Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Every Day Would Be Mother's Day" Irene Hoe

Irene Hoe, who needs no introduction, is from the University of Singapore. She is a writer, editor, coach, and editorial consultant and was with SPH from 1978 to 2004.  She has written and contributed to a number of books. 
She agreed to share her current Facebook story about her mum.

Thank you, Irene.

5,300+   readers 
since 13.05.2017 

It's been 13 years since my last Mother's Day with Mum. It was in January 2014, that her qigong therapist told my sister Annie and me that we could lose her at any time. "The tide comes in, and the tide goes out. For your mother, the tide is going out," he said. "In her condition, anything can happen at any time."
It was then that I decided that for however long more I had with Mum, I would try to be the best daughter I could be. And every day would be Mother's Day. It was the best decision I have ever made.
That "however long" turned out to be about four months. In that time, I composed a farewell message that friends helped me to translate and transliterate into Cantonese, and to coach me in reading it aloud to Mum (image below).
One afternoon, as she lay in bed half dozing, I sat down on her bed and began to read my farewell. When I started, she was startled into opening her eyes. She hadn't ever heard me articulate such good Cantonese before. A tear escaped one eye. Then another. Then the other eye. And pretty soon both of us were pretty much awash with tears and I was all choked up, and her pillow was sodden.

I told her that I loved her and that it didn't matter if she couldn't say those words back to me because I knew she loved me. Every time she'd call me to tell me to come home for dinner because she'd made one — or many —of my favourite dishes. Every time she'd come home late at night after working for at least 12 hours at her restaurant and despite being dead tired, she'd always place a hand on my forehead to check if I had a fever. She did that for all of us before she could finally have her bath and go to sleep.
'Mama' Single Version=Connie Francis Video by doowopAmon. Thank you.

She had slipped and fallen at home in November 2003 and though X-rays uncovered no broken bones, she had grown steadily weaker. The last meal she prepared for us was lunch on the first day of Chinese New Year 2004. She apologised that it wasn't up to standard — her standard — although of course, it was delicious as usual. I think she somehow knew it would be the last time she would cook for us.
Cooking and feeding family and friends had been her life (mahjong was an enjoyable sideline) since she closed her restaurant and retired. And not long after Chinese New Year, she couldn't even walk unaided. She found her new dentures — an idiot dentist had encouraged her to have her remaining teeth extracted — very uncomfortable, so she refused to use them and was reduced to eating soft foods. I could tell she was ready to go.
So, that afternoon when I sat by her side, I told her that I knew she was finding so little pleasure in life. "You have worked so hard. I know you are tired. You have done your job. You brought us all up and we will be all right. We will be sad but we don't want you to suffer. If you feel you want to go, I won't hold you back. I don't want you to suffer."
Not long after that, she went into the hospital for the last time. Her blood pressure which had always been low inexplicably kept sliding lower and lower. Until the inevitable happened.


Unknown said...

Hi Andy. I agree with Irene that everyday ought to be Mother's day! A mother is truly creation's pearl. She is an inexhaustible source of love! Her love is as constant as the Northern Star and her love for her children is beyond any form of measurement. Its as infinite as infinite can be! She is a teacher, a true friend, and a comforting cushion when
her child should fall. Sadly she is also often taken for granted when things are smooth sailing.

For those whose mothers are alive, take care not to hurt them in words or actions, especially in their old age when they are frail and weak. The people closest to us are the most capable of inflicting the deepest cuts and hurts! We can never be what they have been to us. But we can try our utmost!

Salute to all mothers!

God bless all mothers!



That's the way my Mum said. She gave birth to nine of us. But nine today couldn't take care of one, today.

All, "Push to aged home..." Very very sad, but so true.

(Typo edited)


She is an old friend and former colleague of my brother Sonny.

henri gann said...

Straight from the heart. You are one of the rare individual in today's world.
I enjoy reading that. Thanks for sharing...


Irene Hoe's Mum:

They don't make them like they used to. Them good old fashioned mothers. Toil the whole day at her restaurant and then come home to take care of her family and their needs.

