I am one of those girls who always wished to see her family happy, especially her mother and father, but since I came in this world, I saw my mother and father argue and make each other sad. I still remember those nights when my mother sang me songs of suffering. I would ask, “Why are you singing this song? I want to hear a nice one, not a sad one.”
My mother would say: “I want my child to know how her mother spent her life with a man who never understood her. I want my child to be brave like me and never give up.”
My mother had two sons and three daughters, and she sacrificed for their education. I am her youngest. In my family, they thought I was too young to notice things, but I suffered when I saw my mother working so hard, and sometimes crying. I wondered if all men were like my father and sometimes I became angry with my mom too, wondering why she accepted her life. When I couldn’t find the answers to my questions, I would go outside to talk with the moon in the sky. I thought the moon could best understand me. I felt she was really listening to me. One night I was so sad and cried a lot, and then I said to Allah, “How can I help my family? How can I bring peace in my family?”
I don’t know where to begin or how to explain the story of a woman who spent her life with a man who didn’t know her value or the value of knowledge. My mother was educated and knew knowledge is valuable thing. That is one reason she sacrificed and tried her best to educate her children. She always killed her wishes for the sake of her children. She never put less value on the education of girls; in fact, she was more concerned about her daughters’ education than her sons’.
When we were very young, my father was away fighting in the army and my mother raised us alone. “I didn’t know how to feed my children,” she told us. “I taught school in the day and at night I sewed clothes to earn more money.” When my brothers were old enough, to teach them responsibility, she got them work in a shop. She wanted them to work part-time and study as well.
When I was a child playing with dolls, I heard her tell my older sisters, “Never think about things that destroy your mind. Just keep trying. Don’t be afraid of failure.” She didn’t speak directly to me because I was so young, but I understood everything and I loved her words. And I kept her words in my mind. If I fail a hundred times, I decided, I won’t give up. I will gain new experiences from my mistakes.
She was brilliant; I don’t how to explain. She never felt she was a woman to stay at home. She always tried to claim her rights from her husband and that is why they always fought and sometimes stopped speaking. She spent half her life helping educate people. She really wanted to encourage her students to study and work hard. At the same time, she took care of her children, watching after them. If one of us got sick, she stayed awake all night, but my father didn’t even know when we were sick. Therefore, all the responsibility fell to my mother. She was doing two jobs, both as a woman and as a man, and she never felt weak.
When my father was back from the army, she helped him become a businessman, teaching him how to enter society and even selling her jewelry to help him find a job. Despite all this, he had a negative opinion about women.
The moment I really suffered was when my mother and my father began to eat their lunch and dinner apart, in different rooms, and we children didn’t know where we should go—with father or with mother? My mother always told us, “Go to your father’s side. And respect your father. Never talk back to him and do what he says because he is your father.”
After all the hardship days with her husband and raising her children, one of her sons became an engineer and another a doctor. Both my older sisters were educated and the last one left was me. She was very happy that she had succeeded in her job and the responsibility that she had. She felt dignified in society.
During my last year of school, she told me all the time, “I will provide for you to go to college and make you a good lawyer.” I didn’t respond, but I felt sad because I didn’t want to leave her. But being a lawyer was also one of my desires. I reminded myself that if I went far from my mom, it wasn’t forever.
After I left home and arrived at the university, I felt lonely for her. I faced many problems, but she told me on the phone: “Don’t give up. You can do what you want. I believe in you, my daughter.” Her kind words encouraged me.
I finished my first semester and was very happy that I would see my mother during the holiday. My mom’s face was the only one I wanted to see. I will never forget my last happiest moment, the morning of that day she called to tell me she was coming to see me. My friends said their families were coming, and I said, “So is my mom; I will introduce you all.”
After two hours, my father called me to say: “Come as soon as you can. I am sending a car.”
“But I am waiting for my mother,” I said.
“Don’t ask questions, just come soon,” he said.
In my heart, I knew something had happened. The car drove me home through the night. When I arrived home, I shouted, “Momie-jan” which is what I called her. Then I saw women were there and they wore black clothes, and I entered a room and saw my mother in a coffin. On her way to me, there had been a car accident. All these things were shocking to me. I lost my mind. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen her for such a long time and now I was seeing her lying in a coffin with a cloth. All my dreams, all my wishes, were finished with her.
I felt alone. I failed in my classes. I couldn’t forget her. Now I am trying to start again and complete her wishes. I am writing now, though full of tears. Bad days make me stronger. My father has remarried a second time, but she won’t take my mother’s place; no one will.
While writing this, I just closed my eyes and listened to my heart and imagined my mother telling me to write and write, don’t stop.