When I was a kid, I sort of liked getting sick.


Not only because I could miss school and stay home. I liked being sick because Mom would bring me milk and cookies as I stayed in bed.

In all the times I got sick as a kid (which was about every other month), I never saw my Mom get too tired not to serve me, or feed me, or fuzz over me. In my mind, the earth may shake, the moon melt, and the sun explode, but she was the one thing in this universe that will never ever change.

Many years later, already as a lay missionary, I remember getting terribly sick. And there she was, just as if the decades folded up into mere days, as she went up to my room for her hourly visits, bringing food, warm clothes, medicine, prayer, etc. Again, it felt good having a loving mother to watch over me. All I had to do was ask, and she'd be there for me.

But this time, as her visits progressed, I noticed how she entered my room almost panting, her breath short, her words faint, her movements slow. I also read in her eyes the acceptance of a painful loss: for the first time, she was discovering that she couldn't care for me much longer.

My suspicions were right. A few days later, she tearfully shared with me her emotional realization. "I'm just getting older, Bo. I got so tired these past few days caring for you. I began thinking that perhaps it'll be good for you to get married and have a wife now." That was the first time she ever said that to me -- someone who for years always wanted me to be a priest.

One day, Mom got sick. A rare event when it happens. So I went to her room, sat beside her, and chatted about everything she wanted to talk about. (To her, talking to me is better than all the milk and cookies in the world.) I felt good just being beside her.

I'm writing this to you, Mom.

I know I travel a lot and I'm rarely at home, because that's the life of a missionary. And I do thank you for your all-out support for me in my decision to serve the Lord.

But if you do get sick, and no one's at home to give you milk and cookies, I want you to know that all you have to do is call me, and I'll be there for you. Yes, we can talk as much as you want.

You're the best mother I can ever wish for.

You may be too old to care for me the way you did, but I'm old enough to care for you now.

In my pride, I don't show it as much as I should, but I just want you to know that I love you, Mom.

I really, really do.

You have given me your life.

I thank you.

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