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Shadow

It was the usual scenery for me. That back. There’s nothing new for me seeing that person’s back that always walking in front of me. The light always shined for that person and I merely its shadow.

I used to resent that fact. I used to hate being known only for that person’s accomplishments. But one day, there was no one in front of me. I could see the light shining brightly in front of me. So bright it was blinding me.

“Where did that person go?” I wondered.

I constantly search for that person. That person I was so used to following. That person I am so used to guiding me. That person who was constantly there being the light in my dark path. That person. That person I call my mother.

Yes, that person was my mother.

I used to be so irritated that I was constantly being known only for being her daughter. I wasn’t the ideal daughter. Well, at least not for her. Compared to her beloved perfect son— my older brother.

My mother was a well-known teacher and everyone simply adored her. My father was a proud engineer and was a professor at uprising university. Yes, my parents were simply incredible. And when my brother was born he too was blessed with the talents of my parents. He was called a genius in my family. He was gifted and was very intelligent but unfortunately, he had an attitude. But my parents didn’t care. He was still the favorite child.

And then I came. I wasn’t that smart. I had to work hard and read a lot to understand my lessons. I wasn’t that pretty and no one would say I was or I look like my mother. No. No one commented on my looks. Or my skills. I play the piano often at home and I love to dance. But my mother wasn’t impressed and didn’t believe in my talents. But I didn’t mind if they won’t say I was like my mother. I didn’t really care. Because I was a daddy’s girl.

I love my father dearly. He was a caring father. And I felt no pressure from him, unlike my strict mother.

Growing up I had no real fond memory of my brother. He continuously became a rebel even if my parents were spoiling him. I grew up not feeling wanted by my mother but no worries. I had another woman I would prefer to call my mother. My auntie was more of a mother to me.

Yes. The love I craved from my mom was given to me by my auntie. Mom was always so busy with work and it seemed like she cared more for children at school than me. That she was more proud of them than with me. So naturally, the one who cared for me was my auntie.

College rolled around I was determined to take med rather than engineering or education like my parents. And I was set to studying in the city so I studied like crazy just to pass. And for the glory in God, I made it.

I finished college with my head held high. But my mother’s shadow still lingers.

I just don’t understand why my brother was more of a mess than me yet I was still the black sheep in the family.

Why is it I can’t manage to make my parents proud?

Sadly, as much as I want to pursue my dream as a doctor, it didn’t work out. I ended up working in a bank. But destiny works in a funny way. I ended up meeting my soulmate there.

True I didn’t feel loved by my own mother but I found another love. And I still had my friends’ love. My irreplaceable love.

My life brightened up after that. Even if my own mother doesn’t believe in me, at least someone does.

Then a tragedy befalls my family. My father died. That was one of the saddest days in my life. What pains me, even more, that I wasn’t there when he needed me the most. I wasn’t able to do anything for him until his last breath.

You would think after that my mother would be closer to us- me. But she was still the same. She treated me the same. But because she was all that I had, I did everything for her. Even if she won’t say she appreciated me.

And what stings more, is in every family gathering people would still be questioning the path I took. I was still her shadow. And no matter what I do I couldn’t escape her light. She was still ahead of me.

What more can I do?

The next chapter of my story entered. I was married and I had two kids. Funny thing is that even before I met my husband I already knew how many children I would have, what their gender would be, and what I’ll name them. I already had it all figured out in my high school days. I even thought about what they would be like. And when they came, I felt my life was perfect. They were my perfect thing. And I love them so much. I couldn’t ask for anything else.

My beautiful baby boy and girl. And just like me and my brother, the boy was the eldest and was a year older than the girl.

And I was so happy because I can see they were closer than my brother and I was. I was thrilled for my baby girl ‘cause at least she had a big brother to protect her. And I won’t let them feel unloved like what I felt with my mother.

They grew up so fast. Without me knowing they were already in college.

I can’t say my life was like I would hope for. I moved back to our town when my children were in elementary because I wanted to be close to them and so did my husband. When we saved up a bit more money, we bought a house a bit farther from here so we could have a life of our own. And luckily we did because on my daughter’s 13th birthday our— my mother’s house burned down.

Good thing no one was home. We were out celebrating my bebe’s birthday. Mom was at a seminar she was invited to. My brother’s children were busy out with their own plans. And my brother was somewhere I had no idea. So the house was empty. When we got home to our own house, my nephew called me saying the house was on fire.

