My Other Half

Today I am writing about my other pair of arms, my extra soul, my spare heart – my mom.

She came from an affluent clan in our city. My grandparents owned a lot of properties and ran a good business. But after 3 kids and a little past mid-life, my grandfather died and their world took a painful turn to hardship. My grandmother had to sell all they owned little by little to keep her family from starving. She took her hand at the family business, raised the kids on her own and, despite her youth and beauty, opted not to marry again.

With little resources and a frail, often ill-sticken older sister to care for, my mom stayed at home if she was not working in the market. She was on and off from school but somehow, with God’s grace, still managed to finish a degree. By the time she was working, she vowed never to marry – she promised to take care of my grandmother and to stay by her side through old age. But God had a different plan. Soon she met my dad, fell in love for the first time, and settled down. But like my grandfather, he left us early too.

Contrary to what my older brothers say, my dad was among the best of men in my mom’s eyes. Being the youngest and only rose, I grew up a daddy’s girl. He was my teacher, my hero, my rock and number 1 fan. I was still young when he passed away and perhaps I wasn’t really old enough to understand but my brothers told a different story. As much as they loved our dad, they said he was verbally abusive and cruel to my mom. I do not recall hearing them argue, not once, to be honest, but what was an innocent girl to know anyway?

Nonetheless, my mom loved him dearly and taking from my grandmother, opted not to marry again when he died. I take it as a really big sacrifice to put aside her own happiness to raise us. Even with my marriage failing, I still could not imagine being in her shoes. Painful as this love has been, I still would like to grow old with another hand to hold. If my relationship ends, I would be dead hurt; I would shout, curse and swear but after all that I know I would try finding love again.

My mom took a good number of years to get over my dad’s death. In high school I remember coming home and hearing her wail over nothing. In college she was still hyper sensitive and would often cry saying that nobody loves her anymore. I had no idea where that was coming from then, but now being in a debilitating heartache myself, I know what she meant.

A few more years later and she was back to her ice-cold, aloof self. Lest that loss, I never saw my mom get emotional. She was often calm and composed. While it was normal to soften up after overcoming a demise, (I think normal people would be more ‘feeling’ after an experience like that) her less affectionate self surfaced. She was a real toughie, I guess and I admire her so much for that.

As a student I tried to make her proud by bringing home school recognitions. She did not show nor say how proud she was of me but I knew deep inside that she was. Perhaps it was because she experienced hardship so early in life that she learned to always make it look like she doesn’t give a damn about things. She was distant yet in her own ways stood beside each one of us. I thought it was magical how she did that. She showed her affections very subtly but in a way that you would feel in silence.

I took it from her how to bottle up emotions. Our difference was, she has learned to make her pains die down. I couldn’t. I explode. Every bit of heartache that I went through ended with sky-high wrath. My mom stood by each one of them, never tiring to give me advice on how I should learn to forgive.

I have always thought of myself as a good daughter and I often said that my mom had it easy raising us because we have been really obedient kids. I never imagined I would break her heart now that I have grown up when I have supposedly become wiser.

She was an exceptionally kind woman but still a woman, with strong intuition at that. She did not like my husband the first instant they met and advised me to stay away from him. He was previously married, with a child from the first marriage, and my family disapproved of me getting involved with someone with an unclean slate. She said he will only cause trouble for me but I did not listen. My brothers also disapproved. Since then it was one defiance after another until I became a master at disobeying her. This was my life. Even if my whole family was against it.

When I got pregnant with my second, she fired away, at every chance she got, with telling me how much I am hurting them. I cried at night but still stood by my decision. I knew that he was the one, and one day we will prove them wrong. It was when my brother decided to move out that my mom told me that I broke my family apart because of my stubbornness. I was hurt but I denied it was my fault. My mom was heartbroken at the sight of me trying to stand it out against my brothers. And after a very long time, I saw her cry again. That broke my heart. Her tears show that she has reached her limit. And I caused it.

I knew she wanted me to learn a lesson but she never left my side. When I gave birth without a husband beside me, she was there. She is old now, at 74, but she was the one who took care of me at the hospital. She was the one who spoke with the doctors, who stayed up all night while I was half-dead at the recovery room, who cried at the first sight of my son.

When I decided to go back to working overseas, my mom was there to look after my kids. Now her hands soothe their aches away in my absence; her heart lovingly caring for them while I am away.

God is really wise. Who would have thought that the guy who has given me the happiness that I thought would last forever, the guy I so struggled to fight for, who was the very reason I hurt my family, my mom, most importantly, is now causing me pain. My mom was right. I regret a lot of things about loving my husband but the one I regret the most is loving him at the expense of hurting someone who has shown nothing but love for me.

I have not told her how much I love her and I hope writing this will send the word out to the world. I love you, mom. And I am sorry…

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ashrubhaleeb
    May 24, 2012 @ 17:10:55

    The thing about mothers is that we can make decisions they dont like and we can disappoint them but we cant make them not love us and not accept us. Life is full of I should have listened, I should have done this or not done thats . . . all that really matters are the decisions you make today. The love you give today. The apologies and the kindness you make today. This was a beautiful post. You cant blame yourself for being young and strong willed and occassionally foolish and in love with love. . . I think this may be the very nature of youth. I wish for you so much that you find your way back to your family and your children and have time to clear your head and heal your wounds and find your way forward and InshaAllah find all the love and happiness you deserve. Family is the greatest blessing we have in this life and believe me I understand that there are times in our life when this is hard to see and times in our life when it is the most obvious thing in the world. I wanted to cry reading this because I totally understand how beautiful and complex our relationships are as women and as mothers and as daughters. It is strange how much we love and see each other and at the same time how we are often lost at understanding each other. I wish you well from the bottom of my heart :).

    Reply

  2. imaanii
    May 24, 2012 @ 17:37:09

    This was very moving. You’re good at writing, and both you and your mum seem like very good people.

    Reply

  3. hearthquakes
    May 25, 2012 @ 10:26:47

    My mom is indeed a good person. I would like to say the same for myself but with all the things that I have done and regret now I don’t think I have a claim for being ‘good’. I try, though. 🙂

    Reply

  4. Bonnie
    May 28, 2012 @ 05:17:20

    My dear Sister
    I have read through your blog with tears in my eyes and pain in my heart. How badly I wish I could be there to give you a big hug. I just want to tell you that truly after hardship comes ease, maybe a year ago I would have cried tears of bitterness had someone said that to me, I could not see any end in sight for the pain I lived with every second. And then the time of trail passed and Allah showed me that the most beautiful blessings come through trials, that even though I no longer had no husband that he would provide for me (and my children) in every single way and he did but so much more than I could ever believe. Please know you are in my prayers and If Allah brings you to it he will bring you to it. Big BIG hugs xx

    Reply

    • Bonnie
      May 28, 2012 @ 10:43:21

      Sorry I meant to say he will bring you ‘through’ it, sorry I blame my nine month old baby being up all night on my sub standard grammar 😉

      Reply

      • hearthquakes
        May 28, 2012 @ 22:00:09

        Thank you for your empathy sister. Someone did tell me that “after hardship comes ease” and you’re right – I did cry bitter tears hearing that. It is difficult to even think that something this painful will get any easier. I think that things will only get worse, to be honest. But I trust in Allah’s plans and I know that he is just. Surely he will not allow me to suffer forever in a situation that I was made to live painfully out of love. Inshallah he will take me out of this soon – with or without my husband. Either way will be painful, I know. Thank you for praying for me sister. I truly appreciate it.

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