Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Love For Reading

I had been reading as early as I could remember. Old magazines borrowed and bought once a month because my Dad enjoyed answering the crossword puzzle and books from school, whether torn or old which was typical from somebody who had studied in a public school. Some days I got lucky when I visit my cousins who studied in private schools and bought books every year. Since it was a given that lots of their school books will no longer be use, my Dad took the liberty of acquiring a few of them, instead of letting them rot due to non usage. I think that helped developed my love for reading and how I learned to value books, whether borrowed or not.

Thus commenced my journey of spending hours alone, learning and knowing words, worlds and phrases including the colorful names, characters and plots that went with it. That habit continued until I had kids. There may have been instances that I felt when the love for reading perhaps had waned because I could not  even finish one book in a year, still I tried to revive it until I succeeded. Old habits die hard indeed.


The love for books and reading was something that I have inherited from my Mom. Though our reading choices had become different through the years, we somehow still get connected when we discuss about the books that we have read. The story lines, the dialogues even the authors will always be a favorite topic each time we have our long conversations which had gotten rare over the years. A sad fact considering it was her who taught me how to read not only because she was a teacher but simply because I believe every parent always find the time to read to her young kids no matter how tired and busy she is.

There had been a time when my Mom had read almost every day since my Dad passed away. The line "to ease the pain of losing one's other half " can be seen and read on the book's first or last page with every pocketbook that she had bought. Perhaps it had been a mantra or a silent prayer at that time. She once  told me that the minute she started reading, she let the story carry her to where it went, making her mind busy and wander helping her forget  the pain, loss and misery that will start to envelope her once she finished the book. I am not sure if the pain had started to lessen when she started having grandkids and witnessed all the growing pains that went with it to such time that all of them had left until she was alone again in her empty nest.

A few years ago my Mom had one major stroke that had affected her speech. It was the first time I heard her talk differently over the phone, unaware that tears already rolled down on my cheeks,  trying my best to cover the sadness in my voice. Despite the lack of sleep due to working in graveyard shifts, I immediately went back home, forgetting all the tiredness, afraid that it might be the last time. The minute I arrived in the hospital, my eldest daughter who went ahead to take care of her said that my   Mom had asked if we already bought the seventh book for the Harry Potter series. Though  she was already on her late 70's, Mom had read every Harry Potter book and was even familiar with terms like " Quidditch " and " Gryffindor. " Despite her condition, she wanted to know if Harry Potter died in the end.  My daughter saw the eagerness in her old eyes, now both with cataracts, eagerly waiting for an answer.

" We already bought the book, Nanay. Try to get well soon because it is a good read until the end."

My mom then replied, "Very good because if he died, I am not going to read the seventh book anymore, "

When I heard about this, I knew that my mom will recover. And she did. And every confinement there after, whether due to a mild stroke or not. I know that no matter how many times her health may seem to fail her, the love for reading will not. It will continue to shield her like an invisible fortress, willing her to turn another page in her life, knowing that in every chapter, there will always  be a story needed to be told.


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