Monday, April 27, 2009

The Original Supermum

The Original Supermum would definitely be my own mummy. Mum died of breast cancer two years ago, on 27th March, 2007. She and dad raised all 6 of us and education was always a top priority, at all costs. Only 2 years ago did Dad finish paying the bank loans and overdrafts which he took out for our overseas education! He already had 11 grandchildren by then!

There was a time when mum was working full-time as a government staff nurse, weekends at a private clinic, nights taking care of a bed-ridden patient and even sold insurance and MLM products on the side! Being a mum myself now, I realise and can fully appreciate the enormomity of her selflessness. I never heard her complaining about work or having to send us to school and piano classes.. etc.. Only now that I have to do it myself, do I know that it's no fun! :)

Anyway, mum was born to a rather privileged childhood, compared to most other children of their time. Grandad ran a restaurant in town and she was the third daughter born to his second wife. His first wife had passed away and later on our Grandma was shipped directly from China! Much later on, dad who came from a more rural area, rented a room for a while, at the space above the restaurant. This must be how they met for the first time.

Mum was a tough cookie, to say the least, she always had a rebellious streak in her. I remember she told us of the times when she used to ride her bicycle to school with her siblings. When her bicycle chain came off, she would throw a tantrum and dump the whole bike into the drain! Grandad's workers would have to come fish the bike out afterwards.

Those days, children of different ages could be placed in the same class, depending on their academic abilities. There was one particular boy in her class who was quite big and mum would tease him and call him names! He would then chase her around the yard but she, being petite, could outrun him easily. And guess what? She ended up marrying his brother! (yup, that boy was my uncle)

Even when she was in nursing college, mum could be found in the drain catching guppies! She was quite the tom-boy, albeit a beautiful one. She also had a very high pain threshold. I remember once, she accidentally kicked the side of the bed. After about a week, she was wondering why it still hurt. So she had an x-ray done and found out that she actually broke a toe!

Mum, with her wealth of experience being a nurse, was the one we always turned to for medical advice, especially concerning babies and children. She spent many, many years at government maternity and child health clinics. She knew most of the small villages in the rural areas and could speak many chinese/malay/iban dialects as well. She even once delivered a baby on a village jetty! The baby was already on its way out, so it was an emergency. Some of the villagers have a long way to travel before reaching medical help. Doctors were also not always available in those rural areas.

Many times, her vast experience proved more valuable than a doctor's expensive training. There was one time, she had a bad, piercing pain in her abdomen and went to see the doctor. Either one or two doctors (I can't remember) turned her away, saying it was nothing serious. She knew something was wrong and in the end insisted on being admitted. After further investigation, it proved to be appendicitis, and an emergency operation was done. Mum said any more delay would have caused the appendix to rupture!

Even in the case of her breast cancer. Mum has a history of lumps in the breast, so she had yearly mammograms done at the general hospital. The doctors there gave her the all-clear. It was only after she discovered a lump through self-examination, did they discover the tumour. Mum was a fighter, she went through operations and also the dreaded chemotherapy. I believe she played down the pain and misery she was going through for our sakes.

I remember during the last couple of days, when mum was drifting in and out of consciousness, she asked for a piece of wood because there were a lot of 'bad people' around. Religious aunty says the devil comes to fight for your soul at the hour of death. Doctor sister says morphine makes one hallucinate. Original Supermum says, "I'll clobber their heads with my stick!"

Well, anyway, a few nights ago, little brother had a dream of her. He can't remember much, but what he remembers is this. Mum said she was doing okay. She hadn't met God yet. She said she was in a dark place, a city with no lights. Something about that is where we prove ourselves. She said that we must really do more good and not be so calculative.

Now, I doubt little brother has read books on theology, spirituality, the after-life, and such. Moreover, the descriptions are eerily vivid. 'City without lights' is particularly disturbing for me. As far as I'm concerned, this is pretty genuine. If anyone can break the laws of time and space and who knows what else, through sheer willpower, to reach us, it would be none other than The Original Supermum! :)

Many people will interpret this in many different ways; purgatory, different levels of heaven, an alternate universe, reincarnation...? What ever the truth is, I believe our mere mortal brain will not be able to grasp its concept. It'll make e=mc2 seem like 1+1=2. So I believe this is where faith comes in. Just believe and know there is a God and leave the rest to Him.

So, just in case there's WiFi in heaven; Mum, we get you loud and clear! We love you and we miss you!

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