By Mathew Yakai in Changchun, China
THE twenty November 2008 is the date I will remember for the rest of my life. The specific time is 5:30pm.
I was in my hotel room in Changchun, China when my brother called from Kudjip, Western Highlands Province and conveyed a very devastating and sad news.
I picked up the phone and answered. “Mathew, its Len here. Are you okay?” he asked me. And that question came at the time when our mum was in critical condition at Kudjip Hospital and I knew he was going to tell me a sad story.
“Mathew, mum just passed away. I was standing beside her bed with Mark. I held one hand, Mark held the other…she called your name (Mathew), Nita, Mark, mine (Len) and took a last deep breath and closed her eyes.”
“I just covered her with the blanket and am out to inform you,” Len is my big brother, Mark and Nita are my small brothers.
To wish mum a speedy recovery, I wrote a letter for her to be conveyed through my column. But now that she has left me and my brothers, I would like to share the letter with you.
God bless you as you read my letter and sure it will bless you as you also love your mom.
DEAREST mom. This is your son writing with love after knowing that you are very sick.
I hope that this letter will reach you as I am so touched and saddened by the news.
Mom, its snowing here and the environment is so beautiful. And it’s cold as well. I am doing fine. My health is okay. I have been to church in the city lately and have peace in my heart.
As you know, I am in Changchun, China, for studies. A country far away. But I know in my heart right now, you love me so much, as I do for you.
Mom, the saddest thing I can remember is that I have missed you for almost eight years. I have not seen your gleaming face nor heard your sweet motherly voice ever since.
I visited you briefly during my Christmas holidays between 1996 and 1998. In 1999, I visited you briefly after my study in Fiji. From 2000 to 2002, I was in Port Moresby.
I left for Japan in the beginning of 2002 and returned in 2005. Upon my return to PNG, mum, I am so sorry that I did not find anytime to visit you in our beautiful Yapalgu village.
Mom, it is not an excuse. I feel so guilty to say this! During my brief work in Port Moresby, I knew for sure to visit you because I missed you so much, as you did to me.
But the hours turned into days, days into months until September 2007 when I had to leave for China.
Mom, when writing this letter, my heart is paining for you and tears of sadness drips down my chicks because I am sure the natural connection between our hearts is so strong.
Ma, I will be here till July next year and hope to see you again. Though I did not see you, I heard your voice on Thursday 17th July 2008 from Pogera.
Because of our love for each other, you cried on the phone, which broke my heart. Mom, though you told me that you were seriously ill, I was confident and replied that you did not sound that sick.
I told you to be strong because nothing will happen till I come home and see you. You assured me that you will still wait for me until the time our God brings us together.
You were taken to see doctors in Lae and sister Delma Tapako in Lae helped you a lot during your stay there. I was so touched by her generosity up till today.
People assure me that you will recover soon until I come home. And within my heart, I am sure that you will get well soon.
My Christian brothers Gene D. Iyovo and Jeffers T. Heptol in China are praying for you and always tell me that, “Gods’ ways of doing things can make you get out from your sick bed.”
Mum, brother Len came home to see you and is close to you now. Brother Nita, Mark and sister Lois are already at home with you.
Ma, I am the only one missing (tears). I am so sorry! If it wasn’t for the plane costs then I promise you that I will be there amongst my brothers and sisters, taking care of you right now.
Changchun city is eight hours by train to Beijing. Then I have to catch plane to either Brisbane or Sydney in Australia that takes another six hours. From Australia to Port Moresby would take approximately three or so hours. Then from Port Moresby to Mt Hagen will take 45 minutes.
Mummy, distance does not matter with me, when I know that you are in pain and need to see me there amongst my brothers and sisters. But the cost involves is so huge that I can not afford as a student.
This is the reason I am not there now. But mum, can you please do me a BIG favor? (tears). When you see Len, Nita, Mark and Lois, please remember that I am also there with you. My prayers and heart is with you right now, mummy.
Our extended family members are beside you, I am sure because they love you.
