Sometimes there was quiet accusation in her eyes; eyes that had lost their humor and once-bright spark of vitality. Those eyes, for the most part, now reflected sadness, and a consuming self-pity that often moved her to voice regret. Regret that she had made so many children and so many sacrifices for their sake. Regret that she had accepted a lifetime of abuse, unwarranted criticisms, and the disdainful airs and graces of self-deluded people—all in the name of fulfilling her role as a woman and, more important, as a mother. And lying on her bed where she was confined because her leg muscles had atrophied, she would stare off into space with one of her Parkinson’s-affected hands cupping her chin.
Where did all the years go? What evil forces had conspired to bring her to this wretched existence? What evil had she done to deserve this? A palpable silence always greeted her anguish; there were never answers, only this mocking void of silence in response to thoughts spoken aloud. God, she had worked hard! How she had worked hard! And not once had she entertained a selfish motive—it was always for her children; to make them better than she was or ever could be so they could be something or somebody worthy of respect. But, she had hoped and dreamed that one day they would “raise her nose” in the community; that at least one of them would be mentioned in deferential tones as “yish Vitalien.” So she had pushed herself hard, nurturing and relishing her wonderful dream.
Author’s note: The preceding is an excerpt from the story, “Final journey”, from the novella, “House of Tears”, now on Amazon kindle.