(From right to left: my one-year old younger sister, Doris; then Nanay seated with opaque ribbon and two-year old Ven, author, in the company of my mother’s relatives)
I lost my mother in a very painful way. Our house was breached (sometime in 1989) and at that time, she was the only family member left alone inside. She was in that instance very busy attending to the needs and requirements of workers my father tasked to renovate an extension of our dwelling place when she was held. Despite her assiduous concern, she was hog-tied, gagged and then stabbed 17 times. Worst, she was still then recuperating from her third stroke. Despite her condition though she was lively, although struggling with her speech, spritely and cooperative. She was only 59 years old at the time she departed.
My family definitely, a law abiding and conscientious member of the community, does not deserve such a fate. But that was how it came to be.
She was a very religious woman and during the time she was under siege by her criminal captors, she must have called her angels for succor. Heaven at that time was probably closed and those she would spend all her time praising and praying for must have been very busy elsewhere. There was no intervention when evil struck. She died of multiple fatal stab wounds all of which were directed on her chest. A peace-loving, kindly, spiritual and honest lady passed away quite ironically in a violent way. Evil won that day. The good vanished by default.
I remember my mother as a very patient person. She was a very pleasant conversationalist too. I never heard her voice rose even if alarmed. She was an epitome of serenity and calmness. She never even had any difference with the neighborhood. She would always be its observer and always neutral. Her wise counsel was the anchor on which her children would be raised. She was there to sacrifice and take everything unfortunate if only for her family to enjoy equanimity. She was however not a martyr for her loved ones; she was only trying to be a mother to us all.
After graduating at the top of her class in a course in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (in FEU), she already had her sights aimed at the apex of education. But she would rather gain organizational exposures first. So, she stayed for a while as executive assistant in a government agency. That would also be the time when my father, a laborer at that time (in the bureau of Posts) and still struggling to complete his collegiate studies, courted her. Impressed at the audacity of the man, she dropped her career and became a surrogate to her beloved. After two years, a boy was born and the succeeding year, a daughter came. She never went back to the bureaucracy and indulged herself on purely maternal concerns. She had been a mother through and through.
Her man, inspired by her prodding and scholarship, went on to complete several degrees until he gained a number of professions—-all within the sphere of the academe, the very place where my mother’s heart belonged.
And her family, from husband to her children, would all think and breath as scholars.
For as all long as education is around, there lies my mother’s spirit. And where she is now, every time Mother’s Day is celebrated, it has always been an intellectual excursion for her loved ones here and now or in life hereafter.