I call my mom Amak. It means mom in my ethnic language. She died at June 15th, 2000. I was 8 years old. At the time, I did not understand why my sisters, my aunt, my uncle and even my dad, who you wouldn’t believe it if you knew him well, cried. I have to admit, I didn’t grasp the concept of death back then, what was the implications. I was only a kid. I did too cry, but I cried mostly because the others cried, not because my mom just died. Yeah, I was an idiot like that.
I am the youngest child of my family. Although, I have a half sister and a step brother who are much younger than me, I always consider my self as the youngest of MY family. I have 5 other siblings, 4 sisters and a brother. The two oldest, both sisters, had been married before June 15th 2000. The 3rd oldest, still a sister, married about two years after. The 4th one is a brother, had not married until I was in high school. The 5th one, my youngest sister married when I was in Junior High.
You’re probably wondering why did they all marry so soon. Well, it was not so soon in my village. They were all married in their twenties. My oldest sister is 18 years older than me and my youngest sister is 9 years older than me. So I am the youngest and a bit distant. I was a little spoiled, I have to say, before the event of June 15th 2000. They were all excited to have and interested in me, for I was an unexpected and unplanned member of family. And not just by the main members of family, my aunts and uncles, cousins, liked me as well, treated me like I was a princess. I was loved and I too loved them and all their attention. And I felt my dad, who I call Apak, favored me than all of my sisters and brother (because I was the most obedient child, I guess). I was so happy.
Not so long after June 15th 2000, Apak married another woman. My aunt said that he wouldn’t do that if my older sister (I won’t say which) took cares of Apak the way Amak did. But I have to say, it was one of her weaknesses. My sister’s, I mean. On her early marriage, she also didn’t take care of her husband as well as she does now. But, for whatever reason, Apak left us. In my culture, it is the women that have claim to family’s property such as the house. So, if my dad were married to anyone else than my mom, he had to left the property. And he did.
I had hard times after June 15th 2000. At first, I was sick for almost two months. I was not sure why I was sick or what was my sickness. I just didn’t want to eat. I vomited and nauseated all the time. I became so thin and my hair started to fall. I don’t even remember what made me healthy after that. All I know, after Amak died, I became sick at the end of every semester until I was at junior high. But I was grateful because so much people cared about me, even though my mom was already gone. Even the woman who would become my father’s wife, was involuntarily happy to take care of me. I knew soon enough that it was all fake. It was just her charade. I felt betrayed. But not just for her, I was angry for all other people, because once I was healthy, all the attention gone.
It start with Apak’s departure. It seemed like no one cares about me anymore. Not really. They cared about my well being, but they couldn’t do it every day, every hour, like Amak and Apak did. They showed they cared once in a while, especially if I were sick, and then they went back to their lives. Even my sisters. It became worse after they’re all married and have children. Their children is their center of the universe now, not me anymore. I felt being left alone. I know why they were the way they were, I know they couldn’t help it, even I love their children, but it’s surprise me how fast a changing could be. At first, I was the center of their universe. Then, in the blink of an eye, I was nothing at all. They didn’t even ask if I missed Amak or not. Of course I missed her very much, but I couldn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to be an attention beggar. I always put a brave face in front of all of them. I didn’t want to admit how sad or lonely I was. I also didn’t want them to be sad because I was sad. But, unfortunately for me, my brave-face mask just ended up eating me inside.
Apak didn’t help either. People said his wife had some kind of “magic” spells on him that he didn’t visit us at home after being married. They said, she didn’t want Apak to visit me and my siblings. They said, she didn’t like me very much and she wanted Apak all for herself. For whatever reason, I had not met Apak for about 2-3 following years. And after she “permit” him to visit at my home, I couldn’t find my Apak who loved me and my Amak very much. There was a new thing about him.
I had a little consolation, though. It was my uncle. He loved me much as he loved his child, although he had none. I noticed, the death of Amak didn’t waver his love to me. Unfortunately, he died just two years after my mom. He was a very sickly man. Like my Amak. His death just make it worse. At least I still had him after Amak’s death. But God had no mercy on me.
