Today is Mother’s Day. And we won’t be celebrating with my mum. She passed away on Jan 19 this year. These intricate embroidery painstakingly hand-sewn, stitch by stitch, on two pillows and a bolster is her legacy.
Mum had survived World War 2 by hiding underground with her sisters during the air raids. When she was younger, she used to make a living washing clothes for the families of British soldiers who were stationed here in the 1950s. This led to severe psoriasis on the soles of her feet as she had to squat in soapy waters while washing the clothes. She had to chop wood for cooking and carried buckets of water from the well on a pole across her shoulder.
Later, she learnt to make things on her own and finally found her talent in sewing when sewing peranakan beaded shoes to earn a living. After her marriage, she helped my uncle in his dressmaking shop while looking after my siblings and me. When i was a young girl, she loved sewing pretty lace dresses for me, and when my daughter came along she sewed some for her too. At one time, she was paid for sewing lace flowers, one by one, onto wedding gowns. We still kept the rosary pouches on which she had embroidered our names.
Last December, she told me she still had 3 un-worn hand-sewn suits of blouses and pants in her house and expressed her wish to wear them. But it was not meant to be.
How apt that she sewed the phoenixes and birds. Yes, she has already flown into the arms of Jesus. We miss you Mum.
Happy Mother’s Day! Wishing all mothers God’s graces and blessings today…and every day! By B & R