I can see why Irene loved her mum so much. From her description, she had a great mother. Cheers Irene.


Off hand if you ask me, it's silly to think of mother only one day in the year. Mother is ever present, in life and death. She is and will always be part of our existence.


My Dearest Mum,
Has since departed about 8 years ago and up to this minute I still miss her very much. She is a gentle lady, strangely though, I don't ever remember her saying harsh words or swearing at anyone.

Her life may be tough but her living is simple. Cooking for the family, watching soap operas, cowboy and Red Indian movies on TV.

When you talk about religion, her reply will always be, "As long as I don't harm others... I'm fine." It's simple but effective.

I knew we will part one day and I work on preparing towards that goal. So when the time came, I was prepared, physically and mentally. Mum also did her preparations. She had a list of what to do, by whom, up to where her ashes should be kept.

Well, mother is not one day in a year. Mother is ever present, in life, death and beyond. Mother is and will always be part of our existence. Without my mother I would be...

Love you mum always. Rest In Peace.

ES said...

Both moms n dads are to be honored daily... easier said than done! We get caught up with the daily grind n barely give a thought about them sometimes!

Thanks for the article.

frigidbones said...

thnk you for sharing this timely reminder.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all very much for sharing your views and making your comments about Mother's Day and Irene Hoe's moving tribute for her mum.

I have actually my own post about my mother but will leave it till next year.


A mother's love for her children has no parallel and cannot be measured! To mother, no mountain is too high, no valley is too deep and no ocean is too wide! The sad reality is that people tend to have very short memories! The mother's affection and unconditional love are soon forgotten!
Mother does not need fancy restaurant food. A simple pack of meepok would suffice! A listening ear for her concerns and challenges. A word of encouragement when she fears for her health and eyes that express beyond words that you truly care!.
Mothers are human beings! And human beings are imperfect! Perfection is not of this world. Only the angels in heaven are perfect! In their ebb tide and in their twilight years do not hurt them, intentionally or otherwise, with your words or actions! The people who are closest to us are the most capable of inflicting the deepest cuts and hurts! Manifest your love, care and patience more than ever for without notice God may just invite her home!
A mother's love is perhaps God's apology for the heartlessness of mankind! A mother is a friend and a teacher with inexhaustible love!
Not only today but every day ought to be Mother's Day!
God bless all mothers!


Hi Andy

To read an article like this gives you a kind of sad feeling that she had gone through it knowing the inevitable has to come.

I am also truly impressed that she had the courage to face from her experienced and to share the importance of mother's day and to remind everyone of this special day especially when they are around.

I do feel for her and hope that she will somehow overcome the moment of sadness as time passed.


FL said...

Hi, Andy, am delighted to read the dedications about mothers on this year's Mother Day. John Cher is correct saying those with moms who are with you now, never to hurt them with words or actions, and esp so when they are in their old age. Although my mom is longer around, I still think of her and memories of her keep coming back. I remember one beautiful song "Mother of Mine" with meaningful lyrics first made popular by a young boy of 12 yo called Neil Reid in 1971. May I dedicate this song to all mothers on this Mother Day.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you, FL. for your timely and inspirational comment. It is up on FACEBOOK under JOHN CHER's and mine.

Also thanks to John and Rickie, both Silver Strings members.


The modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew's Methodist Church now holds the International Mother's Day Shrine.

Her campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.

Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed that they were "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world".


DR LEE Y.S. (MALAYSIA) said...

Hi Andy,
Happy Mother's day to your wife and family concerned too. You are doing a very good job to your website and I am sure must be very busy with it.

matt said...

re: That's the way my Mum said. She gave birth to nine of us. But nine today couldn't take care of one, today...................

anonymous, there is chinese saying, "the tiger will never eat her cubs"...
...with the unwritten append..."but the cubs when grown might eat the frail mother ... if given the first opportunity!!!" LMAO

yes, mother are a blessing ! where would we be without mommy!!! ;)