My mother is a very active woman. Even in her 60’s she’s still working as a lecturer in a university about two-hour drive from her home. Whenever she has the whim or is missing her four grandchildren, she will go to the nearest bus station and hop on to a bus heading to Bekasi. She is very vigorous, very lively, and in a relatively good health. So when the news broke last Monday afternoon, I couldn’t quite grasp the reality of it.
She had lost her close friend for the past thirty-five years due to brain hemorrhage. The late Aunt Nining was in her 50’s, was still working full time, and was writing her doctoral dissertation. Everything happened so fast, too fast if I might say. My mother told me about Aunt Nining passing away when she was on her way to bury her friend. I know that her heart broke and she has become more anxious about her health ever since. Light symptoms like breathing trouble and cold sweat would make her panic and go straight to hospital to have check-ups. The results came out relatively well and she was told to rest a lot, but stroke happened nevertheless.
On Monday afternoon my mother was admitted to the ER ward of the nearest hospital from her home. My father told me to calm down because he thought she’s just overworking herself. I did become calm, but my sister and her two babies drove right away to Bandung, about one hundred thirty kilometers from where she lives. On Tuesday morning I read the messages from my sister telling me that our mother indeed had stroke and her left body parts were affected. My husband took the day off and we went to get our car which was under repair before I headed to Bandung. He kept asking me whether I was calm enough to drive alone that long distance. I kept nodding my head and saying that I would be alright, but deep down I knew that I was crumbling. I wasn’t alright, I was too shocked. I knew nothing about stroke; I knew absolutely nothing about the medication and healing process from the attack. Lucky us; my sister went to med school and she has become our source of confidence in handling our mother’s treatment.
It was the longest one hundred thirty kilometers distance in my life. At some point I couldn’t hold back the tears and I was crying while I was speeding up. I told myself that I couldn’t cry; that I mustn’t cry. It would be unsafe for me if I trembled while going 120-140 km/hour, so I’d better focus on the road. Even with that kind of speed I arrived three hours after I left home. And the first questions my mother asked me when she saw me were, who took care of my kids and when I would drive back home. I got there at one PM, and she insisted I left as early as five PM. She was ill but she’s more worried about me driving recklessly because it would be late at night, I was alone, and I was in a complete mess, emotion-wise. She was also worried that my kids would be looking for me.
My sister is the mirroring image of my mother. In her I can see strength, perseverance, and endurance like no other. She carries her two young sons, one is 11 months old and the other is 2.5 years old, everywhere; to consult with the doctors, to undergo CT scan, to consult with our cousin who’s an internist, and to move our mother from that hell-hole of a hospital to a better place. She holds on to her principles very strongly: that this too shall pass and not to sweat on small stuffs. She doesn’t waste her time and energy being sad, or angry, or upset. She just looks ahead, moves forward, and gets everything done. My brother is also coming to be with us in this tough moment. I’m blessed to have both of them as my siblings.
We’re lucky that our mother was admitted right away and got proper and responsive treatment from the hospital staff. The doctors can communicate well with us and the nurses are very attentive. Our mother has started getting the physiotherapy since yesterday. The medication works and she’s in good spirit and she is very determined to heal faster. As I washed and fed her, I remembered how it was when I myself was sick. She always stood by her sick children and grandchildren. Her love and care surpass all. Even though she’s tired, she doesn’t give up or give in.
Just as she washed, fed, and put the clothes on our backs, we will do the same thing for her.
Just as she loves us, we will love her.
We’re praying for our mother’s full recovery.