I Have Two Moms

Isabel Nasis Justiniano obituary

Mommy’s obituary

I have two moms. One biological and one adoptive. Last year’s Mother’s Day blog was about my biological mother whom I’ve never met and might not ever meet in this lifetime. This year’s blog is about my adoptive mother whom I’ve only known through letters, packages, phone calls, and a few visits.

She was in her teens when World War II broke out. After the war, she went back to finish her studies in Nursing, then took up Pharmacy, both courses from the University of Santo Tomas. She then took her Master’s degree in Education at Loyola University of Chicago and went back to the Philippines to become a school directress.

She married my dad on 1 July 1966 and after three years, they still hadn’t have a baby. So when I was left in the hospital and was up for adoption, she adopted me on 16 April 1969 and gave me their last names as my own. Her life as an adoptive mother started.

My memories of infanthood and toddlerhood were blurred, except for a few images and memories of my walking-talking doll, the Sound of Music long playing album playing on the stereo, and my most vivid memory of crying when she left for the States during Martial Law.

Since then I was left alone with my Dad, my Uncle, and a nanny. I only saw her on pictures on diplomas hung on the walls. I only hear her voice whenever we receive an overseas call from her. I only met her for the first time in the late 1990, months after my graduation from college.

We don’t have the mother-daughter bonding that others had in their lifetime. Ours was different. I admit, I was never close to her. Probably because I experienced the saddest Christmas in 1985 when my Dad told me of their divorce. She divorced my Dad and married my stepfather, who I find kind, too. That might have moved me farther away from her.

We became a little bit closer when I graduated Nursing in 1994. That’s were the good memories of mother-daughter bonding would come from. I knew she was proud mom seeing me receiving four medals on stage and showered me with gifts afterward.

But things went sour when I decided to take a different career path and started leaving everything behind. I became a writer and began living the writer’s life. I was excited when I told her the news that I was a finalist in a scriptwriting contest. But I only received a flat, “So?” from her. Unlike my Dad who is proud of every writing achievements I had, my Mom never was.

We even become estrange when her materialism conflicted with my  ideals of a family. My married life is different from hers. And I will try my very best to give my husband and daughter the family treatment of a wife and mother I ought to be.

Since then we never contacted each other. She stayed in the States for the rest of her life. And when I received the news of her death, my family and I were with my Dad in his hometown. Honestly, I felt blank. No emotions. Too bad we hadn’t had the chance to say goodbye. She would have been proud of her granddaughter named after her who graduated valedictorian in grade school recently. She would have known how her ex-husband is living a simple and healthy life at 90.

There are times I thought why did she adopt me only to end up estranged with each other. But God showed me the answers. The people around me then and now have shaped me into what I am. These are the people who gave me ideas and inspiration in life as well as in my stories.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, including my adoptive mother in heaven.


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