Fatima Rahmati

Your Hero

I remember being maybe 9 or 10 years old and hearing my mother’s shrieks. Have you ever heard someone sob so deeply that it shakes your core? I was 9 or 10 and for the first time in years my mother heard her mothers voice. You see, we were refugees. My father and mother had to flee our homeland. In the middle of the night. With three children. And two suitcases. Because of war. Little did they know they would never see their families or their home again. My mother didn’t know she would end up in Australia. She didn’t know my father would pass away a month after us arriving there. She didn’t know she would have to sacrifice her family for her family. 30 years ago we didn’t have internet. Or cell phones. Or even the capacity to call a country like Afghanistan from our home phone. We had to use a pay phone and that meant saving enough money and converting it to coins to feed the pay phone as my mother spent $20 for a 4 minute conversation. Hearing my mothers shrieks and witnessing her cries.. it is a moment that haunts me to this day. I couldn’t at the time truly comprehend the heaviness and pain of what my mother had to endure. Now, as a mother myself not only do I comprehend her heaviness and pain but the memories that haunt me seem to be given new life as we watch countless women, children and families suffer a fate similar to the one we did. My mother was raised in a village in Afghanistan. Small. Conservative. Farmers. She was illiterate. And disabled. Having only attended school to the 5th grade and suffering such severe burns to both her feet as a small child that they became a tangled web of bones and skin that were never undone. As an adult, she was widowed. I can proudly say, we were fortunate enough to bear witness as she learned to read and write and to speak a new language. I remember she would take our school books. The ones with pictures and basic sentences and she would sound out the words. She still struggles with her feet today and she never remarried. Her love affair was with us. Her children. (1/2 continued below. #BreadwinnerStories)

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