Where do I begin?
It started with her first “Hello” to Hemi, the two years old babe boy suffering from Cerebral palsy, with permanent movement disorders. She could see him stretching on the ground, unable to walk, set, eat or talk. Although he was totally dependent, yet he was smart and able to occupy hearts with his charming smile.
Abandoned by his parents, his poor grandmother was raising him in a humble nomad house somewhere in a rural area of Davao, Philippine. That’s where the guardian met the angel.
“Take him, please!” the grandmother helplessly offered him to Mira. Next day, unlike the vast majority of us, Mira informed her family that she has decided to be there for Hemi and they agreed! That was not a coincidence.
Like the puzzled Philipino judge handling the adoption process, I was stupid enough to ask her “Why Hemi?!”. Soon I felt ashamed, selfish and embarrassed when she selflessly responded “Because he deserves a chance!”. Such a simple and human answer left me speechless, shrinking and feeling dwarfly small. Again, that was not a coincidence.
She decided to be there for him as long as it takes, knowing that his hour glass couldn’t hold much sand. But she never imagined that his last smile and peace of sand would unceremoniously blossom and drop sooner than what she wished for.
When I saw her unusual 09:04 PM missed call, I thought I was prepared for the worst, until I heard her devastated voice repeating for the third time “Hemi died”. No, I wasn’t prepared for this soul burning and mind freezing news. What could a small person like me possibly say to a broken hearted mother?
When Hemi moved in to Mira’s life, he found abandoned love and care not only from Mira but also from her Perales family. In return, Hemi offered this selfless family a noble purpose of life.
It wasn’t a coincidence. Silent visits to the needy and the vulnerable in the Philippine embassy, hospitals and construction sites is a norm in this selfless family.
I know Mira since 2013, hence, I was not surprised when she confidently repeated “Hemi will talk and walk someday” or when she dreamed of him graduating with a university degree as achieved by some other CP victims. I genuinely believe she could have achieved these goals.
She has inherited the Perales determination from her father side and selflessness from her mother’s. This is where she sources her desire to seriously live a selfless and purposeful life. That’s when and where Hemi started his first ever professional nutritional, speech and physical therapies. In the centre, he was known as the “Handsome Congeniality” for being a happy little boy amongst other CP cases. Obviously, values are deeply seated in this family that I wish to meet someday.
From that first “Hello”, Mira abandoned her batchelor lifestyle and turned into a responsible mother, offering unconditional love.
Don’t get me wrong, Mira doesn’t drink or smoke, but what she abandoned was her batchelor dreams. Instead of travelling the world, she kept visiting Philippine, where Hemi was, each and every opportunity. She cut her expenses to support Hemi’s demanding medical needs. She was aware of the tiniest details related to Hemi’s daily life and progress. Non of these are coincidence.
When the working single mother had to be in UAE to earn for her son, the Perales were taking turns to look after Hemi and spoil him. Nevertheless, that never stopped Mira from daily skyping her Hemi and monitoring his condition remotely through the CCTV. She was always there for him. That was not a coincidence.
Inspite of being away most of the time, the fact that Hemi recognized and distinguished Mira as his Nanai (mother in Philippine dialect) and the fact that he cried like any other child whenever Mira disappeared from the Skype screen, are testimonies of Mira and Hemi’s selfless love. He knew she is there for him.
That’s Mira, a selfless human who can’t live without a challenging purpose. Not so many know this about her and I feel privileged to be among the very few.
Last Thursday, February the 6th, and after three beautiful years with the Perales, Hemi decided to move on. He found that other one and the only who could offer him more care. He was taught to be brave and so he did when he smiled for the last time and closed his eyes to reopen them, healed and happy in the arms of his creator, the almighty God.
I can hear him telling the almighty how greaftul he is for choosing Mira and the Perales to love him. I can hear him echoing:
“Thank you Nanai. Thank you for being there for me. Guess what, I am finally cured! I can walk and talk now. So, stay beautiful as usual. To you I dedicate this song. I know you love me so much but I love you more!”:
Where do I begin?
To tell the story of how great a love can be.
The sweet love story that is older than the sea.
The simple truth about the love she brings to me.
Where do I start?
With her first “Hello”,
She gave new meaning to this empty world of mine.
There’d never be another love, another time.
She came into my life and made the living fine.
She fills my heart.
She fills my heart with very special things.
With angels’ songs, with wild imaginings.
She fills my soul with so much love.
That anywhere I go I’m never lonely.
With her around, who could be lonely.
I reach for her hand, it’s always there.
How long does it last?
Can love be measured by the hours in a day?
I have no answers now but this much I can say.
I know I’ll need her ’till the stars all burn away.
And she’ll be there.