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This story begins when I was a child. I was born poor. Often we hadn’t enough to eat. Whenever we had some food, Mother often gave me her portion of rice. While she was transferring her rice into my bowl, she would say “Eat this rice, Son! I’m not hungry.”

This was Mother’s First Lie.

As I grew, Mother gave up her spare time to fish in a river near our house. She hoped that from the fish she caught, she could give me a little bit more nutritious food for my growth. Once she had caught just two fish, she would make fish soup. While I was eating the soup, mother would sit beside me and eat what was still left on the bone of the fish I had eaten. My heart was touched and I gave her the other fish on my chopstick but she immediately refused it and said, “Eat this fish, Son! I don’t really like fish.”

This was Mother’s Second Lie.

Then, in order to fund my education, Mother went to a Match Factory to bring home some used matchboxes, which she filled with fresh matchsticks. This helped her get some money to cover our needs. One wintry night I awoke to find Mother filling the matchboxes by candlelight. So I said, “Mother, go to sleep. It’s late. You can continue working tomorrow morning.” Mother smiled and said, “Go to sleep, Son! I’m not tired.”

This was Mother’s Third Lie.

When I had to sit my Final Examination, Mother accompanied me. After dawn, Mother waited for me for hours in the heat of the sun. When the bell rang, I ran to meet her. Mother embraced me and poured me a glass of tea that she had prepared in a thermos. The tea was not as strong as my Mother’s love. Seeing Mother covered with perspiration, I at once gave her my glass and asked her to drink too. Mother said, “Drink, Son! I’m not thirsty!”.

This was Mother’s Fourth Lie.

After Father’s death, Mother had to play the role of a single parent. She held on to her former job. She had to fund our needs alone. Our family’s life was more complicated. We suffered from starvation. Seeing our family’s condition worsening, my kind Uncle who lived near our house came to help us solve our problems big and small. Our neighbors saw that we were poverty stricken so they often advised my mother to marry again. But Mother refused to remarry saying, “I don’t need love.”

This was Mother’s Fifth Lie.

After I had finished my studies and gotten a job, it was time for my old Mother to retire but she carried on going to the market every morning just to sell a few vegetables. I kept sending her money but she was steadfast and even sent the money back to me. She said, “I have enough money.”

That was Mother’s Sixth Lie.

I continued my part-time studies for my Master’s Degree. Funded by the American Corporation for which I worked. I succeeded in my studies. With a big jump in my salary, I decided to bring Mother to enjoy life in America but Mother didn’t want to bother her son. She said, “I’m not used to high living.”

That was Mother’s Seventh Lie.

In her dotage, Mother was attacked by cancer and had to be hospitalized. Now living far across the ocean, I went home to visit Mother who was bedridden. In one of the minor bedside operation, I saw her tears and heard her cries. After, Mother tried to smile but I was heartbroken because she was so thin and feeble but Mother said, “Don’t cry, son! I’m not in pain.”

That was Mother’s Eighth Lie.

And then she passsed on.

M – O – T – H – E – R

“M” is for the MILLION things she gave me without asking for anything,

“O” for being the ONLY one who’s always there,

“T” is for the TEARS she shed to save me,

“H” is for her HEART of gold,

“E” is for her EYES with love-light shining in them,

“R” is for being the number one REASON that I am thankful for waking every morning.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

And I’m eternally thankful.

It’s not easy for a grown man to well up when he reads a passage of writing but sometimes, like when he reads the passage above, he does betray a tear or two.

The passage above, I may have taken off an email (or was it a forum posting that I chanced upon somewhere) and edited a little, but the message it presents is true and genuine, which is comfortably close to my heart.

MOTHER, a word that means the world to me. For those of you who are lucky to be still blessed with your Mom’s presence on Earth, this story is beautiful. For those who aren’t so blessed, this is even more beautiful, and it makes you ever so grateful that your life has been presented with the most beautiful present ever.

Without that present, I feel under-privileged, under-appreciated, like everything that I could ever have in this world would never really mean anything anymore, and like every dollars earned and accumulated is just another metric in the system?

Without that present, I feel the way that the child in the story was born — Poor, robbed of love.