While we look for real heroes throughout the world to seek inspiration from, we find one amidst our own. The hero that lives under the same roof as us, the first face we see after waking up each morning and the last face we see before going to sleep. The one that carried us inside her for 9 months, the happiest person to hear our first cry.
As he made his way through, he could recollect every second spent with his mother. He went up to the dais, took out the letter from his pocket and began,
“Growing up, every child has his/her favorite hero or idol. As a child, the only heroes I knew of, were the ones that wore capes, the ones that saved the lives of many with their superpowers. All of it just seemed so perfect to me. I believed that it could only happen in movies, and nothing or nobody could do any of it in real life. It took 32 years to realize that I had a superhero in front of my bare eyes: my mother.
My father worked in the army. He was a dedicated and disciplined person, for whom nothing was more important or respectful than the uniform he was wearing. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was seven. Ever since my mother brought me up all alone”. He pauses, takes a deep breath and continues,
“You woke up early each morning, sent me to school, worked in the later hours of the day, earning us a living. You have given me everything I asked for and more, and have inspired me in ways I could never even think of. You have taught me that life always has something to offer, that life will be a struggle and how you face each problem will shape you into what you are today”. By this time, his eyes welled up.
“I may have outgrown your lap, but I could never outgrow your love. I have seen a lot of children who grew up without the love and concern you bestowed on me. For you it was always giving, you never really expected anything in return. There were times when I questioned your actions but later realized that you only did what you did, out of love.
I remember that one day you were making lunch for me when a fire erupted on top of the stove. I was there grabbing my favorite bar of candy from the fridge. You ran into the kitchen, pulled me out, took the pot and ran outside immediately. As if that wasn’t heroic enough, after the flames vanished, you sat down quietly as if nothing happened and asked me not to worry. It was only later that I found out that you suffered second-degree burns from your elbow to the tips of your fingers on your left hand. You used all of your willpower to hold back tears so that I wouldn’t panic. That day, you seemed to be a living embodiment of strength and resilience.
Reminiscing about all such instances, it makes me think that I wasn’t the best son you could ask for. I’ve made you cry several times, given you headaches almost every day, kept you up late at night because I needed someone to sit with me while I study. Despite all this, not once have you complained. I’ve never told you how much it meant to me, be it the last-minute school projects, the bedtime stories even till the age of 16, the basketball practice, our craze for science-fiction, the many times I misplaced things and somehow you knew exactly where it was; everything.
You believed in my capabilities even when I didn’t believe in myself, trusted my strengths, corrected my weaknesses, picked me up each time I fell, made every big problem seem easy, so much so that now I stand on my feet with utmost confidence of being able to face and tackle every problem that comes my way.
I have learned from you every single day. You have taught me to always be patient, kind, selfless and loving, to respect and accept people and their choices, and most importantly to always help people with whatever I have, less or more. All these qualities, that you had in ample amounts, have helped me be the person that I am today. I promise to imbibe the principles that you have taught me into my children and to show them that love is a homonym of itself, with a million different meanings.
Thank you for being you, I wish I could have you forever.
With eternal love from your biggest fan,
Your Son. “
Tears rolled down his cheeks as he folded the paper neatly, placed it back in his pocket and walked back to his seat as everyone looked at her one last time before cremation, realizing that his mother, who was his greatest strength, his hero, was no longer with him.
This article is inspired by the book “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.