The true transient city of Geneva has become a reality for me. Mama is leaving in a few hours for good en route to the Philippines. But it's not really Geneva that makes her leave, it's her diplomatic life that brings her from country to country and after six years, she is recalled to serve at capital in Manila.
Like every posting, she rushes to pack and leaves everything for the last minute. It came from her and I've never really heard it straight from her: "Maybe I do this to cope"; so she doesn't have to deal with the emotional part of goodbyes. She likes to be so busy that she forgets or is too tired to feel.
Goodbyes are hard for any culture, in any land, for any person. I think it's one of those universal human truths that just comes to haunt you. Sometimes it's welcomed but when it's your loved ones, you hope that day never comes.
For me, for the first time in my life, I will truly be on my own, in a foreign country. I will be left with Tita Minda but it's not really the same as a full house with Mama just there. No matter how old I get, I always miss my mom.
This time, I'm trying not to cry. She's left many times before. It was the hardest time in my life when she left us in the Philippines with our relatives. She didn't come home for almost two years. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I made it though and by God's grace, she came home just in time.
As she leaves this place, many happy memories come to fore. I still remember when I first came to Geneva and she picked us up in the white Toyota van of the labour office from the airport. I still remember that smell of April spring and the joy I felt to be reunited with my mom who was just plucked out of war-torn Iraq. I said it was truly a beautiful place. All these beautiful places are tied up with my mom's presence. I will now create new ones with other people. It's difficult to be separated. But as she said, we all have our own lives to live. No matter how much we try to be together, we are bound to lead separate lives. She with her diplomatic postings, my work at the UN, my brother's love of French culture, my other brothers' love of staying in one place. And mother's benchmark for good parenting is that we can fly on our own. If she has raised us to be independent and can live without her then she's done a good job. With a benchmark like that, we're bound to really live apart.
I hope I get to home this Christmas so I can be with all of them. I will be a real OFW now sending home monthly. I wonder how it will be.
As Mama leaves, I hope that it will not be so bad and not too sad. And that even if we're miles apart, we will still be together in spirit.