(WOMENSENEWS)– My mother doesn’t talk much about my father. He divorced her and left when I was very young.
When I was young other kids teased me because I didn’t have a father. Every time I looked in the mirror I’d ask God, “Why me?” I wanted to grow up and experience the love of a father like everyone else but that seemed a dream that was out of my reach.
When I was in sixth grade, I felt mature enough to understand my parents’ relationship and that’s when I asked my mother about my father. She was surprised by my questions because I hadn’t showed interest about his whereabouts in the past. It was hard for her to answer. She looked deep in my eyes and tears fell down her cheeks. I felt guilty that I had brought up sad memories in her life. When I tried to comfort her, she smiled at me and told me that she has been waiting for the day I would ask her about my dad. She said that meant I had now grown into a brave young lady and she was proud of me.
We talked for a long time and she told me that my dad left as soon as he heard she was expecting his child. My dad said he needed the leave the village and look for work in the city to support us. My mother asked him to stay because she needed them to support each other and raise the child together. She also wanted them to go and tell their parents about their relationship but her cries fell on deaf ears.
After my dad left, my grandparents beat, insulted and threw my mother out of the house. This is standard when an unmarried girl is pregnant and is given no dowry. She was regarded as a disgrace to the family. This is when my mother decided to start her new life. She used what little savings she had and eventually she got a job in a floriculture farm. She never heard from my father again.
She worked on the farm for many years and gave me a good enough life. Shortly after our heart-to-heart about my father my mother fell ill due to being exposed to harmful chemicals in the farm. She was admitted the hospital for several weeks but it was quite clear that the bills were too big for the family, so she came home so we could take care of her. Eventually she got worse and waved the world goodbye.
Though it was so tough for me to cope with the situation, I learnt how to depend on myself in every situation, accept things I can’t change, always be a goal-getter and mostly live a positive life full of smiles.
I now live with my aunt and every day I think about how important women are in the lives of girls and I always feel privileged being a woman. This is why my love for women who have been involved in my life, and all those who support the lives of all girls all over the globe to make a difference, will never depreciate from my heart. In fact, if all communities all around would educate a girl, be there for her by words of positivity and empowerment then the world would be a better place to live in.