Ode To My Mum

I lost my Mum to lung cancer on August 30, 2016 and that has made me realise how transient life is. She was still in reasonably good shape albeit feeling tired and a bit breathless when I went to Kuching on August 14. I never expected her to leave us so soon. She was first diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in August 2015 and the oncologist informed us that my mum’s life expectancy was only three to six months. But my mum was a figure of strength and defied the odds to survive for a year. Even on the morning of August 29, she was able to have her usual light breakfast with us. She breathed her last breathe at about 8.30am on August 30 and she left us with such a peaceful look on her face.

I will always cherish the fond memories of my mum. Her death has changed my perspective on life as I realise that life can be very short and unpredictable. Her death also reminds me to live a more meaningful life, reinforcing my resolve to savour it.

I dedicate the following poem to my dearest mum. You may be gone but your love had made such a huge difference in our lives.

Mum acting as Virgin Mary in 1947

Mum (the one kneeling) acting as Virgin Mary in 1947 in a Christmas play at Methodist School in Sibu

Ode To My Mum

In 1932 you came into this world

Let your story be told.

You survived your teenage years

Amidst hardship and fears.

 

Under the Japanese occupation

Life called for gumption.

You became a woman of substance

And a pillar of strength under any circumstance.

 

At Methodist School in Sibu

You accepted your Lord and Saviour,Yesu.

You married when you were a tender teen

Shouldering the responsibility in the house of Lim.

 

Four sons and a daughter

Raising them fell on your shoulders.

When your youngest son was born

Your heart was almost torn.

 

When your husband wanted to give him away

You steadfastly refused to let your husband have his way.

Thus your youngest son too was raised as a Lim

Remaining as the family’s youngest sibling.

 

When your children were small

You dearly loved them all.

Getting up at night with a needle and torchlight

You killed those nasty bed bugs outright.

 

You healed our hurts with loving grace

Erasing our tears without any trace.

You were there for us through thick and thin

When we were sad, you made us grin.

 

You juggled your duties as mother and housewife

Never ever complained about your life.

Our love for you will never cease

We pray that you have found eternal peace.

 

Your sufferings they have ended

But your life has not been tainted.

Cancer may have ravaged your body

But you are now with Lord Almighty.

 

We thank you for all that you’ve done

We’re very happy that you were our mum.

Farewell for now for you must go

To a fairer land without any sorrow.

Mum during her teen days

Mum during her teen days

 

Dearly loved, dearly missed.

Your loving youngest son.

Lim Chin Yong

September 8, 2016

13 comments

  1. My heart-felt condolences, Chin Yong on the loss of your dearest mom . You have expressed the special person she was in your poem. She will be remember for as long as people read this poem should the Lord tarries. She has impacted your life in a big way during her brief sojourn on earth. If there is any comfort in her going away, it is what she had been to you and the legacy of sweet memory she has left in your mind and heart. What an angel to have lived among us. God bless her. May her soul rest in eternal peace. Continue her legacy with renewed confidence. God bless. Tingang Trang

    • Thank you Tingang. My mum passed away so suddenly that we felt so lost. When I called my sister to inform her of mum’s death, she broke down and cried uncontrollably. Tears just welled up in my eyes and I fought to control myself. But we are comforted by the peace that was on my mum’s face as she passed on. Though she fought her cancer for 1 year, she did not suffer any pain. The Lord has been merciful on my mum. We feel consoled that she is now in a better place.

  2. Beautifully written Chin Yong. Your mum left a legacy of sacrificial love for her family and she has a son who makes her remembered and appreciated..

  3. My heart-felt condolences to your loss. Your poem is beautiful!
    fyi, I was born in Sibu many decades ago. A foochow, always a foochow even though now I carry a German last name because my husband is Deutsch. I’m an Australian living in New York. I’m glad to have stumbled on to your website!
    Best wishes,
    margaret
    Author of The Mindful Practice of Falun Gong

    • Thank you Margaret. I am honoured by your comment. I made a Google search on you and found out that you are Dr Margaret Trey and your book has great reviews. Foochows are very enterprising people and thrive on competition. Do you still come back to Sarawak occasionally?

      • I am equally honored to hear that you google searched and found me. Yes, I always love to go back to Sibu when I can afford to—time wise and money wise. My 99-year old mother still lives in Sibu with my brothers. I went back last year by myself. Next year my husband & I hope to travel back for my mother’s birthday.
        That’s an interesting remark about foochows thriving on competition. It used to be the Cantonese who ruled all the Chinatowns in most of the world’s big cities. Now it’s foochow, believe it or not! Try New York Chinatown for a fact. Better be able to speak Foochow!
        Are you still in Binatang? I like your web design. It organized and uncluttered.

        • Wow! Your mum is 99…that is incredible. She must be a super healthy lady. Next year she will be 100! She definitely deserves a big super special birthday bash.

          I am so surprised that Foochows now also dominate the Chinatown in New York.

          I have been living in Miri since 1981. I only visit Binatang once in a blue moon.

          Thank you for your comments on my web design. I got someone to do it for me.

          • Mom is still very alert and so I call her Mon-Fri. Gee, I’ve lost count whether she’s 99 this year. She asked to see us and so I told her we’ll come to see her.
            Foochows not only in New York City. In London too, my sis told me. She lives there while I live here. As you can see from my book, we both practice Falun Gong meditation practice for many years now.
            Miri: I haven’t been there for decades as I left Sibu in 1980 & never really had a reason to visit the place cos’ I don’t really have friends or relatives there except for my first cousin Albert.
            I can see your web designer link below & visited their website. Looks very professional. What are their fees? Affordable or not. I have not much idea myself & need a lot of help to get my webpage up. If you can make a referral, that will be nice. Please feel free to reply me via my email address. Thank you. M

  4. Dear Mr. Lim, my heartfelt condolence n deepest sympathy to u n ur family upon the demised of ur beloved mom. I personally share ur grief during this difficult time. I hv bn thru the same too whn i lost my mom mny yrs back n it was like i lost part of my life. But thanks God for He is still great n He got me thru it graciously n the hope that mom is now in heaven. So i hope the same belief should goes to u. God is with u.

    • Thank you Louies. My consolation is that I know my mum is in a better place now. God has plans for her and I will need to move on with my life journey.

  5. My deepest condolence to you,
    It was such a great poem to read at!
    Thanks for sharing this.

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