My Beacon of Hope
'O' Level student-inmate from Changi Women's Prison
I did not know what triggered it. Seemed to me that I woke up one day filled with pent-up anger and resentment, all directed to that one person, my mother. I blamed her for everything that went wrong in my life. For daring to take me away from my grandmother, to whom I was closest to. For having to adapt to a new environment. For the suffocating clutches that she had on me. For the ridiculously high expectations she had of me. I grew up envying my friends’ mothers, the thought already instilled in me that my mother loved my younger sister more than she loved me. When I reached my teens, I started playing truant in school so religiously until I was expelled.
Needless to say, my parents were furious with me. As if trying to rub salt to the wound. I started running away from home, involving myself in vices. It was sick. It seemed that my mother and I were caught up in this endless tug-of-war, with both parties refusing to budge. My goal then was to do all I could to spite her, to inflict as much pain to her emotions as I could. I yearned for her to simply give up and turn her back on me.
Over the years, I had my own kids. I got incarcerated for drug offences. Friends and partners came in and out of my life. The only constant fixture has been my mother. She was there to lend me her morale support whenever I was at my lowest. She was the one who so religiously visits me during my incarcerations. When my marriage was in shambles, I sought her refuge, seeking solace in her arms. But typical of me. Just as soon as things started to get better, I upped and left like I never had any need for her in the first place. Even though our relationship was not as turbulent as when I was in my teenage years, it was still far from perfect. If I were to be honest with myself, I would know that the skeletons I had so conveniently buried in the closet were starting to resurface. I yearned for a closure myself. As long as I refused to face my issues heads-on, then I will forever be stuck in the rut that I had created for myself.
With my resolve in mind and distorted thinking gone, I took the time to really introspect my past actions and myself. The realisation dawned on me after a while, that those times I had wanted my mother to give up and turn her back on me, it was actually my silent pleas to be noticed by her. Loving me must have taken its toll on my mother. My rebellion streaks and all those unusual phases that I seem to catch on like a flu virus, my fits of anger and sadness on between. There were countless occasions when I made her cry and even shamed her with my thoughtless actions. But she still stuck on, never once giving up on me.
I realised now that it must have taken her the patience of a saint, a love so unconditioned and unwavering to love me so selflessly. Through all of that, never once had she given up hope on me. Resolving to put the past behind. I tried seeking forgiveness from the woman that had borne me into this world. I do not want to experience regret over words that I left unsaid, only to realise too late that opportunities were gone while I was busy contemplating my options.
My mother, she is my beacon of hope. Never ceasing to believe in me when I not even believe in me. Emanating hope and way when I was lost and cold. Providing me solace in a world that is tumultuous.
Mama, I am deeply remorseful for all that I have done and the hurt I have inflicted on you. I do not want to promise you anything because talk is cheap and feeding you with sweet nothings has never been my aim. The road is still long for me here but I hope to see you when I get there. Do wait for me. I can assure you that your wait this time will not be in vain. I will do my mighty best to make you proud and change the tears of anguish to tears of joy and happiness.