OUT of 188 love letters, one entry stood out in Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Love Letters 2018 contest. The soul-stirring piece penned by Cynthia Pilar Z. Reynes to her mother was unanimously adjudged winner in the hotel’s much-awaited Valentine’s promotion.
Now on its fourth year, Love Letters has captured the fancy of the star-crossed, the heartbroken, the loved and unloved who have stripped themselves of all inhibition and poured out their deepest, most intimate thoughts and feelings through their entries.
Reynes’s heartfelt letter, though, was different, as it had a profound effect on the judges, especially on poet, songwriter and literature teacher Therese Marie Villarante and blogger mom Jhanis Vincentté Villadolid, the Love Letters 2017 winner. Unable to hold back their tears, Villarente and Villadolid sobbed as they read Reynes’s poignant letter to her ailing mother.
The letter — emotive and beautifully written — succinctly encapsulates a daughter’s love, and SunStar Weekend is publishing Reynes’s winning piece that it may touch the lives of you dear readers as well.
It’s been a while since Alzheimer’s entered our lives. Caring for you is an excruciatingly emotional, exhausting, overwhelming and stressful journey. I have witnessed your memories and skills erode in every stage of the disease. Simple tasks like eating, combing your hair, changing your clothes, giving you baths, putting on make-up, are just some of the invariable reminders of your decline. It pains seeing you the way you are now, silent.
I miss you, Mommy. I remember how special you made all the holidays and other special occasions. You loved to prepare and bake our favorite recipes. The smell of freshly-baked fruitcake, German coffee cake, or Chiffon cake was always a delight. How I wish I could turn back time and say “I love you” more often when you were still in good health. You used to say “The more that I do” when I tell you I love you.
Mommy, as we enter our tenth year of the disease, I am sad that there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, only treatments to alter the course of the disease and improve the quality of life. But I have learned to be thankful for the small moments while caring for you. It’s worth all the effort. My love tank is full because I have a priceless garden of delightful memories and shared tears with you. You may no longer recognize me as your youngest daughter or you may have forgotten to live life, but know that deep inside my heart, you are and will always be my mommy. I love you and I will love you until the end.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mommy!