A Memoir Of Our Mother For Her Birthday In Heaven
Our mother (Inay Aying) would have been in her early 90’s today (Happy Birthday Inay in Heaven!). She passed away when she was 84 yrs old. Unfortunately, I wasn’t beside her when she left us – that was one of the saddest moments of my life. While she’s no longer physically around, the memories of her and our Dad are never gone, and at times such as this, they kept streaming through our minds.
While on earth, our mother made wonderful memories with us in the end, and the list of it goes on. But for her birthday today, I would like to focus and honor her exemplary role and leadership as a mother specifically on spiritual aspects of life. She has demonstrated a remarkable way of setting an example for us to be prayerful and on how prayerfulness and her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary comforted and made us.
As Catholics, devotions are part of our spiritual life. And that’s the reason why our mother was a devotee of some saints especially to Our Lady and her spouse, St. Joseph. Our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph were primarily the intercessors for and instrumental in our Mom’s obtaining graces from God in behalf of her family, her husband and children, and even for extended families.
While our Inay didn’t rock the “boardrooms”, she absolutely rocked the “cradle”, which is the very essence of being a woman and a mother! She reared her 8 children, humbly attending to their needs. She had no option but to stay home with all of us. She was a major influence when it comes to decision making and dealing with other people. We’re originally 9 siblings (8 sisters and 1 brother), but our eldest sister went home soon to God in Heaven when she was still a baby. We didn’t had the chance to get a glimpse of her , we only knew her based on our mother’s accounts, but we remember her in our hearts as well.
As far as her spiritual life is concerned, our mother was a true blue pious woman. Except when she’s indisposed, she would hear mass every day, early in the morning and the first ring of the church bells would serve as her alarm clock. After hearing mass, she would bring us bread or any food which she bought on her way home. For her, the day would not be complete without attending the Holy Mass and receiving the Holy Communion. She went to Confession very often. Whenever she had done even a small wrongdoing, she felt uneasy if she couldn’t hear Confession. And when she arrives from the Holy Mass and when we’re still asleep, she would go to us, blessing each one of us on our foreheads or we would go to her asking for her blessings, with the belief that God’s blessings to her would be passed on to us as well.
Ever since I was a child, I observed our mother waking up in the wee hours (3 or 4 am) of the morning, kneeling beside her bed and praying the Holy Rosary and other devotional prayers. This habit of hers continued up to her heydays. During her mid-age days, I would hear her murmurs, silently saying and pleading her intentions for God to answer her prayers.
Our mother was our first teacher and catechist. we first learned from her about God and everything about our faith and spiritual beliefs. She first taught us the basic prayers, the Angelus and later the Holy Rosary with the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even without deliberate memorization of the said prayers but because of the constant praying of the Holy Rosary for instance, some of us were able to memorize the mysteries and would you believe the litany as well which up to now we recite by heart! For us young kids and teens then, we didn’t grasp the full significance of the said prayers. We would sulk and whine at long prayers, who doesn’t right? At that time, said prayers seemed repetitious and were imposed on us! It was only when we were growing up that we’re able to recognize the beauty and the importance of praying, especially the Holy Rosary. As a matter of fact, I did this in my catechism classes before, imparting the message to young kids and the lessons I’ve learned from our mother, especially on how prayers are important in our lives. Another very good trait which we’ve learned not just from our mother but from our father as well is the blessing after praying – placing their hands on our foreheads as a sign of respect and for us to receive God’s graces. Thereafter, the younger siblings would then go to the older ones and do the same thing.
I remember when we’re still kids, my mother would gather us to pray the Angelus every 6 pm each day and wouldn’t start the prayer if one is missing in the group. If someone is not around and still playing outside with friends, she would look for us and had this amazing unique way of calling us. It was a bit funny or the sweetest sound but it was also of a concern because we knew there could be an accompanying responsibility and at times a price we had to pay for not being at home on time. And believe me when we pray, we couldn’t just be anywhere, we had to be with the group and kneel just what she did. Otherwise, we would get a word of caution or warning from her!
Because of her friendly relationship with God, she felt she had responsibility to other people. She was a kindhearted woman, very accommodating especially the lowly and oppressed. There were times, people from far flung communities knocked on our door begging for food and clothes. Despite the challenges that our own family was facing, she accommodated these poor families, fed and gave them out slightly used old clothes, sometimes with an extra small sum of money, making people leave our house with happy faces. She couldn’t bear the sight and the thought that very poor people leave her house in sorrow. I remember another instance where we would welcome some people in our home on an honor-system basis, to the extent of allowing them to stay with us for years and treat them just like a member of a family. In fact, these people were sent to school and in exchange, they would do certain household chores, just like what we did at home – running household and/or personal errands.
Our mother was involved in church related organizations. As a matter of fact, she became one of the sponsors or “hermana mayor” during feast day celebrations, with her grandchildren as the flower girls. This is the reason why majority of her children are now actively involved in civic and socio-related activities. Even if Inay is no longer around, she remains a guide, protector and a friend. Together with my Dad who is with her in heaven, they made us feel that they are still looking after us, appreciating our accomplishments and comforting us in our trials and tribulations.
This is how our mother played her role as a Catholic and a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. She taught us on how to know, to love, and to serve God – the kind of achievement that matters most!
To Our Mom, happy birthday in Heaven once again! For us, you are our greatest Inay! You simply rocked our world!
Eternal rest grant unto the souls of Inay and Daddy O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.