My Mother has 9 Lives

This is a myth, of course.

Hello Kitty has only one.

The Old English aphorism: "A cat has nine lives; for three he plays; for three he strays; and for the last three he stays," probably hints more about the Labyrinthe Righting Relfex that allows for these cute creatures to perform aerial acrobats.

But Mother has been quite a feline in many ways.

When I was five, they were on their way to a personal appointment with President Marcos when our 1955 Ford bat-mobile plummeted from a 14 feet vertical-clearance bridge. During the pneumatic drift, my mother sliced a prayer: "Lord, my children are so young, please spare me." 

There was commotion not because of death. There was chaotic wonder on how this vehicle maintained its equilibrium while landing on all fours with only a cracked windshield. Papa's nose broke. Mama's spine was compressed, but breath was not snuffed.

And then, there was a massive stroke. Mother was taken to the nearest hospital which happened to be one of the more sophisticated rehab center in Manhattan. My sister called crying. They were going to charge Mama, 15 grand a day for about a month of recuperative stay. She prayed every single day. Her shine was dazzling. She gained the reputation of being the joyful angel of 9th floor. The good Jews decided not to charge her the actual rates. Her final assessment was 10 cents.

During my recent illness, she flew in to serve as nurse. The soup and care I received was unequaled balm. After all the caring, one night, I heard a loud cry for help. We were both limping as I took her to the ER. After multiple scans, the doctors couldn't find the trace of what appeared like a serious storm. Little wonder ... during her brief stay, she would always sing a song I wrote: " I'm getting stronger, when I sing your praises ... I'm getting stronger when I think of Jesus ..."

She is now traveling towards 90's. She still looks unbelievably young.

The renewal of her strength does not come from some pithy mythology. It is derived from an exchange: she waits upon her Lord ... thus she soars on wings like eagles. There is no tiring flapping, just unrelenting trusting.

By the way, she has more than 9 lives. Read her daily FB posts: she will cat-walk you through the alleys of her warrantied eternity.

Photography: Renchi Arce / Art and Soul

Photography: Renchi Arce / Art and Soul