When you lose a mother, you lose almost everything
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - March 29, 2015 - 10:00am

The children of the forty-four fallen SAF troopers lost their fathers last January. But they will be okay because they have their respective mothers to make sure that they will grow up well and adequately cared for. Every war and every revolution, usually, the fathers are lost in combat. The children always manage to survive because the mothers are always there to nurture them in their growing years. But when it is the mother who passes away ahead, the family is always devastated. The father knows how to earn a livelihood. But it takes a mother to raise a family, hold the children together, and keep the fire of family love burning even during the most trying times.

I lost my mother, CONSTANCIA BIRONDO JIMENEZ, five days ago, and it took me too long to write this column. I was confused, bewildered, pained, and in denial. For the last twenty-seven years or so, when my mother and father have migrated to the US, I have always talked to my mother every Monday, which is Sunday in America. As the eldest of eight children (actually, my mother delivered eighteen babies but only eight of us survived ), it is my duty to report to her all the things about my brothers and sisters. I am expected to know where is everyone and what are they doing. I am expected to solve their problems and provide for their needs. And Mama always monitored all these.

When my youngest brother, Jonathan, called that Mama was rushed to the hospital after a massive heart attack, I was shocked and could not accept the inevitable reality. At eighty-seven years old, she was very intelligent, alert and well-informed. In fact, she sent me a video of her greetings on my birthday, exactly five days before she left us to join the Creator. My sister who was attending to her before the cardiac arrest told me crying that Mama was looking for me, and was quite anxious why it took me too long to arrive in Federal Way, south of Seattle. She was saying that she was already tired waiting for me.

But I did not arrive and she passed away. Her life was a full life of a living saint. She lived a full life, teaching in mountain public schools in Ronda for no less than forty years, she retired as a Master Teacher to join our Papa who was granted US citizenship as a war veteran. They lived in Hawaii. In 1999, they all came home, and I sponsored a grand GOLDEN WEDDING ceremony at the then Cebu Plaza Hotel. Mama was very happy and Papa could see the deepest joy in Mama seeing all their children, united, loving one another and never allowing anything to break our family ties. She made a lot of sacrifices for us.

When we were young, Mama used to weave blankets and mosquito nets in Argao and Ronda and sold them in the city and in Dumanjug. She had to augment the meager income of teachers and we were quite a big family. She used to teach as a critic teacher in the elementary training department of SWU together with Papa. I was a school janitor and we were very poor. But we were happy as a family and remained faithful to God and to one another. For the last twenty-seven years, I took the role of parents. Today half of my siblings are already in the US, too.

This Easter Sunday, we shall honor Mama with a Holy Mass in the OUR LADY OF SORROWS Parish in Ronda, and we will gather all her friends, relatives, fellow teachers, and us, their children and grandchildren. We shall tell her: Mama, when we lost you, we lose almost everthing. There will always be something lacking. It will never be the same. And though, your soul rest peacefully in the bosom of the Father, our hearts are grieving in pain. We truly miss you, Mama. But we will take care of Papa.




  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with