STOMPer Jessica remembers the dark period in her life when her dad lost his job and turned to alcohol and gambling, and borrowed from loansharks. However, Jessica's mother forgave her father, a decision that would 'change their lives forever.
Jessica made a video in tribute to her mother, and shares her story with us:
"How did you find the energy, Mum, to do all the things you did?
"To be a teacher, a nurse, a housekeeper, a counsellor, a chauffeur, a cook, a playmate and a friend to every member of our family. I just can't comprehend.
"I know how often I took you for granted when I was growing up. I always assumed you'd be there when I needed you and you always were. But I never really thought about what that meant till I got older and began to realize how often your time and energy were devoted to us.
"You always saved the best for us. No matter what we did, you always stuck with us. When we are down, you pick us up, you hug us and love us. You have taught us to keep our balance throughout life. We have learnt to be strong, to never give up easily whenever times are bad.
"When grandfather was struck with a stroke and was bedridden for 5 years, you were most patient, strong and caring. Each of us in the family were either busy with our studies or work, and the pressure of taking care of grandfather fell on your shoulders.
"You consoled grandfather and helped him cope with the day-to-day challenges of everyday tasks. We were all stressed with the added attention and needs of grandfather but your positive attitude kept us going. Other than coping with daily chores, there was a need to prepare a separate set of meals suitable for grandfather.
"You have never given up out of frustration. You have taught me the most valuable lesson in life. Once you put your heart into doing something, you do it with sincerity, kindness, honesty, passion, enthusiasm. Never give up. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
"I would not have become a teacher and would never be able to make a difference to the many students I come across, without you. In my years of teaching, I have also encouraged my students to stay strong. Regardless of how bad the situation is, how intense the pressure is, how depressing the circumstances, I have told them not to throw in the towel and admit defeat without trying.
"Other than teaching us to be strong, you have also taught us the value of understanding. When Pa was retrenched in 2000, you were supportive despite the hard time of making ends meet.
"We had to use our money wisely, pocket money was cut by half, the fans and lights were not switched on unless really necessary. Breakfast was a simple piece of biscuit and we had to pack our own lunch for recess, which was usually just a slice of plain bread.
"For lunch and dinner, we usually had just two dishes to go with the rice or porridge. During that time, Pa was trying his best to find another job but times were bad and he could not find anything suitable.
"Things turned from bad to worse. Pa resorted to drinking and gambling to forget all his troubles. Soon, we had loansharks pounding on our door, splashing paint on our walls, and posters asking us to pay up without delay were put up to embarrass our family. It was a dark period for us.
"That was the first time that I saw you shed tears and were deeply upset by what had happened. I remembered Pa begging for your forgiveness and he promised to change for the better. He swore he would stay away from the liquor and gambling.
"I remembered you looked lost, not knowing what to do. But your decision would be one that would change our lives forever.
"For the sake of keeping everyone together as one family, you decided to give Pa one last chance. Thanks to you, Pa really gave up all his bad habits. Pa finally found a job and slowly paid off his debts. We are one happy family again.
"You have always put the family before your needs. Your sacrifice has taught me that we should not be too self-centred. In life, there are countless events where our principles and values are put to test, but you have been a role model to us. I look at you and know I am never alone.
"I am glad you are my mother and I am glad I am your child. I am sorry if I have in the past disappointed you.
"All I want to say is: I love you, Mum. Happy Mother’s Day! I know I mean the world to you and I want you to know that you too, mean everything to me."
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