Help. My mom never asked me to help her out.
"You don't have to, Michael. The best help you can do as a son for me is to study and make me proud," she said with her deep brown eyes that showed the warmth of an everlasting hearth as if they were the wood that could burn with golden flame yet be forever perfectly entire.
Maybe if I had given her a hand and ignored her only request, she wouldn't have passed away like that. She wouldn't have suicided. She wouldn't have left my sisters and me alone.
I did try to open her heart so that she could lessen her burden by sharing her worries and problems, but she would reply, "You have grown up so much. My dilemmas are too much for an 11-year-old boy to handle. I want you and your sisters to lead a happy life so that you guys won't end up like me. Promise me that when I am not here with you, you will protect your sisters,"
Only if I had understood what she really meant back then, she wouldn't have passed away like that. Fulfilling her wish by becoming a doctor feels useless when I didn't fulfill my duty as her son back then. I didn't make her happy when she was alive.
My dad passed away in a car accident when I was 4. I don't remember how he looks, but I remember my mom's cries. She used to weep every day since his death. During that time, my elder sister Sarah used to take care of me. She would cook for me and clean the house, whereas my second sister, Fiona, would mostly stay in her room.
Until one day, "Mom, stop crying! It is disturbing me! Why in the world would you weep for a dead body? Will he become alive if you weep like this every day? I am like, can you be serious? Can you at least fulfill your job as a mom so we can focus on our studies more?" she screamed.
I then asked Sarah, "What is wrong with her?"
Sarah replied, "That is her way of consoling mom. Just let her be,"
I didn't understand what Sarah meant, but I could see fear in Fiona's eyes. It was as if she feared whether she hurt mom too much.
But, thanks to her scolding, mom stopped weeping and started working. She would step out of the house before dawn and return when the sky had turned black.
When mom goes out for work, Sarah cooks and gets us ready for school.
Fiona usually skipped her meals and said, "Why mind cooking when you can't cook well?"
I felt sorry for Sarah as she took care of us while she couldn't take care of herself. Even though she goes to school and gets good marks, she has no friends as she has no time for it. She even got a part-time job without mom's permission.
Meanwhile, Fiona would stay indoors and listen to music.
I felt useless looking at myself. I couldn't help my mom with her job, nor could I get a part-time job. The only thing I could do as a 9-year old boy was to study, study and study.
I sometimes regret talking to my mom like that. I wish I had treated her a little nicer back then. Maybe I finally know the pain she faced, as I have become a mother of 2 daughters who is going through the same problem as hers.
Sometimes I feel like blaming myself for her suicide. Back then, I didn't cry much over her death. Because if I wept hourless, then who would do the house chores?
I had to take care of Michael when Sarah went to work. In the beginning, I didn't want to do all that work, but I came to my senses when I saw Sarah going through a lot. Her situation was even worse as she didn't have a choice. Sarah could have just abandoned us even though it would be hard for us or not to go to work and sit at home, but that girl did none of that. I never saw her sitting freely from the day I was born in this world. The truth is, even during my childhood, mom couldn't take care of me as she was busy working, so Sarah was the one who brought me up.
I once asked my sister how dad was like, and she replied, "Even when dad was here, things were tight for us. But mom used to smile every day, and I wish to see that face again,"
My dad passed away when I was 8, so I pretty much do remember his face, but I wasn't close with him. The truth is, I have no idea about how my parents are, though I have seen and been with them, I really can't understand them. I know I am a weird kid, and many kids did bully me for that. So, I had to filter and add some truths and stories to my past to make it look capturing. I envied Sarah for being kind and open to people. But at the same time, I know that she carried a lot of burden by hearing more and sharing more. She is the type of person who would try her best to make people happy. I wish I could be kind like her. But I am the opposite. I am a person who can't have the sweet talks with my mom. I can't even bring it up, so, automatically, the words that I utter are out of my control.
After my dad's death, mom would cry every day, and it continued for months. In the beginning, I tried to put up with it, but later on, I couldn't control it. I then thought of handling it like Sarah but ended up yelling at mom. I even tried Diaphragmatic breathing as per the doctor's consultation on the TV, but it didn't work out. I felt useless looking at myself. All I could do as a 12-year old girl was to yell, yell and yell.
I loved mom. She was my role model, but I did not expect that she would suicide. I saw her suffer a lot. She used to lean on the wall while weeping every day, but when I tried to console her, she would change the topic and wipe her tears. So, instead of solacing her with words, I did the house chores to lessen her burden.
I did achieve her dream by becoming a lawyer as she wished, but I wish she was here by my side to share the joy. I sometimes thought, maybe I should have talked to her instead of doing the household. Maybe, I should have paid more attention to her. I envy Michael as he listened to mom back then and even now. Unlike me, I didn't do as per my mom's request back then. For Fiona, I am proud of her. She was the one who suffered the most. She was not close with mom or dad, but she was curious about them. She thinks she is a weird kid, but if you ask me, she isn't. She was so strong as a 12-year old girl. She acted to be tough when her heart inside was scared. I never worried about her much, as I know she knows what is right and wrong to do. Even though her words seem to be harsh, it isn't.
I envy both my siblings for accepting the truth at such a young age. When dad passed away, I couldn't digest the fact. I felt lifeless. I couldn't move, and the same was for my mom.
I hate myself for not helping mom when she is in need. Mom cried every day, and I couldn't do anything about it. When I couldn't do anything, Fiona would help me out. She stopped mom from crying and changed everything back to normal. She deserves to be the elder sister. I can only cook and do the house chores. What is the use in that? All that matters is understanding each other's hearts and sharing your feelings. That is what a family is. And our family might not be the happiest as there was tragedy after tragedy, but I believe that is what has held us strong together and brought us to this point.
If I keep regretting the past then I can't live the present and think for my future. So, I promised myself not to regret what has happened as it has happened for a reason.
"Sarah! Sarah!" snapped Michael from my thoughts.
"Oh, where is Fiona?" I asked.
"There she is!" waved Michael to Fiona.
"Family," I laughed to myself.
"Why are you laughing? Is there something on my face?" asked Fiona.
"No," I denied.
I wish we could be siblings again in the next life if it existed.