17068 Li XX, 9th Grade, Female,

Translated by George Wang

A few years ago, my father was under excruciating pain from his drug addiction.  My mother carried him on her back to the doctor in town. After exhausting all our savings, my father, laid in bed, howled constantly until he could utter no words and was gone.  With great confusion, it finally dawned on me that death meant the departure from your loved ones, permanently. 

After his death, my mother became the sole income earner and went out of town to work.  Every time she left home, my sister and I would tag along her and beg her to stay.  My sister and I had already lost our father and we didn’t want to lose her too.  Fighting back against her emotions, she went anyway.  She needed the income to support the family.

Later, calamity struck again.  In my fifth grade, my mom became seriously ill.  The doctor said her cancer cells had spread in her abdomen.  She had a late-stage case and there was no cure for it. 

I was devastated.  “God, how many loved ones are you going to take away from me? If you have to take someone,” I pleaded, “please take me. I am willing to take my mom’s place.”

However, it was futile to fight against fate.  I could only be brave.  Each night, coming home from school, I heard her screaming and crying due to the pain.  I wished I were an adult; I wish I could somehow share her pains and alleviate her suffering. But, I could not.

The most heart-rending experience was when she said, “My child, after I am gone, you need to take up the responsibility, look after your sister, study hard, and be an outstanding person.  Your father and I shall watch you from heaven above.  We will always be with you.”  Upon hearing this, I wept.  I tried not to cry in front of her for it would only aggravate her sorrow. She added, “If you don’t have money for a formal funeral, it is ok. Just put me down the way you bury a pig. You can give me a funeral when you grow up and can afford it.”

The next day, when I returned from school, I heard no moaning from her.  I rushed to her and she was already gone.  The message she conveyed to me the night before was her last words.  Yesterday, she was still my moving, talking, and living mother; today, she became a cold corpse. 

I was overwhelmed by the grief.  I became an orphan, a child with no parents to draw love. It is only recently that I have emerged from the shadow. From an innocent child, I have evolved into one that is fighting for her dream.


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