I think it was my mother who inadvertently taught me how to tune a guitar. This was a time when my fingers were too stubby to sustain a chord. I just watched her gently pluck the topmost string first and then slowly makes her way down to the last. Once she is done, she would then strum a beautiful melody to check if the guitar is indeed properly tuned.
After spending too many hours watching YouTube covers, I finally found out that the melody she was strumming each time was Here, There and Everywhere, a song that has a complex musical arrangement but with deceptively simple chords. I could only guess that this is one of her few favorites, along with songs from the Carpenters and Simon and Garfunkel.
Unfortunately, I did not become very good at playing the guitar as the years went by. I started practicing only in college and somehow mastered Leaving on a Jet Plane and all the other songs with the D-A-G-A harmony. But there was one rare instance where I was forced to tune a guitar because there was no one else who could. Thankfully I could still recall the pattern of guitar strokes that my mom has been using.
I remember buying her a new guitar a few years back since our old one already broke down. It was not only an overdue gift, but it was also a simple token of appreciation for all the sacrifices she has made for our family. She lovingly took care of my dad, a paraplegic and a double-stroke survivor. It is one long and humbling journey to say the least. She composed most of my Grade 4 writing assignments, accompanied me in my college enrollment and comforted me during our family’s trying times. She gave up many of her personal dreams so that my sister and I can pursue ours.
I am very grateful that God made someone as beautiful as my mom on this day many years ago. 9/11 for most of the world would mean a tragedy of unspeakable terms. 9/11 for us, however, would always mean a joyful celebration of my mom’s life- one that is well lived, selflessly shared, and fully blessed.
Mom, thank you kaayo sa tanan. I wish to honor you with this simple blog post, but even the most eloquent of words could never fully capture your strength, perseverance and grace. We are then excited for your next adventures in life – learn a new skill while you are here in the Philippines, visit your grand kids there in Dubai and serve our faithful God everywhere He may bring you next.
I also look forward to the moment where you would tune and then strum the guitar again. I have memorized that Beatles song already, so perhaps dad, ate and I, could finally sing along with you.
Editor’s note: this essay was originally published in another blog back in 2012.
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