On Mothers

“Lola Mommy” Aurora at our wedding reception

Mariel loved to write. She once told me that she really wanted to be a journalist, but her dad had prevailed upon her to take up Accountancy at the University of Santo Tomas instead. Don’t get me wrong, Mariel was a darn good CPA, but she really wrote very well, as someone said with such “gentleness”. For truly Mariel was a gentle person in every way. And this came out naturally through her writings.

She wrote the following short piece for their office newsletter for Mother’s Day last May 2007. It was about Mariel’s own mother- Aurora, but it never got published as it arrived a bit late for press time. Well, Mommy (as I lovingly call Mariel), it’s about time for the whole world to know what a great writer you were. And more importantly, what a good (and gentle) heart you’ve always had.

MOTHER By: Mariel Gina F. Bello

“Why do most people think that mothers live forever? Maybe because a mother seems to have super powers so it just follows that she must be immortal as well. Or maybe because we tend to think that since she has always been around it must follow that she WILL always be around.

I had been one of these types of people. I had always seen my mother the way I saw her since I was a child. I saw her as the strong woman who was able to raise nine children, send them to school and marry them off to raise families of their own. I saw her as a rock steadfast and hard in the face of adversities and as an anchor who kept me grounded and safe when I was feeling lost. I saw her as a teacher who painstakingly taught each of her nine kids to write their names and do their homework. I saw her as the kind neighbor who took two orphan girls under her care till their relatives were finally able to take care of them. I saw her as the epitome of what a proper lady should be – one who would never raise her voice or hand in anger. I saw her as a saint who’d go to her daily masses and communion; who’d say the rosary not once but several times a day; who’d have calluses on her knees from kneeling and who’d have several novenas and prayer books by her side so she could pray in her idle time.

Just as I saw my mother in various ways, there are as much things that I failed or refused to see. I refused to see the silver hair, the slower gait, the minor aches and pains normally associated with the elderly. I refused to see these things because being elderly bode of staring one’s mortality in the face. In my mind, my mother cannot and will not leave us – her children.

I failed to see the loneliness in her eyes whenever I had or found time to visit her. I failed to hear the yearning and longing in her voice when I had to hung up the phone after a short talk with her. I failed to see these things because I was too wrapped up in my own concerns. I have lost track of how many of her phone calls I did not return. My husband Bong used to ask me to call her up but I always tell him that I’ll do it later, when I’m not so busy anymore.

Now I’m not so busy anymore, but she’s no longer there to take my call.

Mariel is truly the “World’s Greatest Mother” in my book and in Sam’s. We love you Mommy.

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