Over the past 20 years of my life, I have held many jobs.
He was the one who mostly took over me when I got fatigued, and he wanted me to rest whenever I could. He was also the only one to stay at the hospital every single day by her side when she was last hospitalized.
Even with so much help, I felt so guilty for saying I was exhausted.
It wasn’t just because of interrupted sleep but also because it was mentally draining. I was at her beck and call, night and day. I was bound to reach the point of burnout.
I never wanted Mama to feel like a burden. One thing she hated was depending on others. She raised us to be independent on our two feet.
On the other hand, I was so tired. I worked so many jobs — as many as three part-time jobs during my second year in polytechnic. But taking care of her was much more painful and tiring than I thought.
Before I could reach burnout, I did what I never thought I would do.
I asked for help. It wasn’t easy because Mama raised me to do things by myself. I requested that another caregiver take over at night while I got at least a few hours of sleep.
However, she passed the following night.
I saw my mother take her last breath as I held onto her hand tightly. I told her to let go, that we’d be okay. But at her last breath, I desperately hoped she took another. I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
Many of my relatives and friends say the typical sentences you would hear, like how sorry they are or how she’s in a better place.
Only one sentence comforted me the most: “She isn’t in pain anymore.”
The one thing I wanted to do was ease the pain she was in, but this one sentence was the truth. It comforted me to know she wouldn’t struggle anymore.
But I wished we had another adventure together. I wished for more time. She’s gone now, and I have to accept that.
Our emotions and experiences will never disappear, but they can turn into something different.
Grief is difficult and never goes away, but that does not mean that I should give up. I knew my limits, and I asked for help. Now, though I feel grief, I must learn how to forge ahead.
We’re only humans; we feel, we love, and we fall. The grief that I feel now changes me, but it could also teach me to love harder. Her memory will live through my brothers and me forever.
I know that I am not alone. I wasn’t the only one to lose her. She made me who I am today, and that is why she will always be with me because I am a part of her.
She lived the life she wanted, and now it’s my turn. Mama always said: “Keep moving forward”, and so I will.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Qistina Hatta, 20, is a Republic Polytechnic graduate and is currently waiting to begin her university education.