how she held my Dad, how she couldn’t decide whether to lie down or sit, how she tried to vomit but nothing came out, how my Dad did all he could to help her be comfortable, and how I came down from upstairs and saw Mom peacefully lying there, lifeless. I never saw how she went, I never heard what she last said, but Daddy told me that as she drew her last breath, she whispered to him that we two should stick together no matter what; that she loved me so much.

Even though my Dad told me what she spoke of in her last moments, I deemed it important to remember what we, my Mom and I, last talked about. But no matter what I do, no matter how much I vividly remember the sunset she passed, I couldn’t seem to grasp what our last conversation was about. It’s like the world is playing this game on me about how I still feel the sting of losing her like it just happened earlier today, but the things we last spoke of were completely lost somewhere in between muffled cries and breaking hearts.

Every day, when my mind becomes unoccupied; every night, before I sleep, I go back to those last moments with Mom. I don’t care if replaying everything would scar my heart more than it already is. All I know is that I won’t ever be at peace until I remember the last words I heard her said.

I hate that this is reality; and that I am part of this madness. I hate that I can’t rewrite Mom’s last moments, so I’d be able to talk to her one last time; that I’d be able to somehow make our last conversation beautiful.

I hate that I feel so much, but I can’t remember.

Mom, I’m sorry if I can’t let this go. But I know, someday I will be able to, when I have my questions answered, I will then, let you go.

On being a foreigner

It was a topic that died a year or more ago which was unexpectedly brought up while having dinner last night. My dad told me about a site, carefully speaking out every syllable of it just to make sure that I got it right and that I won’t forget it. My mind went completely blank because I never thought about the idea for such a long time and I guess I’m in no mood to talk about it at the moment. But because my dad was, and still is I guess, hesitant for me to look it up, I did. Typing “Literature or English Teacher” felt foreign to me. It was a really long time since I last looked for a job on the internet. And the thought that this is about leaving the country makes it worse. The mere thought that I even dreamt of working overseas makes me feel things that I haven’t felt before.

Two years ago I was eagerly searching for a job abroad. I had a lot of contacts for jobs in different countries. I was completing documents I might’ve needed. I was too busy reviewing for the IELTS exam. But sadly, all my dreams came crumbling down because they all waived my application. I was too young then, too inexperienced, too unready to live in a foreign land. With broken heart I accept that fate. I thought that I could always apply in the future. I held onto the idea that God has the right timing for everything to happen. And someday, I would be a grown up, I would have enough experience, and I would be too ready to face what lies ahead. I would be too brave to live on my own.

I held onto that dream. And so I worked hard. I grew up. I gained enough experience. But still, I’m not ready.

As I grew, I never thought that I would be walking away from that dream. It was very promising but I realized that I could not be good enough for that. I could not take it that everyday I would wake up and know that I am alone. That my parents are not one hug away. That the people I love and adore are not one text away. That it isn’t that easy for me to see them and hold them close. I cannot ever live with that. Because my family and friends are much more important to me than my career. So I buried that dream.

The question is: Did I ever make the right choice?