Difficulties: Poison to the Weak, but Elixir to the Strong

A tribute to my late beloved mother who will always have a special place in my heart.

I first learned about the Gohonzon from my mother at a tender age of two in 1981. Not exactly sure about what chanting was all about, I followed her anyway. However, I was aware of one thing that my mother was a strong woman, and she derived her strength through chanting to the Gohonzon.

We were living in humble circumstances in a one-room flat. Times were tough, not so much because we were not well-to-do, but more so because my father was an alcoholic, and violence ensued after each drinking bout.

The last straw came when a violent outburst nearly killed my mother. She decided to get a divorce.

Although that hurled us into financial difficulties, my mother struggled on, refusing any help from my fatherís family. Any woman in my motherís shoes would most probably have hated my father. However, my mother only cherished hopes that my father would turn into a better person some day. Her attitude towards the situation drew me towards this faith. I became more active and wanted to find out more.

In 1996, my faith was put to the test. I was in college when my mother was diagnosed with cervix cancer! Although I was not aware of her exact condition, I would imagine it must have been quite serious for the doctor actually sent a psychologist to counsel me on handling the death of a loved one! I was also aware that my mother had to go through a major operation which she might not pull through.

Though I was confused and agonized at the dramatic turn of events, my mother was a picture of calmness and confidence. She assured me that she would not die as she had yet to fulfill her responsibilities in the organisation (she was then an active member in the make-up group -- that was my mother. Even in the face of a seemingly irrevocable ill fate, she was in total control of her own destiny!

I felt absolutely reassured and was very determined to fight alongside her no matter what!

On the night of her operation, I fought with nothing else but determined prayers to the Gohonzon throughout the night, right till her operation was over the following morning.

It was truly amazing. The operation was a great success, and despite my motherís weak constitution, she survived.  However, our problems did not stop here. My mother had to go through radiotherapy and since both my brother and I were still studying, we ran into financial difficulties again. Without hesitation, we turned to the Gohonzon. Eventually, things got ironed out. After learning about my problems, my teacher applied for financial aid on my behalf, and my motherís medical bills were also promptly taken care of.

After the first operation, my mother enjoyed good health for three years. In September 1999, she suffered a serious relapse and was hospitalized. This time, the cancer cells also affected her kidneys, and the doctor told us that my mother might not survive beyond a month!

I was devastated. I just could not accept the fact that I had to go through such a trauma when my friends only had their studies to worry about! Subsequently, my mother requested a discharge.

After the discharge, my mother though very weak, and bedridden by that time, kept her spirits high. She chanted on her bed on days that she could not get up and walked with my help to the Gohonzon when she could on other days. Once again, my mother showed me the strength to carry on in life.

It was the toughest period of my life as I was juggling between the preparation for my exams, and taking care of my mother. Further, since my mother was so weak, she needed someone round the clock to help her get around, and whenever she needed to relieve herself. There was no way I could have survived without fervent prayers to the Gohonzon. Everyday, I would rush to school after taking care of my motherís breakfast and needs, rush home straight after school to cook as she was on a special diet, and study into the wee hours of the morning before turning in. I was watching her closely. She usually sleeps soundly for three to four hours. My greatest fear was to hear my mother moaning in pain. It was as if I was having the sickness myself. I would cry myself to sleep, while silently chanting in my heart, hoping to help her alleviate her suffering.

I was close to breaking down. I was so tempted to give up. But I could not afford to. My mother had only me. I moved on, with the strong life force, and wisdom derived from faith. Also, with strict and heart warming encouragement from a Womanís Division member, I was all out to give 100% to whichever role I had to play ó as a student, and as a good daughter.

It was truly heartwarming for us to receive unconditional help from the members during this time. There were regular chanting sessions, and some even helped take care of my mother while I was in school. My leader, who was well aware of the situation, was taking care of my members on my behalf.

This strenuous routine lasted for three months when my exams ended. My mother requested to visit her hometown in Seremban, Malaysia. Given her extremely weak condition, I was very worried if she could make it there at all. We went to Malaysia eventually. My mother spent many happy moments there. Her appetite improved and she had all her favourite food. She regained her strength and sometimes, even sang in bed! However, the shadow of her impending death lingered on my mind. Once again, my mother, who had always been my friend, reassured me with her optimistic outlook, cheerful thoughts and words.

Despite the doctorís prediction of her one-month lifespan after her second relapse, my mother lived on for the next six months before she passed away in March 2000.

She was eventually surrounded by my aunties, my grandmother, myself, my brother, and my father during her last days. Yes, through my motherís unstinting prayers to change my father, our family was reunited. As if pre-arranged, my mother met my father while she was visiting a member in the hospital. That happened just one month before her second relapse. During the trying times, I was grateful to have my father around as well. It was clearly, the result of my motherís prayers. Now, my father takes care of both my brother and me.

Although left with very little time to study and amidst the emotional trauma I was confronting, I passed my exams with flying colours and even earned a scholarship to study in Japan for two months! Honestly, I feel my experience testifies to what President Ikeda once said, ďYouth should not seek an easy, comfortable path. No one develops in a pampered environment. Youth should instead actively seek out challenges and hardships, transforming them all into valuable assets as they strive to become individuals of outstanding character and ability.Ē

Through my motherís cheerful disposition, I have learned what it takes to lead a fulfilled and meaningful life, imbued with optimism and courage, amidst tough times.


Copyright 2002 Gakkai Experiences Online