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Published: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 8:38:53 AM

Heart & Soul: My mother, my guardian angel

The writer and his mother, Emmie Cheung.

The writer and his mother, Emmie Cheung.

The writer pays tribute to ‘a gift from above’ — his mother.

There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and a son. - Anonymous

THE greatest gift I’ve ever had, came from God. I call her Mother!” The saying is so true. She never gave birth to me, but she just knows when I am happy, in trouble, sad, need a shoulder to cry on or a hug. She gives me assurance that she’s always there for me and makes me feel safe.

She knows how to take away my sorrows and assure me that “this too shall pass my son”. These are words of comfort and signs of assurance which a child will experience when his mother is still by his side. Me? I was given a second chance.

I lost my Amma due to a sudden heart attack when I was 18. My whole world crumbled then. Too young to really understand my personal bereavement, I was a lost child. Pain overwhelmed my heart. Amma’s warmth, love, care and smile was gone.

If ever there was an angel from above, that would have to be my Mummy. She held me, hugged me, loved me and cared for me, and she still does so today. She took away the agony which my heart could neither express nor cry out. She healed my wounded heart so that I can once again utter the word “mother” and I have her to thank for it.

She never experienced labour pains, but that very pair of soft hands had conducted thousands of deliveries. She had received many babies in her hands as a midwife, but she never had one of her own. She never experienced the feeling of bearing a child, or gone through childbirth. But she was always the first to receive a child at every new labour admission. She was a “mother” firsthand to many newborns.

God, He listens and knows what’s best for us. He predestined us to be together. There was once I asked my Mummy, “why did you chosse me?” She said, “Son, things happens for a reason.”

If you were to tell me that one becomes a mother only when she gives birth to a child, I would disagree.

In my case, my mother was “born” to love me, she was a gift to me.

Both children and adults fell easily into the arms of Mother Theresa. Why? Because she was a gift to mankind. To me, my Mummy is an angel. There is an invisible umbilical tie between us, a divine bond. We are so different physically. I am an Indian of Hindu faith while Mummy is a Chinese Catholic, but in the eyes of the Maker, we are all same and His children. My Mummy tells me, “Son, I’m colour blind”.

She didn’t change my religious belief. She let me continue in my faith while she continues to attend to her Sunday obligations.

Mummy and I are inseparable. Anyone who meets her for the first time would feel comfortable in her presence at the first meeting.

My friends have easily become her friends, and they drop by my house often and have conversations with her. Those who don’t know my background so well, even go as far as to say I resemble Mummy and that I have her looks.

When they say that, we just gaze at each other and nod in agreement to their remark. They assume my father must be Indian. Thanks to Malaysia’s multi-cultural society, we needn’t explain our ethnicity.

There is a saying that you can choose your friends, but not your parents.

This is true, and I had wonderful parents who are no longer alive. But, God picked Emmie Cheung and sent her to me. I cherish God’s gift.

Children must learn to count their blessings when are they are adopted. There are many reasons why a child is adopted into a family. They might have been infants and when they grow up, some of them may feel the need to know their biological parents and give the adoptive family a hard time.

I understand why this may happen as sometimes, they suffer anguish because they feel they were unwanted by their biological parents.

As far as I’m concerned, if a family has adopted you, it means they love you and you are part of their family. You are blessed, for you are a gift to them too.

Mummy hailed from China and was born to a rich carpenter, who was later reduced to nothing when the communist rule set in. As a child, she was forced to work the fields, walk buffaloes to the mountains to graze on grass even though she was barely seven years old.

Years later, she was able to cross over to Hong Kong and ended up in a refugee camp under the care of the United Nations.

At the age of 17, she found the courage to go to Britain all by herself and was a complete stranger in a foreign land.

She enrolled herself at a nursing school and was qualified as State Registered Nurse in midwifery from St Albans and Glasgow.

She later became a British citizen and destiny brought her to Malaysia. She went through May 13, 1968 and was one of the first nurses at the leprosy hospital in Sungai Buluh, Selangor. She later decided to make Malaysia her home. We met when I was in my 20s and she made me her heir.

To every child, their mother is their sunshine. I love you, Mummy! You are not only my sunshine, you are my guardian angel. Happy Mother’s Day!

Do you have any real-life, heart-warming stories to share with readers? E-mail them to star2@thestar.com.my. We’d love to hear from you.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Heart & Soul, Mother's Day, China

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