Me Without Mama
Zaida Marie A. Tambis (The Freeman) - January 6, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  I am Miguel. I am the youngest in our family. My siblings think that I am my mother’s favorite. She always lets me play when I get home from school, while my older sisters have to wash our clothes and prepare food for dinner. 

 

Our father died when I was still two years old. We haven’t heard from him ever since. My Mama runs a little convenience store and does some of our neighbors’ laundry on the side. In the afternoons, I usually go to the store and eat whatever I want. My sisters are always busy at home. They have to pour water into small plastic bags, which are then placed in the freezer. These will be sold as ice the next day.

Everything that I need to do is done by my Mama. She doesn’t want me to help cleaning the house. I like it when she tells my sisters, “Don’t ask Miguel to do household chores. He is still too young.” I am proud of how my Mama pampers me. Even if my sisters seem to be jealous of me, I can do whatever I want.

One Saturday, at around noon, “Miguel, have you seen mama? She hasn’t been out of her room since this morning,” our eldest sister asked.

“Nope,” I answered. “She’s probably just doing something in there.” I went to the backyard to play when my other sister screamed, “Mama!!! Wake up! Wake up!”

I felt like I faded into the background that day, as if my spirit left my body. Things happened in a blur. I didn’t know what was going on. I was so confused. I can’t put into words how I feel.

My Auntie Linda explained that Mama died in her sleep. She told me that my mother’s soul went to heaven and that she is watching over me right now.

It has been a month but it seems that my tears still have been falling nonstop down my cheeks. I have no appetite, not even for my favorite food. I don’t want to do anything. I often catch myself staring into space with nothing on my mind. It seems like all the colors around me have disappeared.

“Miguel, you still haven’t washed the dishes? Goodness, get yourself together!” my sister yelled at me one afternoon. “You still need to deliver ice to the nearby store!” I just looked at her, almost not comprehending what she was saying and why she was shouting at me. I felt so helpless.

I wish mom was still here with me. I wish she had taught me even the simple household chores before she was gone. I know my sisters love me, but I think they will love me more if I know chores to do around the house.

“Mama’s not here anymore, Miguel. You have to be strong. You can do it,” I consoled myself.

MAMA
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