Friday, February 29, 2008

Mom Shalene's Predicament

Once over a meal here in La Vista, Mom was getting worried about Dad's condition. It was one of Dad's lazier and weaker moments. Scared he might have problems with his swallowing again which might lead to pneumonia again, she encouraged him to exercise his throat muscle.

One of these exercises is to vocalize, or shout loud enough to feel a pull on your throat. Dad wouldn't do it. Mom turned her attention to Rod, Zhar and me since we were at the dinner table at that time. Nurses Mike and Eldon hovered over Dad and sweet talked him to at least try to vocalize. Finally, Dad gave in and gave out a loud 'Aahhh'.

Mom stopped talking to us and turned to him and said, "Sweetheart! Yan! Sige, one more time." Dad, for his part, turned towards her and immediately creased his brows with an irritated look directed right at her.

It's a great thing that Mom is already an expert at handling Dad and his mood swings. She calmly said to Dad that she won't make him kulit na lang.

Although it was a moment made light by Mom's humor and good nature, it could very well have been a cause for hurt and self pity for Mom. But she's much better than that. I know, though, that it can be very frustrating at times. I know that inside, she may also have her moments of getting hurt. So I salute her for her strength, courage and positive outlook. I also want to console her with this:

When I find Dad by his lonesome (well, with Mike and Eldon), I try to make small talk, just to try to put a smile on his face. Being so lousy at small talk, I really don't know what to talk about. I remember during the times when Dad was a little more agile and alert, we'd talk about family. So usually, now, I talk about the past, his past. And of course, being the romantic that I am, I always go back to Dad and Mom's love story, their early stories with their kids, their wedding. And that would always, always bring a smile to Dad's face. He would also start to talk a little more.

So, Mom, even if Dad creases his eyebrows at you a little more often these days, please know that when you're not looking, you're really the reason for making him smile.

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