Four decades ago, when I was not ten years old, my mother bought a pack of butong pakwan or dried watermelon seeds. It was my favorite Filipino delicacy. She cracked open the shell to take out the kernel and placed it in a new plastic bag – one piece at a time.

She gave the pack to me when she was done. It has been four decades so I do not remember the why, but I remember what happened as if it occurred yesterday.

I was upset with our maid, whom we four siblings call manang (elder sister). In a fit of anger, I hit manang with the pack of butong pakwan. The plastic broke and everything fell to the floor.

And I cried.

Butong Pakwan and 40 years of Burden and Regrets

I cried because I couldn’t eat them anymore.

I cried because my mother gave me the butong pakwan.

Whenever I think of my mother, I remember the butong pakwan she prepared for me. And I would feel the same sadness I felt when I was a child.

There were times when I would shed tears because I have not apologized to my mother for allowing my childish tantrums get the best of me and wasted a pack of butong pakwan. I have not apologized to manang for hitting her.

I regret losing the butong pakwan because my mother bought and took her time cracking the shell open to remove the kernel for me and she did it because she loved me.

I regret not apologizing and tell her how much I appreciated her love.

Forty years of burden and regrets, would it still matter if I apologized today? Would it still matter if I tell my mother how much I appreciated and love her?

Even if I did, would she listen to me? Would she hear what I have to say?

My mother had died in 1991 – a quarter of a century ago.

Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so. – Ray Stannard Baker

Friends, do not let this moment pass. Tell the people you love how much you care for them and appreciate all they have done for you. Do not hesitate and live with a burden and a life full of regrets.