Everyone was on their knees by what happened. I helped mom find a place to stay and after that, I looked out for her in any way I could. Until she got sick.

I was so thrilled that my kids were close to her and she loved them so. But nothing changed between me and her. Even when we had to bring her to the hospital.

It was during the summer. And my son just had his birthday. She had diabetes. She wasn’t eating properly and was always dizzy. My niece and nephew, my brother’s kids, lived with her in a small apartment we found after the house burned. They took care of her but they couldn’t 24/7. Of course the youngest, the girl was in college like my kids and the second eldest, the son was working. So Mom had to stay at home alone.

My brother had four kids with his wife and are now separated. I’m not really sure what he does for a living and where he lives. He also has a kid with another woman before but they’re also separated. He constantly asks for money and even more after his mom got hospitalized.

We were all sadly aware that she didn’t have long to live. Her yelling she’s about to die doesn’t help ease the pain for us. Her grandchildren love her very much. How much I couldn’t feel her love was the same amount how much THEY felt her love. She sent her grandchildren, my brother’s kids, to school. Help them finish even if she had to work despite her age. But I made sure she wouldn’t have to worry about that with my kids.

So naturally, when she was sick they were all devastated. We each took turns to take care of her. But I couldn’t really rely on them. Why should I? I’m the daughter so I should be taking care of her.

I was currently assigned in a far place in work so I don’t get to go home every day to see my kids. I can only be with them at the weekend when I leave right after work on a Friday, I arrive at home early Saturday morning, like 12 am early. And go to work on a Monday morning, 3 am and arrive just in time to my workplace. So when Mom got sick, I used up all my vacation leaves to take care of her 24/7.

I stayed in the hospital to look after her and I am grateful for my daughter cause since it’s summer she stays with me but she got sick so I had her stay at home. Good thing my niece also stays to help.

However, it wasn’t long ‘till she left us. We were able to take her home and we moved her to my sister-in-law’s house ‘cause it was better and my niece and nephews would be able to be with their mother.

Yes. Despite the situation with my brother, she still helps us.

My brother moved in with my Mom when she got discharged, according to his son, he couldn’t pay rent so he moved in. So when Mom moved, he went and lived with my other nephew (not his son).

We did everything to help make her stay comfortable. My niece was in charge of making sure she takes her medicines and drink her milk. She didn’t have the strength to swallow food so the doctors had to put a tube so we could feed her and would directly go to her stomach. That way she won’t choke but sadly she can’t taste anything. That’s why eating in front of her was awkward. You could tell from her eyes she was sad and jealous. She used to love eating.

My other nephew was in-charge of his girlfriend cleaning my Mom. The second eldest bought a television ‘cause he knew that Mom missed watching her afternoon shows. She owed no T.V in the apartment she used to live in. And since she has already retired, she had no source of income. The eldest son always visited with his kids to brighten up the place.

But the inevitable happened.

Born: February 13 1***

Died: August 31 2***

Everything changed from that day. Everyone was in grief.

We had the memorial for only two days. I didn’t want to prolong the devastation. We were all tired and in sorrow. But during those two days, my eyes were open to the fact that so many people love my mother. So many contributed money to help us. With so many we collected, it was almost like we didn’t pay the rent for the venue.

Then on September 03, we said goodbye to her. It was most especially hard on the eldest because that day was also his birthday. My nephews and niece wouldn’t stop crying. They hugged the coffin as if they don’t want to let go of my mom.

She meant everything to us. She was the glue that binds us. After the house burned, we lived our separate lives. But during the holidays we would always return to my mom to celebrate. Now that she’s gone I wonder if we would still get together.

I used to hate being in her shadows. I did everything to escape. But now that she’s gone all I want now is to see her standing in front of me again.

I am now a child with no more parents. I can feel all the burden and responsibilities on my shoulder. The weight feels heavier than before.

She who used to stand in front of me covering the light is no more. I am no longer the shadow. I am now standing in the spotlight. And I can feel the heat and the light are blinding me.

I can still remember the face of my mother when she told her tale. Her facial reaction when she asked me to impart her story. Her eyes were full of pain. Until now she still misses my grandma, I’m sure of it.

No matter how painful her experience was growing up, this made her stronger. It’s the reason why she can now stand on her own two feet. Why she’s so independent. Why no matter what life throws at her she’s still standing on the higher ground.

This is the story of how my mother escaped from being the shadow of my grandma.

— END —

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Drama, Fiction, Personal Narrative, Self-Help, True Story

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