Embracing the warmth of a timeless moment with my beloved mom.
- A young girl’s journey through a tapestry of memories, where imperfections are embraced, and love remains the cornerstone of every home.
The word “home” carries with it a tapestry of memories, a mosaic of emotions that evoke a sense of balance, much like the yin and yang.
A home, to me, isn’t solely defined by the happiness within its walls. It’s a measure of how well its inhabitants treat one another and navigate the inevitable conflicts that arise within the family.
Throughout my journey, I’ve witnessed unresolved conflicts sow the seeds of distance among family members. Yet, the concept of home is ever-evolving, shape-shifting with time and experience.
Let me take you on a journey to unravel this notion, piece by piece, starting with the story of my first home.”
From Hate To Love
Sharing my graduation robe with my beloved grandfather, my chauffeur of wisdom and love throughout this journey.
From my earliest recollections, I associate the feeling of home with the time spent with my grandparents. Those formative years, from kindergarten to the age of 11, were a treasure trove of memories. My grandparents epitomised unconditional love.
My grandfather’s unwavering presence was a testament to his love. He had this endearing habit of arriving at my school an hour early every day, patiently waiting for me. Despite my protests that it was unnecessary, he insisted on being there without fail. His actions spoke volumes, revealing a love that knew no bounds.
In stark contrast, my grandmother was a tireless force in the kitchen. She would laboriously prepare meals for me, whether it was the crack of dawn for breakfast or a hearty dinner. I used to resent those early morning meals, but today, I find myself longing for her home-cooked food. It’s true what they say, you never truly appreciate something until it’s gone.
My grandparents weren’t immune to imperfections. They had their fair share of disagreements and misunderstandings with one another. Their relationship wasn’t the healthiest, and my grandfather’s shortcomings as a husband and father were apparent. He often left my grandmother to manage the household and raise their children by herself.
However, never once did they let their problems affect me or show how frustrated they were with one another. My grandparents’ ability to shield me from the tension and discord in their relationship is a testament to their love for me and their dedication to providing me with a nurturing and loving environment.
Despite their imperfections, my grandparents transformed our house into a home filled with warmth, care, and a love that transcended their flaws. As I reflect on those cherished moments with my grandparents, they laid the foundation for my evolving concept of ‘home.’ Their love, despite their imperfections, continues to influence my understanding of family and love, reminding me that even amidst flaws, a true ‘home’ is built on love, acceptance, and the moments we hold dear.
A Tale of Love and Pressure
Freezing moments of sheer happiness with my mother and sister during our 2012 adventure in Delhi, India.
Until I turned 11, I resided with my grandparents due to the proximity of my school to their home. However, when I reached that age, my mother, who happened to teach at a different school, wanted me closer to her. So, I made the switch and attended school alongside her. This daily commute marked the beginning of a unique bond between us.
My mother’s expression of unconditional love came with certain expectations. As a single mother, she made numerous sacrifices to provide for my sister and me. She had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, even to the extent of struggling to afford my sister’s milk when she was born. Despite working three jobs, she was also persistent in completing her studies all the way to a Ph.D.
However, she had her flaws. She was stubborn and, at times, short-tempered. Falling short of an A or even coming close to it meant that my mother would sometimes go silent for days. She would go days without speaking to me. Witnessing her disappointment drove me to exert every effort to excel and bring a smile back to her face.
Hence, undoubtedly, her expectations for my academic success were sky-high. I remember narrowly missing a perfect score on my UPSR (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah), seeing disappointment cloud her face. Though she assured me it was fine, I could sense her devastation.
Determined to meet her expectations, I toiled harder in secondary school, only to fall short once again, this time with PT3 (Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3, the Malaysian Form 3 Assessment). The weight of her hopes pressed heavily upon me. Yet, during those years, I experienced the prime of my life, forsaking my studies for carefree moments. While others claim that college is the pinnacle of their youth, my high school days were unrivaled in fun and camaraderie.
Regrettably, I started neglecting my studies, aware that I possessed the potential to excel. In the end, my results were decent, but my mother’s fury knew no bounds. She refused even to collect my results in person, leaving me to ask a friend to do it.
In retrospect, I felt utterly despondent. But as I journeyed on to MMU and maintained a respectable CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average), I noticed a profound change in my mother. Every time I achieved good grades, her eyes welled up with pride. I realized that all she wanted was to be a proud mother, a sentiment that anyone would understand. Over time, she also recognized that the pressure she had placed on me was excessive, and she graciously allowed me to embrace my own pace.
My mother, like all of us, was flawed in her own unique way. Despite her imperfections, she spared no effort in providing me and my sister with a good and comfortable life. Despite her flaws, she embraced both parental roles and raised us with unending love. We lacked a paternal presence, yet she stitched together a home for us, fortified by her unwavering love and dedication.
A Heartbreaking Year
Graduation day: a heartwarming tribute to my Mom and Grandma, together in spirit.
In 2021, I faced an unimaginable loss as I said goodbye to two incredible women who shaped my life.
My grandmother, a dialysis patient, had been growing weaker over time. My grandfather’s unwavering care for her revealed a deep, unspoken love that left a lasting impression on me. Despite their lack of outward displays of affection during my childhood, those challenging days unveiled the true depth of their bond.
Then, in July 2021, my world was shattered once more as I lost my mother. She had battled cancer, not once, but three times, demonstrating unparalleled strength and resilience. The first diagnosis was cervical cancer, followed by a more severe recurrence. Her determination led her to overcome these obstacles. However, her third battle proved to be her most formidable.
As if losing my grandmother wasn’t enough, losing my mother was devastating. Her spirit remained unbroken until the end, but her body couldn’t endure any longer. I vividly recall the heart-wrenching moment when we made the agonizing decision to disconnect life support. Tears streamed down her face as I held her, begging her to return to me. Though unconscious, she could hear our words, and her fading heartbeat echoed in my ears.
One brought me into this world, and the other breathed life into my existence. Flawed in their own ways, these two remarkable women bestowed upon me the most cherished childhood and memories to last a lifetime.
Celebrating Deepavali with family. Photo source: NewStraitsTimes
To me, ‘home’ is wherever they are, and deep down, I know they remain a comforting presence, forever shaping my notion of home. The legacy of love and resilience they left behind continues to define what it means to create a home filled with unconditional love and acceptance. In their imperfections and boundless love, I discovered the essence of home – a sanctuary where love transcends all else, and where memories are etched forever in the heart.
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