Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Letter for My Mother on My 50th Birthday

29th January 2015.

Dearest Mak,

As I recall, the last time I wrote a letter to you was just before I returned from Swansea, back in 1986. I can’t remember exactly what was written in that letter. However, I do remember why I wrote that letter to you. It was to explain to you how I felt towards you back then; that I feared you more than I loved you.

Almost three decades have passed since my last letter to you and I believe it is time for me to write another letter to you. And this time, my intention is different from the last. This time, I want you to know how I remember you as I grew up and eventually how I feel towards you now.

My earliest memory of being with you was when I couldn’t even speak yet. A thought crossed my mind as to what would happen to me if anything were to happen to you. Who would take care of me? That very thought was scary enough to make me cry. I remember you asking why I was crying. But I was too young and I had not learnt how to speak yet back then.

I do want to focus on my adult life with you. I have come to appreciate all the sacrifices you have made to bring up your children as a single mother. You have instilled in us your wisdom regarding choices we make and the consequences that come with those choices. You have instilled in us discipline and the importance of loyalty to family. You have instilled in us the integrity and self-respect with which we must carry with us always in maintaining the good name of our family’s reputation. You taught me how to learn from my mistakes and do it with grace and style.

Through my struggles fighting depression, I saw how much it pained you to witness the process of my recovery. I shared all of what I discussed with my therapist with you because it was important to me that you are able to see that I will turn out alright despite how badly I was suffering during that process. I wanted you to be comforted by the fact that you have brought me up to become a strong woman. You have shown me how an independent and resourceful woman looks like. I have learnt so much just by watching you do what you do. I am so proud to have you as my mother.

Today, I would like to thank you for giving birth to me. Today, as I turn half a century, I have come into my own person. I am all that I am because of you. Because of all the things you have done. Because some of the things you did not do. Because of all the good things you have said. Because of the times you followed your instincts and remained smiling silently. You have been such a huge influence in my life and sometimes it is hard to tell where you end and I begin. In the end, it does not matter. What matters most is that I am grateful for all the things I have learnt from you. I am grateful for all the support you have given me, solicited or otherwise. You will always remain the source of my moral compass. Thank you for loving me the way you do. I love you, Mak.

Your one and only daughter,