During my power nap at the office yesterday, Mama appeared three times in my dream. First, I was having lunch with my Green Archers-T-Group friends. We were talking about the recent game and suddenly I saw Mama listening intently, gulping below zero Red Horse Beer in between. Then the scene segued to dinner with my Sunday Group; she was there looking at me, waiting for me to raise a strong opinion against those bishops. But her disarming smile made me stop, as if she was reminding me when to give in an argument. And the last scene was with my brothers; there she was at her favorite side of the sofa, laughing with us at Vice Ganda antics. It was so real, surreal.
I miss Mama. I miss our breakfast together. I miss her fried rice, pork and beans and sunny side up. I miss her litany of bills to be paid and things needed to be bought. I miss her juicy stories about our neighbors. I miss those times she would check on my sleeves, ask if I had a hankie with me, and finally whisper ‘ingat’ before I’d leave for work.
I miss Mama. I miss her sinigang na baboy, tinolang manok, atay at balun-balunan and her ‘world-famous’ binagoongan’. I miss the way she looked at me. I knew when she needed something; I knew when she wanted to tell me something. She knew when I need a hug. She knew when I want to be alone. I miss her pat at the back; I miss her ‘ kaya mo yan, anak.’
I miss Mama. I miss our TV marathon. I miss our discussions about anything under the sun. She was the one who encouraged me to voice out but no vent, to raise an opinion but not to start an argument; she taught me how to listen and give in. I miss her courage, against all odds, against all bills. I miss her candor, her jokes, even at the time Meralco cut our electricity. I miss her charm; even at times I would feel angry for those unpaid bills. I miss her sweetness, I miss her strength. For me, she’s the original Iron Butterfly. I miss her ’pasensiya na anak, alam mo naman sa’yo lang ako nakasandal.’ The truth is si Mama ang sandalan ng aking buhay.
It makes no little wonder she appeared in those scenes in my dream yesterday. In all those vignettes, I was with people closest to my heart. I was with people I’m most comfortable with. I was with people I truly love. And there she was, and will always be, at the center of them all.
Usually, I would wake up from my power nap feeling cold and numb. But yesterday, I felt warm. It was like somebody was hugging me all the time. I touched my face and noticed dried tears. Mama has probably wiped them for me, just like what she would always do when she was still alive.
I miss you, Mama. I love you.