Mummy, I know, you did sweetest things for me when I was a little child. You breast fed me when I was a baby. You cuddled me towards your heart when I felt cold. You held my hand to school when I first attended my primary school.
On my way back home so hungry, I saw from the far distance and when seeing the smoke swirling above the roof of our house, I knew, there was a mum, preparing dinner.
When there was no food in the house, you did every thing to make sure I did not sleep hungry.
Come Sundays, you attired me with the best cloth and made sure I attended the Sunday school classes. Mummy, I love you because of all you have done.
When dad was teaching at primary schools before the Independence of PNG, we all climbed the mountains, crossed the rivers and walked the rough terrains for dad to educate today’s leaders.
Remember, you helped dad a lot those days to teach men and women who are now developing PNG in various ways.
When there was rain, you sheltered us. When there was sun, you shaded us. When we were hungry, you fed us. Come the night when the stars shine and birds were sleeping, you made sure we went to bed.
But you stayed up till late doing the dishes, cleaning the house and the last to go to bed.
When the dawn emerged, you were always the first to wake up and prepared our breakfast and get us ready for the day.
During those days, I saw you crying sometimes and I asked you why? You told me, “Mathew, you do not understand, because I am a woman.”
I told you that I never understand. But you hugged me and said that I will never. But today, mummy, I know that you cry for reasons.
If at that time I called God and ask why you cried, God would tell me that “When I made your mum, she had to be special. I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to comfort. I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from you.”
“I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.”“I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly.”
Mum, if I have never said thank you for bringing me into the world I’d like to do that now. I will pray for you from my heart while you are in your sick bed. I will stand with my brothers and sisters to support you one day when God gathers us together.
Mummy, remember that there is no special person to me in this world then you. Mum, you are the best (tears)!
I pray fervently and hope your day is sunshine and flowers with happy thoughts to fill the house. There’s never been a minute I wasn’t glad you were my Mom.
Mom, distance keeps us apart but our LOVE for each other binds us together. God shall comfort and bless you and I wish you a speedy recovery.
Your beloved son!
When writing this letter in my room on the beautiful snowy Monday, Nov 17, 2008, Jeffers T. Heptol, a PNG student in China and a powerful man of God came online.
Last weekend, I did a commentary on his church activities in China. When hearing of my mother’s illness, he wasted no time to pray with me. Below is Jeffers prayer for my mom.
“Lord in Jesus Name, my brother Mathew and I come before your throne...Lord we pray for Mathew's mom back at home in PNG. Lord, we do not know how she is feeling in her body but you know Lord.
We pray that you will see her with your loving and merciful eye and touch her with your fresh hand and heal her for your own glory.
Father, in Jesus Name, we pray for total healing from the crown of her head to the soul of her feet. Lord, we uphold her entire life before your throne.
If the sickness is external or internal, we know that Lord Jesus you are a great Healer...you will heal her right now Lord. We are thankful Jesus…we stand with her, comfort her and feel the pains that she is going through.
Lord, we are reminded that by your strife’s, we are healed and we speak this assurance over Mathew’s mom. She is healed by your strife’s and she is set free from any sickness and diseases. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Tue 12/09/08 3:26 PM
Early Merry Christmas to you,
I was touched by the letter from China to your sick mother. I was touched by it as I had similar experiences in coffee plantations in the Western Highlands Province.
Now I speak different languages from Simbu through Western Highlands and Southern Highlands. I was privileged to have a women called mother.
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing something like what you did that appeared in the Sunday Chronicle of Nov 23, 2008. There could have been others touched like it did me and am proud that I know you.
I have been unemployed for sometime and just started with Law and Justice Sector Secretariat as the Media assistant and have access to email facilities so am writing to congratulate you for a wonderful story.
I hope and pray that your mother gets well and you return from your studies. I too have not seen my mother for sometime now and hope and pray that I will see her sometimes soon. The last I heard was that she had no food and wanted me to send a bag of rice to her.
Thank you once again for writing a story that moved me, maybe others as well. Keep up the good work and see you when you return.
PNG Law & Justice Sector Secretariat
Ph: 675 323 3144
Mobile: 675 637 0423