Like A Thief In The Night

Grief struck me one fateful summer day of April, the day when my mom died suddenly... unexpectedly. Her death sentence: Acute Coronary Syndrome. 

I was having lunch at my office in Makati when my brother called to tell me Mom's in the ER. She had difficulty breathing earlier in the morning, but he assured me, she's already stable.  An hour later, my brother called again, this time in panicky tone, and told that Mom's now being revived. Then the line was cut. And throughout the next 30 minutes, I tried calling him fervently to demand for a clearer answer. But he didn't answer. My mind and heart were both racing with unspeakable thoughts and qualms. It never dawned on me that it's that bad. I thought it was just a regular check up. After what seemed an eternity,  my aunt called, rather nonchalantly hinting that the battle was lost, and told me to come home in Batangas as my Mom's already gone. For that brief moment, I thought I lost my capacity to breathe. 

I packed whatever I could pull out of my closet and immediately went home.  It was the longest, most agonizing journey.  When I first saw her, lying lifeless in the morgue, I never had such a glaring desire to force myself into waking up my subconscious in hopes to break free from one tier of my dream to the next... as if I'm in the Inception.  It's as surreal as it gets.  I never experienced such bewilderment, anxiety, self-reproach and depression all squeezed in just a day.  Nothing prepared me for this.  My life, as I expect it or dream of it, will never be the same.

This post was the hardest to write.   For more than a month now, every time I attempt to finish it, I always end up sobbing, reminiscing the days when my mom was here and alive.  But I know I need to do this. I need to let it all out. Regrets come along when you lose the chance to make it right the first time… when there is still time. Pain which roots from regret is probably the most unbearable.  I regret not spending more time with Mom. I regret not fully owning up to the person she taught me to be - considerate, generous, selfless. I regret not taking chances to risk it all to afford better life for her. I regret not seeking her counsel at times when I could use her maternal wisdom because I’m too scared she may not be able to handle it. What was I thinking? How could I be so foolish to assume she’s not strong enough to take it. I robbed her of her right to become the mother she ought to be. If only I could turn back time.  If only I could ask God for one more day to be with her, to tell her how I really feel.  To tell her how happy I am to have a mom like her – so accepting and selfless.  To tell her I’m sorry for everything. To hug her. To kiss her.  To comfort her. 

I thought, as time passes by, it will be easier to deal with it. But it isn't.  I’m not sure when and how will I ever let go. There’s always a thin line between being better because that’s how she would have wanted it and being worse so I could be with her soon.   

Everything didn’t make sense. I was lost in translation.  I tried to reason with and against Death. How can it be so cruel? I asked...  whyWhy didn't she get the same chance of getting through it alive, as did the rest of my relatives who had been in the same ordeal? Why didn't I even get a chance to talk to her and hear her final words.  Words that I could have kept lingering in my thoughts to keep her presence alive.

Death gave me a new perspective about life.  It does not wait for you until you get your act together to make up for your shortcomings with your loved ones.  It is not n'sync with your own sense of time. It showed me the greater scheme of things. Death reminded me that all I really got is NOW.

"Nobody notices when we leave. 
I mean, the moment when we really choose to go. 
At best you might feel a whisper or the wave of a whisper, undulating down." 
                                                                                 -The Lovely Bones

Image from


Kane said…
I am sorry to hear about your loss Karlie. I suppose losing a loved one is never easy. I share your grief. I think the image you used captured the mood of this story.

Be well.

Chris said…
When you have a close encounter with death, you realize so many things after that. One of the greatest lessons that my accident taught me is the very same lesson you realized after tita passed away, that TIME is not within our hands. It is very limited if not short. And so, like we always hear from other people, we must live each day like it’s our last. No more regrets. No more qualms. No more apprehensions. Start anew, cuz. What you failed to do with Tita Franie when she was still around, you can do with Tito Caloy now. Always remember that although we’re far apart, I’ll just be here for you, for Vanessa, for Kuya Teck and for Tito Caloy. Big hugs, cuz! We should have more bonding time next time I come home. Super miss ko na kayo.
Karlie Bradshaw said…
Thanks, Kane. I'm trying... it ain't easy. I just think Mom wouldn't be happy if I remain miserable... so I won't be.

Thanks for taking time to read. :)
Karlie Bradshaw said…
@ Chris, thanks cuz... I'm really touched by all your gestures for mom... for us. :)

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