Written by Grace Pow
At first, I thought my 60-year-old birthday celebration would be a big event this year. Unexpectedly, Omicron hit Hong Kong hard in mid-February. All the social gatherings had to be cancelled, including my birthday meals. Though I was a little disappointed, it did not affect my mood until my mom was diagnosed with the COVID-19 variant in early March. She passed away 2 weeks later – just one month after my birthday. Mom has been suffering from dementia for more than 10 years. Though my family and I missed her a lot, we had to face reality.
Being her 1st born child, my mom had really done a lot for me. When I was in primary school, she woke up very early to prepare breakfast and braid my hair every day. Feeling very troublesome, I cut my hair immediately after being promoted to secondary school. A few years later, I learnt that mom hoped to make me look pretty with my plaits.
In the 70s, a team of well-known cartoon characters from Disneyland visited Hong Kong. Mom knew my two brothers and I were eager to watch their performance. Though we were not rich, mom still bought tickets and accompanied us to the show. Up till now, I still remember the theme song, ‘It’s a Small World.
After breaking up with my 1st boyfriend, I was heartbroken. Mom felt miserable when she saw me crying hysterically in my bedroom. In the end, the two of us were holding each other and crying for the whole night. Since then, I know that mom will always support me.
It was indeed a blessing that I could always find my dream jobs. However, I was too spoilt. Whenever I had any unpleasant experiences, I quit. No matter what happened, my mom still stood by me. Besides, she had the habit of reminding me to watch out when crossing the road until she lost her ability to speak. At that time, I always thought my mom was too anxious. In fact, I failed to treasure her love.
Owing to my heavy workload over the past 10 years, I shifted the responsibility of taking care of mom onto my helper. Every time when I returned home, I just greeted her casually. After mom had lost her ability to speak, I did not even try to communicate with her at all. Looking back, I recall my negligence of obligation with much regret.
Mom had always taken good care of my brothers and me. But I took everything for granted. We only learnt to cherish after losing our loved ones. It is too late now. The only thing I can do is to pray that mom will lead a worry-free eternal life in Heaven.