I was reading "deOughtred's" blog about mother's day. I couldn't agree more with him. There shouldn't be any specific day for Mother's Day, it should be everyday! We love our mom not only on Mother's day and not acknowledging their blood, sweat and tears raising us up only in one day.
Reminiscing the days Mak brought up the 12 of us .. yeah you read me right.. 12 of us. Unfortunately the 12th child passed away a few days after he was brought home from the hospital. So left the 11 of us. To top it all, Abah passed away when he was 46 due to enlargement of the heart. My eldest brother was 21 and my youngest sister was hardly 2 years old. I was in my standard 2 then. So there are 11 of us with Mak single-handedly raised us up.
Life weren't bed of roses then. Abah left us without much financial asset as an Chief Clerk. So my siblings have to make do with what we have. Being a 8 years old boy, I didn't have much thought on how to make days meet. That's is where my Mak, being a single parents have to feed us up, clothes us and shelter us. Mak make sure everyone will not sleep on an empty stomach.
I remember we have to move from our rented house to an annex of my Atuk & Nenek's house after a few years Abah passed away. The small annex-house with only 2 rooms were built from some money mom's got from Abah's pension fund. It enough for us to have shelter then.
Without much education and married in her teens, Mak haven't gotten much school then. But she knew how to read and write. She can read romanised and jawi too (that put me to shame hehe..) She'll will do any halal job so that she can put food on the table for us. I remember she sold dress materials and shoes from the catalogue or bringing samples around the kampung where we live.
She sells malay kueh like lepat ubi kayu (we couldn't get it nowdays). My sister used to wake me up very early in the morning to accompany her to bring this basketful of kueh to send to Warung Pak Hassan at the roadside. And every evening, I would collect the left-over kueh and Makcik Mariam (wife of the stall owner) will give the money for the sold kueh. I do that everyday.
By then Abang (my eldest brother), Kak Ngah, Kak Lang, Abg De and Abg Dak has gotten job. I remember Abang drove Abah's Lambretta scooter to IMR (next to the general hospital). Kak Ngah got a factory job in PJ. Kak Lang got a job in a printing company. Abg De got recruited in TUDM ( he later retires as a Flight Sergeant). Abg Dak got himself a job in the Agriculture Dept. where Abah used to work (recommended by Abah's ex boss).
With 6 more schooling, Mak make sure that we have what the school needs. Although we only have a pair of school shoes each begining of the year, we have to make sure that it's clean and dry the whole week. If it rained and our shoes were soaked wet, Mak will dry it next to the gasoline stove. Bata shoes were a luxury then and we never had that until we can afford it. I remember Fung Keong shoes were next best to Bata. Even unbranded shool shoes were used. School bags is brought down from my elder sisters to my brother and me. Mak make sure that we can proper education because she always reminded us that only with education we can get out of poverty.
Mak has endured the ups and downs. She is the father and mother to us. She would sometimes borrowed money from Atuk or Nenek. I remember Mak would dragged me about 2 kms from our house to Atuk house just to borrow some money to buy rice for us. I still remember that Mak would buy rice by the "kati" ie. about 600gm for the dinner as that is what she could afford for that day. Lauk used to be only ikan kering and kicap. Sometimes fried eggs and vegetables were luxury.
Till today, I remember that Mak at one time didn't have any money left and too embarrased to borrow from anybody. We only had "jering rebus" and grated coconut for dinner because there was no rice to eat.
Somehow Mak could raised all the 11 of us. After going through the hardship in life, I have promised myself to take care of Mak as long as I could no matter what. Being the youngest son and probably the most manja one (my sister always said that), it is now my duty to get her well being at best.
Now at 81, Mak is bed ridden. 3 years ago she got a fever. After couple of days, her body blotted abit and her face swelled too. Everybody insisted to take her to the clinic but she refused. It was in Ramadan month and one nite Kak Lang called me at 10pm telling me that Mak's condition worsened. Initially she refuse to go to hospital and after much pursuasion I took her to Tawakkal Hospital. After several test were taken, the Doctor confirm she had a few minor heart attacks and also have some kidney condition. After few days in ICU and later in to the ordinary ward, she survive this ordeal. After that, I never failed to get her to see the Heart and Kidney Specialist every month.
Last year she felled in the bathroom while taking ablution early in the morning. She can't walked and felt her hip painful but still refused to see the doctor. Only 2 days after that I pursuaded her to the Emergency Room at Selayang Hospital. After an X-ray, we found out that she broke her tight bone. Unfortunately, she can't go thru' the operation to fit metal in her tight because of her heart and kidney condition. She survive this ordeal as well.
Well Mak is now resting at her home with Kak Ngah and Kak Lang. Her broken bone is now healed according to the Orthopedic Doctor but she is just too stressful to use her legs. I didn't pushed her much as I think she need more rest now.
Looking back at what she has gone through in life, I have so much respect for her. I know that she has done so much to keep the 11 of us as a family. She deserve so much more than what we can do for her and we could not repay as much as we want to.
So for me now, Mother's Day is every week end. I would buy groceries for Mak's house every week if possible and sit down with her for about an hour or two just to make my presence being felt. Now it's not the money counts, it how much time I spent with her.
It doesn't matter if she ask me the same question 1o times over and over again(due to her memory condition now - but my doctor have already alerted me on this) or how many time she refuse to walk again (althought she can) or taking her into the hospital toilet to take her urine sample or whatever it she wants, she is my Mak. Nothing can compared her to anything in this world. Syurga dibawah tapak kaki Ibu.
To Mak, nothing in this world can be compared to you. Your effort in raising us up is priceless. No value can be tagged to you. And above all, May Allah blessed your life. Happy Mother's Day Mak.