Mommy Meng died in the hospital at the age of 57. She died on a hospital bed surrounded by the people she selflessly loved and who loved her back even more. She lived a meaningful life – one where she chased her passion and owned it.
Mommy Meng chose a career that many women probably won’t even consider at this day and age. She chose to be a full-time housewife and has been one until her untimely demise. The economical challenge to raise a family have resulted for most partnered women to take jobs as the family’s breadwinner or help in generating income for the family.
In the article “How Working Moms Defines Success” published by CNN Philippines on May 21, 2015, working moms define success by balancing supporting the family, career fulfillment, and maintaining a healthy relationship with their kids. However, the same survey by CareerBuilder also yielded that a substantial number of their working mom respondents felt that they were unable to find the balance in all three measures. The survey also showed that the mom-children relationships are affected by their work, more than their male counterparts.
In the case of Mommy Meng, she chose a life that was traditionally defined by Philippine culture – a life where the mom stays and cares for the home. She was the homemaker. She was in-charge of making sure that everyone woke up and came home to a hot meal, made sure that the kids are guided right, ensures that the family’s finances are managed appropriately, and she had to make sure that everything is running smoothly at home. She was a manager-on-duty for 24 hours and 7 days a week.
If there was one thing where Mommy Meng really stood out, it was her complete love for her four “marias”. She wanted and drove them to be successful in their chosen fields. She accepted them for who they were and was always there to guide them. Of course, there were times where she had arguments with one of her daughters but her being a mother always surpasses whatever heartaches she may have felt during those times. She was often heard saying that she would be okay after her “bunso” graduates from college. The fate of her daughters mattered dearly to her.
She had spent many sleepless nights for her daughters, be it trying to figure out where to get the money for their tuition or for challenges that she was facing with them. There was one incident where one of the “marias” ran away from home. The family did not know where she was. She spent many sleepless nights reaching out to her daughter’s friends who can help them find her or, at least, give them any news that her daughter was fine. There were a lot of times where you would catch her staring blankly… worrying whether her daughter has already eaten or has taken the maintenance medication that she needed on a daily basis. I guess, Mommy Meng was the most relieved person in the family when her daughter finally went home.
Mommy Meng’s motherly love goes beyond the four corners of her house. She was a mother even to her extended family, neighbors, and even to complete strangers. She was the busiest person during family gatherings making sure that everyone was comfortable or had their full from the meal. She was the last person to eat because she was so busy attending to everyone that she forgets that she also had to dine with the family. Everyone remembers her as the Mommy Meng who will not stop offering you the last piece of fried chicken even if you are already full. The only way to stop her insistent prodding is for you take and eat the last piece. With that, you simply made her happy.
It should not come as a surprise that Mommy Meng has touched a lot of lives, even to regular people that you see in the streets. The vegetable street vendor will always find a willing customer from Mommy Meng, even if she has a full cupboard. It is her way of helping out. She will not hesitate to give what she can give to someone in need. It was very easy for her to give an extra free shirt when a stranger buys from her garage sale. She will always find a way to help or be generous despite just having enough.
Dressing up was one thing that Mommy Meng loved. Every occasion was an opportunity to be fashionably beautiful. This was how she pampered herself. She just had to be beautiful in her cute and funny way. She was often chided by family members whenever she goes to the market because she goes there prepared – prepared in the most fashionable way. But that makes Mommy Meng unique. She shows you that there is nothing wrong with being beautiful whenever you do things, even the mundane ones.
Mommy Meng had her own funny moments which her daughters loved to capture on video. She was funny in her own little way and, often times, in the most unguarded moments. She had her own mishaps which gets everyone rolling with laughter but she would always join in the fun. She was not afraid to laugh at her own mistakes or to make fun of herself. I guess, she never knew that she was a natural comedian.
She may be bubbly and carefree but Mommy Meng is her own biggest critic. She criticizes herself more than anybody else. And when she critics herself, it takes a very long time to convince her that it is not really the way she thinks it is. She loves to cook and the kitchen is probably her favorite spot inside the house. This is also where she criticizes herself to the brim. She would always be the first one to claim that the viand that she dished out lacked a particular taste even if no one has even tasted it.
If there was one word to describe Mommy Meng, she was selfless. She lived a happy and fulfilled life in a chosen career where she gave more than what she can actually receive. She offered herself to a career where she was always on-duty for her family and friends. She was not defined by the societal norms but it was her who designed her role the way she wanted it to be. She chose being a housewife and passionately owned it. It was a career that only a few can handle and Mommy Meng did it excellently.
As the cries of loss echoed along the hallways of hospital, the spirit of Mommy Meng echoed with it. She echoed the spirit that women can be good at their chosen career as long as you are passionate about it. She echoed that you cannot let society dictate on what you can be and what you can do. She imparts a very strong message that it is only YOU that defines how you live your life so live it!