My mom was born in Shantou in China and left the mainland with my Dad in search of a better life, first in Malaya and then in Singapore. Six of my siblings were born in Malaya and the last 3, including myself in Singapore. It was hard for my Dad to provide for 9 kids, I can’t even imagine a little woman like my mom giving birth to 9 of us!
She was small, a woman of less than 5 feet. It has been 38 years since she passed and I was only twelve. I am sure my siblings have fond memories of her but here’s some of mine. I am tearing as I write. She was a very strong woman. By the time she was pregnant with me, she was already suffering from polycystic kidneys and liver. Imagine such a small woman with such a disease and carrying a baby! My neighbors called me the “miracle baby”. Many say she would have left us sooner if not to see me through as long as she could.
I remember her bloated abdomen, full of veins and her discomfort and pain and lots of medication. I would massage her and comfort her. Every night she would pray for each of us. Almost every day she would walk to the market with her basket and I would tag along as a little kid. Maybe that is why going to the market is so soothing to me even to this day! She rarely rode in a car because she would be nauseated from the motion. It was hard to see her suffer, yet I never hear her complain.
Home was her domain and she was the disciplinarian. Rarely did I feel the wrath of the cane, always deservedly so. She cooked pretty much every day for us at home. She was frail and often sickly and when she was hospitalized in 1976 and passed, I shed very little tears. It was time for her to go and for me to grow up! Funny, as I write this 38 years or so later, I can almost single handedly solve California’s drought problem!
I remember her and I miss her. I wish she was here to see everything and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Her simple hard life will not be forgotten and her legacy will be celebrated through our family. Thank you and I love you!