A rather unusual Mother’s Day


Before the pandemic, celebrating Mother’s Day seems so simple. It’s a celebration where you give your mother gifts, a trip to a spa, or simple breakfast. But for some, this day serves as a reminder of the person they have lost. 

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, commemorating this day got even more difficult with another lockdown amid the spike in cases, keeping people who already live away from their moms even further apart. Each day, children crave physical comfort from their mothers. Meanwhile, those who already lost their mothers may be grieving more than ever. 

For Coleen Pagaran, a 22-year old accountant, a perfect Mother’s Day would have been celebrated by giving her mother special gifts while celebrating it with the whole family. But what matters most to her is seeing her mom’s most genuine smile. 

Like a typical Filipino celebration, Coleen’s family used to spend the day cooking spaghetti and buying cake for her mom, while her siblings give their mother massages. She would also write her mother letters and buy her cheap chocolates because that was the only thing she could afford at a very young age. Everything they did earned them their mother’s huge smile, until she was nine years old.

It has been 13 years since Coleen lost her mother. But the memory of her mother’s genuine smile remains. And she longs to immortalize it. 

After her mother passed, Coleen and her family would visit her mother at the Heritage Park to give her flowers and “the Maxx red candy she loves.” They would also do picnics to celebrate with her. 

This year will not only be a time to celebrate the women who gave us our lives. Mother’s Day is also an opportunity where everyone can keep their mother’s memory alive in their hearts. 

“One thing that she has taught me that I made sure I apply in my life today was everything can be achieved through hard work and patience,” Coleen recalled. 

“When I was in elementary I was chosen to sing in an event as a representative of our class. I [knew] deep down I cannot do that because I am a very shy person, but [my mom kept] on pushing me to do it. She was there during my practice. Everything was going smooth with her guidance. The day of the event came and my nervousness or shyness ate me during my performance which resulted in not winning the contest. My mom was still there clapping and still looking very proud of me.” 

Losing a mother so young is one of the worst heartbreak a child could experience. But a mother’s death isn’t something that is survived, it is something that is lived through. 

In times of troubles, children no matter how young or old, will always lean on their mothers for strength and wisdom. But for Coleen who’s desperate to visit her mother again to gain a sense of comfort, it is not an easy feat. 

“I want to visit my mom [at Heritage Park] and buy her cake and flowers to pay tribute to her. But since there are lockdowns and safety protocols, I can’t just simply do it,” she said. 

This year, many Filipinos like Coleen may not be able to visit their mothers’ resting place again soon. This is why this coming Mother’s Day, families will be celebrating it at home like everyone else. 

“Maybe I’ll just order food and cake online and have it delivered to our house so that we can still have a simple celebration. Sing the favorite songs of our mother in karaoke,” Coleen said. 

This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult days of any year for some who has lost their mother. But while the future seems bleak right now, we can still be hopeful that we’ll get back to our usual family traditions every Mother’s Day. 

“Our regular visit to her will be continued. We visit her every sunday prior to pandemic. Bring her flowers like we always used to do. Spend some time with her, tell her about what’s going on in our life now and how we are doing. Even though we don’t know if she can hear us, it does feel good to talk to her everytime we come visit her.”