My mom and dad took care of my brother and I well. Our family was poor and we lived in the countryside but we were content. That is, until I found out my mother wasn’t who I thought she was.
As I grew older, I heard fleeting whispers and rumors going around the village claiming that my mother was not my biological parent. The villagers said my father brought home a woman as soon as I was born. I could not believe such nonsense and decided to ignore these lies.
One day the rumors became too much and to put them to rest, I went home and asked my father about it. His eyes flashed and I thought he was going to scold me but then his expression softened as he said, “Your mother died when you were born, you couldn’t have remembered her.”
I was shattered, I felt my knees buckle at the realization that the woman in the family now is not my real mother.
Knowing this, I could never look at my parents the same way again. I felt like my father had betrayed my mother for remarrying and that this woman had no place in the family. I started quarreling with my parents frequently from then on. When my friends came over I would say she was not my mother, loud enough so she could hear but she never reacted to the statement.
When I was accepted to college, I finally moved out of that house. I was so relieved to be on my own but my stepmother would call almost everyday to ask if I was alright on my own. I called my father regularly but he was always busy with work and our conversations were short. When I was in my senior year, my stepmother called me in the middle of my class saying there had been an accident. My father was in really bad shape.
I immediately packed my things and took the first flight back home to see my father in the hospital.
He was in a coma and his surgery had cost a lot of money. I took a loan to pay for the hospital bills and got a couple of jobs to pay the loan. My stepmother stayed by his side in the hospital ward and looked after him. It was then that I realized how much she actually loved him. 5 years went by and his condition did not improve, we were losing hope but my stepmother did not want to give up on him.
Another year went by and my father passed away in his sleep. It was bittersweet because we knew he could finally rest but we would lose him forever. I encouraged my stepmother to remarry so she’d have a companion in her old age but she refused vehemently. After my father’s funeral, she came into my room and wanted to talk.
She said, “Your dad wasn’t your biological father. We’re actually your aunt and uncle.”
“Your parents died when you were an infant. You became an orphan at a young age. We already had two children of our own and your uncle said we could not afford to feed another mouth but I insisted on adopting you.” she said.
Hot tears were streaming down my face. How badly I had treated this angel of a woman. I can never repay what she’s done for me but I vowed to try. I made sure to take care of my aunt from then on.