The Day Mother Died

The Day Mother Died

By Apolinario B. Villalobos

Less than a year

Of our father’s death

Our dear mother had to go

My siblings and I

Seemed lost

But is there anything

We can do?

Young at twelve to understand

Friends consoled me

Patted my back

Told me “we are just around”

We will not leave you

Somehow the pain was lessened

But for such a loss

Pain was deeply rooted

That my heart bled

At the thought

Though tears

I cease to shed.

(My first year in high school barely started when our mother died. When she was finally brought home, I was still in school. Not knowing what happened I was surprised to find family friends and some people I did not know crowding our yard. When I saw the remains of my mother, I did not know what to do until finally, tears rolled down my eyes. Without father and mother, the four of us were practically left on our own. Next to me, our youngest sister was still in grade five. Despite what happened, we struggled on, but this time with more difficulty. Trickles of financial help came but barely enough for our daily survival. There were days when we would skip breakfast. Finishing high school in top five of the graduating class entitled me to a partial scholarship in college but still I begged the Irish school priest/director to give me a job in school just like my elder brother who was already a “working student” with allowance. I was after the monthly allowance. Out of pity the kindly priest gave in to my insistence. While in second year college, I tutored two sisters, and as I did it during lunchtime, I practically skipped my midday meal. While in third year until my fourth year, I accepted a weekend job. Out of patience, I finally finished college from a Catholic  parochial school. It was a tortuous journey. But I am thankful for it as it toughened me more… made me stronger.)