School also help to make it even worse. Amak had always prepared me for school or pesantren (some kind of religious camp), but I had to did it myself afterward. The sad things were, I couldn’t cook and wake up early to have a hot and fresh lunch like my friends had. My lunch were always a cold leftover dinner and my sisters wouldn’t help me. I didn’t even ask them to make my lunch. I just want they did it because they want to do it. And sometimes, in pesantren, parents were expected to bring things the students need. Like some kind of dessert for dinner or a blanket for sleeping. I tried to ask my sisters to do it for me, because I couldn’t bring all of my needs all at once. But I didn’t expect much. They always give me any solutions to get their way out. “Why not these, why not that?” Well, if I could sweet sister, I wouldn’t have asked you at all. To this day, I still remember how I got laughed at once by students from another school because I had been carrying all of my stuff for all day that supposed to be delivered by parents at night. The thought of the rejection of my sisters and that everyone knew about it almost made me cried in front of all of them. I was already crying on the way to the pesantren, but everyone knowing about how pathetic, helpless and lonely I was, made it worse. My eyes were already blurry as I tried to get in line but I forced back my tears. I wouldn’t show them my weakness.
My sisters also avoided to pick up my report card at the end of semester if it was not necessary. So did Apak. Most of parents or families are willingly without needing to ask to come to school if they kids, they siblings, were rank 1st in their class. But not my sisters. Nor my father (although, he did thaw a little bit when I was at high school). I had always begged my teacher to give me mine. And I had always been so furious and sad looking at my friends went home happily with their families even they grade were only a little above average and I went home alone with the highest grade in school. If the highest grade didn’t even able to make them to pick up my report card, then what could?
Of course no one knew about this. I couldn’t tell anyone. How could I? I channeled my rage through tears. I cried a lot. But I couldn’t cry easily in front of anybody. I still can’t. I don’t like being a burden, so usually I cry silently at night in my room. Alone. But I hated it when I couldn’t do anything to change it. I don’t like being a nobody, I don’t like being not loved. Still, I couldn’t tell anyone because I don’t want them to love me because they pitied me. I want they love me because they want to love me. I want they care about me because they want to. But my situation didn’t change for a long time despite of whatever I tried. Or hoped. I usually ask a lot of questions to God whilst I cried. Why did this happen to me? Why me, why not anyone else? I’m not that strong. Can’t you see me how weak I am now? What did I do so wrong? I haven’t done anything. Why did You take my mother from me? Do You hate me? Why do You hate me so much? Or did my mom not love me so she strong enough to leave me? Why do I have to be born, I didn’t ask for it. My parents didn’t even plan me. Why don’t You just take my life now, so I can be with my mom. If it weren’t for Amak’s death, none of this would have happened.
All that questions and statements, especially the last one, haunt me until now. I have to know all the answers but God gives me none. I tried, I think, to find one but I have no luck in that either. I can’t handle not knowing. I have to know. I hate people saying sarcastically “How many answers do you get in life?” You have to get every one of them.
Because my stubbornness, I end up blaming someone. Sometimes God, sometimes my self and sometimes my poor Amak. But I think, I mostly blame God for He is the one who takes away my mom and not providing the reasons behind it. I blamed my Amak because I can’t imagine how dare she left me. I realized I was angry at Apak and my sisters too, but Amak’s death was the root of all of it. How could she leave me? I remembered that she loved me, but not as much as Apak or my uncle did. Everyone knows Amak’s favorite was my brother and not me. The thought of that usually make me blame my self. I think, I might be the reasons why Amak died. It is illogical, but still probable. I feel insecure that maybe Amak hated me. That she didn’t want another kid. I couldn’t prove it, of course, but the thought of it still able to make me blame my self and want to escape from this world. And I’m not good at forgiving, whether it was God’s fault, Amak’s or mine.
I found this website while trying to find how to let go my past. There are 4 elements of forgiveness: express the emotion, understand why, rebuild safety and let go. I have to go through the first three elements in random orders to finally able to do the fourth, letting go. But that’s the problem. I can’t express my emotion; I tried and tried to understand why, but after 15 years I still haven’t found the answers yet; I am certainly sure that this thing can occur again, not to my mom of course, my uncle was the proof of it. And absolutely it’s hard to let go. I am a forgiving type, most of the time. But I never forget. Especially this kind of experience. How could I forget.
Anyway, I write this down to try to express my emotion. I want to let go, I really do. But as that article says, I need to understand why.