Today, I learnt an important lesson about Unconditional Love from a little love-note Dad had written to Mom as a birthday gift for her this morning, with his fragile, stroke-strickened hand. That note was scrawled with crooked letters that was barely legible but it was well-strung together to create such a meaningful impact that almost brought tears to my eyes.
This was what the note said - "Elaine, Happy Birthday. Thank you for the unconditional love and care you've given me. Bock Chuan" Such a simple note, but it carried a lifetime of joy, sorrow, laughter, tears, pain and gratification. This note underscored my parents' lifelong commitment to their marital vows to stick by each other in good times and in bad, for richer and for poorer, till death do they part.
Decades ago, when Dad was incarcerated for months, for "alternative"political views by the establishment, Mum spent those months in a daze, lost in the dark woods of despair, not having Dad beside her to assure her that everything was going to be okay. It was her will to keep the family together, that led her to march right up to Dad's boss at work to demand that he continued to pay Dad his salary and to keep Dad's job while we waited for his release from incarceration. I thought Mum was bold then, but really, she was driven by her love and commitment for Dad.
Today, Mum cares for Dad as his mobility had been affected by what they called, a "silent" stroke. Naturally, Dad's health deteriorated with age and because of his condition. Mum showers, changes and feeds him everyday. She talks to him and urges him to walk, or rather shuffle, a little, just to get him to be active. Undaunted by the heavy wheelchair, handicap-unfriendly public transport, staircases everywhere, the blazing sun or a heavy downpour, she made it a point to take him out regularly so that he could still enjoy the great outdoors, meet people, and eat his favourite foods at his favourite restaurants.
Dad's mind is still lucid although a little slow, and sometimes he might look a little dazed and confused because he needed more time to process information that he sees or hears. However, it must be true love, that rendered it needless to process this. Their housekeeper, Marites, on learning that my Aunt Shirley was returning to Singapore for a visit from Seattle, asked Dad what Aunt Shirley looked like. Marites had never met Aunt Shirley and was curious to know if Mum and Aunt Shirley looked alike, as sisters should. So Marites asked Dad who was prettier, Aunt Shirley or my Mum. Dad immediately retorted that Mum was prettiest! Mum laughed so hard and one could see her face lighting up like a school girl having a crush when she heard that.
Guiding My Marriage With The Same Commitment
The commitment between Mum and Dad have truly inspired me to guide my own marriage that way. I hope David and I will grow old together holding each others hands in good times and in bad, for richer or for poorer the way Mum and Dad did. In fact, I don't hope, I know I will because David said the other day to me, " I don't always like being married, but I love being married to you."
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 44 years old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 20 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when loosely translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".
|Dad and Mum on their wedding day on 27 Dec 1968...hmm...interesting..it doesn't add up...I was born on 1 Aug 1969!|
|Can't remember when this was taken, but clearly Dad was looking like "Da Boss!"|
|Dad and Mum at Gardens By The Bay when it first opened in 2012. Mum looked like "Da-Boss" now!|
|Dad and I enjoying a bit of father-daughter banter on 13 August 2013 after celebrating Mum's birthday with a scrumptious dinner|
|Dad's love-note to Mum, scribbled with his fragile hands that can't even feed himself with ease. |
Now, that's unconditional love.