The Day I Began Fearing


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She is the most important person in my world. She once told me that life is like a train ride. In this train, many will enter and many will leave. She will reach her train destination too, while my journey will keep going. I did not realize how soon this would happen. She brought magic onto my train ride. She is my mom.

How do we grasp the finality of it all? There is so much that goes with her when she is gone. All those good, happy memories are not so happy anymore. All the smiles, laughs and fights become bitter and torturous. What if I start forgetting? What if I forget her pure, innocent smile, her strong spirit, her ability to protect and support me even when it hurts her? How do I go on to my train destination without her? And then, we are supposed to go on. Surely, we must remain sad for as long as the flowers last and then go back to reminiscing about the good, old days. Except, they are not good, old days anymore.

I started realizing something was wrong when I was 6. Suddenly, a distressing melancholy was roaming through the walls, a loud howl filled up the house, her mouth seemed to forget how to form words and her body felt heavy as a millstone. Days, weeks, years have gone, as we dragged our bodies through every possible hospital, seeing the same bewildered, puzzled faces. In the meantime, we welcomed a baby; my very young brother. For a short time, we appeared happy. For a short time, the dark cloud that was placed above us seemed to have found its ending. Until, a doctor called. This is rarely a good sign. The tense energy has placed a tight string around our heart, making it beat harder and faster. The eyes followed everyone in the room, making eye contact more than once, attempting to find hope and comfort. Finally, there it is; the truth we were looking for, and yet I wished for the same unclear, though hopeful ending. ALS is what they called it.

I went through my days clueless, not realizing there was a clock put on her living days. Perhaps I was naive, or perhaps I was too young to understand. Perhaps, they thought a child should not know of such a devastating, yet real world. I don’t know as I don’t remember. Maybe for the best.

I started new chores, some of which involved feeding her, getting her dressed, bathing her, etc. There was a clock on my time outside with friends, as I was aware I have a schedule now. I realized that suddenly, we switched roles and I am no longer a child being taken care of. Now, I am the carer. I would go outside and I would get greeted with pitiful, grievous looks. Every conversation started with: “how is your mom doing?” This is when I found the disadvantages of life in a small city. I still remained calm, undisturbed and empty of emotion.

One day, I fought my stepfather, defending my mom in their disagreement. This is when my memories started to fade. I don’t remember the reason for the fight. I only remember one moment that disturbed me to death. I walk away to the bathroom where he follows me. We exchange words, some of a higher pitch than others. Suddenly, a five word sentence freezes my whole being and I am no longer clueless: “Tina, your mom is dying!” This is when I started losing her. This is when I started fearing. 18 years later, I still am. Some might say it is a miracle. I say it is a curse.
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