Free : Sometimes, goodbyes result in FREEDOM By: Jomelly Munoz

My siblings and I gathered around her, hand in hand. Hospital machines beeping and the sound of our mother’s shallow breathing filled the room. We knew today was the day. After years of doctors’ appointments, taking pills and undergoing surgery, she was finally leaving us. My siblings and I took turns taking care of her when she became bed ridden. It took a toll on our personal lives because we had to stay home 24/7 with her. 

            I was the oldest of 3 siblings. We used to have a good life, a big house, a beautiful front lawn. Our parents used to actually be together once upon a time. They were happily married. They were real #relationshipgoals. Unfortunately, our father left about 8 years ago. He met a younger, ‘hotter’ woman who he decided was more important than his real family. When he left, our mother left, too. She began drinking and doing drugs. Different men would walk in and out of the house and sometimes they would try to come near my siblings and I but I’d never let them. Suddenly, home life became less about love and more about survival. I was suddenly the caretaker of the house and was responsible for my 2 younger siblings.

            Things got worse when the drinking and drugs started to permanently affect my mother. She became verbally and physically abusive. We went from barely going to school to not going at all. It seemed like after a while, the men became stronger and I wasn’t able to fight them off as easily as I used to, so sometimes they did get to my siblings and I. My mother no longer bought food or gave us money to buy food, so we were stuck with scraps for dinner. Life felt as if it would be better off without her in it. 

            So as we stood around my mother, hand and hand, the hospital machines went from steady beeping to just one long beep, and her shallow breaths stopped. A deafening silence suddenly filled the room and then it dawned on me- the silence in the room wasn't because she had died. It was because we were happy. We were free. Free to get an education, free to eat, free to receive help, and free to finally experience all the amazing things life had to offer.  

Tekeisha Meade