The Eight Lies of a Mother
The story began when I was a child. I was the child of a poor family. We never had enough food.
Whenever mealtime came, Mother would often give me her portion of rice.
As she spooned it into my bowl, she would say, “Eat this rice, my dear. I’m not hungry.”
That was Mother’s first lie
When I was growing up, my mother gave up her spare time to go fishing in a river near our house. She hoped that from the fish she caught, she could give me a little bit of nutritious food for my growth. After fishing, she would cook some fresh fish soup.
While I was eating, Mother would sit beside me and eat the meat from the scraps.
I offered my soup to her, but she immediately refused and said, “Eat your fish, my dear. I don’t really like fish.” Once in a while our neighbor’s cat surprised us with her recent catch.
That was Mother’s second lie.
Then, to fund my studies, Mother found an at home side-job of recycling used clothing and tearing them into scraps to make a few extra coins.
This was also her full time work away from home during my pre – school days but it was at a different plant. When I was younger she often took me along. Now that I was older she brought heavy sacks of used clothing home from a different plant and this extra ‘at home work’ gave her some badly needed money to cover our needs and some of my schooling expenses.
Once, as the winter came, I woke up from my sleep and looked at my mother who was still awake and ripping fabric by little candlelight.
I said, “Mother, go to sleep, it’s late. Tomorrow morning you still have to go to work.”
Mother smiled and said, “Go to sleep, dear. I’m not tired.”
That was Mother’s third lie.
When the final school term arrived, Mother asked for leave from work in order to accompany me. During my exam, Mother waited for me in the heat for several hours.
When the exam was finished, Mother immediately welcomed me and poured me a cup of tea that she had brought in a flask.
Seeing my mother covered with perspiration, I immediately gave her my cup and asked her to drink too.
Mother said, “Drink, son. I’m not thirsty! “
That was Mother’s fourth lie.
After the death of my father, my poor mother had to play her role as a single parent. She had to fund our needs alone.
Our family’s life was more complicated. No days were without suffering. Our family’s condition was getting worse, so a kind uncle who lived near our house assisted now and then.
Our neighbors often advised my mother to marry again.
But Mother was stubborn and didn’t take their advice; she said, “I don’t need love.”
That was Mother’s fifth lie.
After I had finished my studies and got a job, it was time for my old mother to retire. But she didn’t want to; she would go to the market place every morning, just to sell some vegetables and flowers to fulfill her needs.
I, who worked in another city, often sent her some money to help her — but she would not accept the money. At times, she even sent the money back to me.
She said, “I have enough money.”
That was Mother’s sixth lie.
After graduating with a Bachelors Degree, I began work on my Masters Degree. It was funded by a company through a scholarship program — a company that eventually hired me to work for them. With a good salary, I intended to help my mother enjoy her life.
But my lovely mother didn’t want to bother her child.
She said to me, “I’m doing just fine.”
That was Mother’s seventh lie.
In her old age, Mother got stomach cancer and had to be hospitalized. Her hospice however was at home.
I, who lived miles away across the ocean, went home to visit my dearest mother. She lay in weakness after having an operation.
Mother, who looked so old, was staring at me in deep thought. She tried to smile, but it was a noticeable effort.
It was clear that the disease had weakened mother’s body. She looked so frail as I stared at her, my tears flowing.
My heart was hurt, so hurt, seeing my mother in that condition.
But Mother, with the little strength she had, said, “Don’t cry, my dear. I’m not in pain.”
That was Mother’s eighth and last lie.
My dearest mother closed her eyes forever. She had been another’s servant all her life.
The picture which she always kept looking at in our home hung not far from her bed.