I wrote this for Project Listen a while back and I’m re-posting it on my blog so it can be kept as an archive. Cheers to my family for enduring me all this while and I’m glad I have a chance to make it all right.
I’ve always felt that I haven’t been doing much for my family. I’ve put them through a lot – it all started when I went to New Zealand as a permanent resident to do my high school in Christchurch. I was 15 then and
quite very extremely rebellious.
The freedom I had there pushed my rebellious nature to new heights, and I got involved in drugs, gangs, etc etc – basically your “regular” teenage rebellion multiplied by a billion in intensity.
That was more than 15 years ago and although I came to my senses I still never quite bonded with my family, creating more burden and causing more stress instead of what I was supposed to do as a filial son.
I can safely say that during my career as a professional human lab rat, I’ve tried more drugs that the vast majority of other users, sourcing for not just common drugs like heroin and methamphetamine but exotic research chemicals like 6-APB, UR-144 and 5-MeO-MiPT which most people have never even heard of, much less tried.
I was arrested for drug possession when I was 24 and appeared on many newspapers, some with extremely detailed information about me, which must have caused my parents a lot of grief. I’ve also went through rehab three times and been hospitalized countless times – overdoses, ICU admissions from permanent renal and liver damage, suicide attempts during psychotic breaks.
It was chaotic.
I’ve never felt that I’ve contributed much to the family and I was never really close with them even as I got older. I was in Sibu for a period of time and even then I’m always out with friends when I’m back home for the holidays and coming home just to sleep. I’ve even brought girls back in the middle of the night for noisy drunken sex and wake up the next afternoon to shower together…
…in my parents house!
I never thought of how disrespectful I was being.
I never though of how much I hurt their feelings.
I never even communicate much with them – most of the conversation goes one way – with me talking about the latest exotic drugs I’ve tried, the inevitable escapades with police that I’ve gotten away with, the girls that I’ve fucked.
I never really listened to what their needs are. It took me a loooong time before I started becoming more attuned to their needs. I’m ashamed to even put a year to when I stopped. I shudder to even think about what I’ve done now.
…but like the Biblical story, my parents have always been believed in me despite my numerous flaws and downright disgusting behavior.
My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010 and it was only then that I understood what family meant. The way our family pulled together to support her as she went through multiple surgeries, radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions taught me what being related was all about.
I’ve always thought of my mom as a nag, and didn’t spend much time listening to her at all.
However, since the diagnosis, it just struck me how fast the years fly by and how little time we actually have together as a family unit.
I regret not spending more time with my mom, and I started to realize that the “relationship” that I have was basically non-existent – I was just being selfish.
I started to really spend time with my parents at that point. Instead of just gaudily flaunting my sexual exploits, I started to listen more to what they have to say. I developed a genuine interest in their life and well being.
Hell, I even start to worry about them.
I talk to them more instead of the obligatory weekly check in phone call to make sure I’m not dead or in jail.
I listen and try to get them to talk about their problems.
We eat together when I’m back home instead of me heading out which sad to say was common until as late as 2008.
I lounge in the living room after and chat about everything – news, politics, religion – with my parents instead of skipping out and coming home drunk in the middle of the night.
I understood the importance of just hanging out with my family – listening instead of just talking, helping out with chores at home, comforting my mom when she’s throwing up.
It’s made us into a better family unit.
I just received a birthday card from my parents (it was somehow lost until a few days ago) and it nearly brought tears to my eyes when I realized that they’ve mailed me one every single year without fail while I barely remember their birthdays.
I am truly ashamed of how I’ve behaved and I’m trying my level best to be a better son now. I visit my mom in Singapore more often, where she’s having her treatments done. We all chip in to help – not just financially but emotionally.
I really want to save up enough money to bring my parents for a trip around the world.
They’ve worked hard in raising us and my dad still works hard and I think it would be the least that I can do. I’m actually being extremely frugal right now – limiting the times I go out, being careful with spending, saving up money so I can help out with the medical bills and especially to let my parents visit the world.
They’ve always saved up for our education and it’s time for us to give back
Not because of some attempt to seek forgiveness for past transgressions.
Not because of my ongoing mother’s fight against cancer.
Not because of guilt.
It’s because I want to, out of the love I have for them.
I want them to know that someone cares, someone always will, and that someone is FAMILY.