Yesterday marked the seventh year that my mum left us for a much better place. Though it has been seven years, my memories of her are still very vivid in my mind and heart like she has never left us.
I still remember been at the hospice keeping her company in her final hours … the sights and the sounds. She left this world peacefully at 4am on 28 May 2000.
My mum was a cancer warrior!
She first battled against breast cancer when I was 12. And my sister was only 9. It was a great shock to me as I couldn’t understand what cancer really was then. But she was the much stronger than I was. Instead of feeling defeated, she battled against the cancer disease with all her heart as she wanted to see us grow up. She went through both chemotherapy and radiotherapy and there were quite serious side effects with both types of treatment. In the midst of her treatment, she was still working as a teacher. Thankfully, after she had completed her course of treatments, the doctors declared that her cancer was in remission. And if there was no relapse within the next 5 years, her chances of surviving beyond 10 years would be quite high.
Well, she managed to survived for another 14 years. During those 14 years, she volunteered her time to the Breast Cancer Foundation in doing hospital visits to counsel other breast cancer patients and events to raise breast cancer awareness.
In 1999, she got her wish to retire earlier from teaching. Unfortunately, in October of that year, she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. She was asked to have her operation immediately. And when she was operated on, there was more bad news.
The cancer had spread to her liver and she was given only seven more months. It was a major shock to us when her surgeon told us the news. But we had to be strong for her as she was still recovering from her operation. During this period, a close family friend of my parents also passed away from cancer. We tried to keep it from her, but she knew somehow. I guess my mother was a much stronger woman than I could ever imagine. Instead of us consoling her, it was her consoling us.
I tried to spend as much time as I could with her. But being the rebellious me at that point of time, I guess I just wasn’t spending enough time with her. And I made her worry about my future as I had no objectives in life.
Mum, I’m really sorry to have made you worried about me. And I’m sorry that you were not able to see me get married and see your grandson. Through these seven years, you have been in my heart. And you will forever be in my heart.
I love you, Mum!