Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Burying a childhood ghost...

This blog has been on my mind for weeks now but not an easy one to write. How to write down feelings from 30 years of not-so-happy relationship with my mother? First, I must say that my mother was not a bad mother. She was a good mother who took care of her family and our home. She cooked and cleaned and did more than what some mothers do. However, she and I never got along. My mother had a fiery temper and when she shouted, she could be heard from several houses away. Unfortunately, I have inherited her temper.

My mother had always favoured my brothers. They could get away with murder while I always got the brunt of her scolding. The boys did not have to clean their school shoes whilst I had to clean my own and for them. Why? Because I was the eldest and I am a girl. When I finally decided I wasn't going to clean my brothers' school shoes 'coz they were big enough to clean their own, my mother took over. Writing all this down now sound so petty somehow. I shall try to remember good memories of my mother:

Good memories...

My mother used to bring my brothers and I to the cinema with her. My father worked hard and we had only one car, so my mother would hitch a ride with our school bus to go out. She brought us to watch sappy love stories from Taiwan or Korean movies dubbed in Mandarin. She would have packed our lunch in a tupperware and a change of clothes for us. There were 4 of us (3 kids and my mother) but she always buys only 2 tickets at 80 sen per ticket. My (then) youngest bro, Chun, sat on her lap whilst my younger brother, Yen and I shared one seat. We got to know Chen Chen, Lin Fong Jiao, Chin Han, Ker Jin Shiong, Tien Niu, Ah Bi (Kenny Bee), etc.

My mother also showed us some childhood games she played as a kid. She made dolls with ice cream sticks, showed us how to tear a leaf a certain way so it becomes a musical instrument or cut a drinking straw a certain way and it would make a sound when we blow into it. My mother used to bring us to her hometown, Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan). My grandfather's house is a modest wooden house with an outhouse but the house was on a huge piece of land. I made friends with the neighbours' children and we played from morning till night. We played "masak masak" with sand and whatever container we could find. We also caught bugs and worms to "cook".

My mom was a decent cook who used to like to experiment with different types of cooking and she was adventerous with food. I learned through her to try everything at least once and I've learned to appreciate different types of food. She was lousy at baking. My dad used to name the cakes she made "3-layer cake" - bottom burnt, middle still wet and the top usually done well.

Bad memories...

My mom favoured my brothers and showed it. They were not required to do any housework, not even cleaning up after themselves. They were free to go out with their friends and stayed over, if they wanted. If I suggested the same thing, I was a slut. Going out with my friends was not allowed until I started work at 19. Even then, I had to be back before midnight. My father didn't want to say much 'coz if he had said anything, I would have gotten a shelling from her again. I was my father's pet. Unfortunately, he worked long hours and in the weekends, he loved his naps. Sometimes, I wish I'd known my father better before he died. Even though he didn't spend as much time with us, I do miss him. I miss my father more than I miss my mother.

My mother fell ill in 1997. She suffered from intestinal adhesion and had to be operated on a few times. Her body was not able to assimilate the food she ate, so she wasted away. She wilted from 60+kg to about 35kg when she died. I was in the hospital every day, most times bringing her her meals 'coz she was sick of hospital food. I took care of my mom whilst pregnant with my first child and soon after she was born. When she was not in the hospital, my mother stayed with me when she was ill. Together with my maid, I took care of her and constantly fighting with her 'coz she was so indisciplined. She was advised by her doctor to watch what she ate but she would not listen. We had a big fight over her diet, she called my brother to take her home to stay with them. Soon after, she was hospitalised.

My mother passed away in UH on 31 January 2001. Somehow, I could sense something was not right when I woke up that day. Patrick's company had their annual CNY party that day. I had planned to visit my mother at the hospital after the party but kept delaying my visit. My mother passed away at 11pm, just as her favourite son walked in the door. Strangely, I had a sudden stomach ache and had to use the toilet. So, when the hospital staff was getting ready to bring my mother to the morgue, I was in the toilet. Later, at the mortuary, the same thing happened. As soon as the undertaker's van arrived, I had a bad stomach ache again. So when her body was being transported home, I was in the toilet. My mother didn't want me there??

My father was very fair. He divided his assets equally amongst the four of us (my mother, my brothers and I). With the money withdrawn from my father's EPF account, my mother bought a house. When she died, she left my brothers everything. I was not even mentioned in her will. I am rambling away as the memory of my mom is too painful. Thirty years of pain have to be buried and I need to move on. For my children's sake, I need to learn from my mother's mistake and move on.

My brothers and I have decided to sell my parents's house. I thought of buying over the house but too much unhappy memories attached to the house. Goodbye, mother, thank you for all you have done. Thank you for being who you were so I learn from your mistakes and what you have done right. Goodbye...


Blogger MitzieBitchie said...

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4:48 pm  
Blogger captain_howdy_girl said...

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4:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee I so need to do something like this. I tried, but always stopped after 3 lines. Yes it sounds petty, and the telling sure ain't as easy as it seems. But hell, I do know it needs to be purged. I wonder when I'm gonna have the guts to start again AND keep going till I end it like you. SIGH

11:47 am  
Blogger Min said...

Hi Anonymous, took some time before I could write about my relationship with my mom. It is very therapeutic once everything is out.

3:44 pm  

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