A Mother’s Sacrifice


This story is about the sacrifices that my grandmother made for her children. My grandmother resided in a small town in eastern India. Her family wasn’t rich, but she never had to worry about money. After completing her education, my grandmother got married to my grandfather. She was 21 at the time and in the next few years, they had three children together. Her lifestyle wasn’t the same as before. The family of five lived in a two-bedroom house. My grandmother didn’t work and my grandfather made just enough money to satisfy the family’s basic needs. My grandparents knew that they wanted to give their children a quality education and raise them to be successful. They also knew that college was going to be very expensive. One night, my grandparents were conversing in their room after the kids had fallen asleep.

“I have decided to get a job,” My grandma said. “If we are going to send all the kids to college, we need to start saving up now.”

My grandfather agreed and the next day, my grandmother started looking for a job. She was hired at a private school as a 1st grade teacher. Everything was going well for the family. My grandparents were saving up the extra money for their children’s college education. A few months later, the private school had some sort of a financial crisis, so the government took over. The government promised that all teachers would keep their jobs and no one would be fired. One night my grandmother came home from work looking defeated.

“What’s wrong?” asked my grandfather.

“I’ve lost my job,” said my grandmother.

“What! Why?” my grandfather exclaimed.

“They say I’m not qualified enough”

“I don’t understand. Of course you are. You have the required degree.”

“But that isn’t enough for them. They are saying that on top of the degree, I need to go through a teacher’s training program.”

“It is a part of their contract to not fire any of the teachers,” My grandfather said, “They never said that the teacher is required to go to a training program.”

“I don’t know what to do. If I don’t work, we won’t be able to save up enough money for the kids,” said my grandmother.

My grandparents decided to sue the school. It was a long, legal quagmire, but eventually, both sides came to a resolution. My grandmother wouldn’t be fired from her job, but she’d still be required to go to the training program. The program was 2 years long and after she had completed it, she’d immediately get her job back at the school. The school was 2 hours from her house. She was forced to make the decision to either move her whole family to another town or travel 4 hours to and back every day. She decided on the latter. She didn’t think that moving her family would be the best choice. Her kids had school, and her husband had a job. They were settled here, and she didn’t want to disturb the family rhythm. Those 2 years were some of the hardest times of her life. Every day, she would wake up at 4 A.M. to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as she would be gone the whole day. After she got ready, my grandfather would drive her to the bus stop on his motorcycle. From there, she would take a two-hour bus ride to get to the institute by 9:00 A.M. She had seven hours of classes and usually she came home late at night. My grandmother barely got to see her kids. She would leave before they woke up and be home after they had fallen asleep. This made her very unhappy, but she reminded herself why she was doing this in the first place. It was so her kids would have a better future. This routine continued for months. On the weekdays, she would be at school for most of the day. On the weekends, she would do the house chores and study for school. School wasn’t easy. My grandmother was required to learn an entirely new language. She had to start with the basic letters and become fluent in two years. It was difficult, but what kept her going was the hope that one day her children would go to college and have a rewarding career. Her children were her motivation. She worked hard in school and was able to pass the first semester with excellent grades. The second semester went by quickly and before she knew it, there was just one year of school left. One morning my grandmother was running late, which didn’t happen often. She had been up late, studying for an upcoming exam. She rushed out the door and hurried to where my grandfather was waiting on his motorcycle. My grandfather started speeding to reach the bus stop. He took a sharp turn and swerved around the other vehicles to try to make it in time. My grandmother’s book bag started to slip off her shoulder and as she tried to pull it back up, she lost her balance. She was flung off onto the hard pavement and landed directly on her face. My grandfather immediately stopped the motorcycle and rushed to her side. She felt a warm liquid dripping down her face and uttered a yelp when she saw the blood on her clothes. A sharp pain shot through her face and she almost blacked out. Her eyes started to blur and the last thing she saw before she fainted was a small crowd gathered around her. My grandmother later woke up in the hospital. Her jaw felt numb, and her whole body was in pain. She was told that her jaw had been broken due to the traumatic accident, and that they had to wire it shut. Her teeth were damaged, and she sustained other injuries on her arms and legs. Her children came to visit, and she felt sad that they had to see her in this state. She was worried about how her family would manage without her. Her children were young, and they needed their mother.

“Who will make the meals? Who will clean the house?” She thought.

She didn’t think that my grandfather could handle everything by himself. She wasn’t worried about herself, but more so if her family would be able to adapt. The hospital finally sent her home a few days later. She came home to a group of neighbors in her house. They had brought food for her family. My grandmother was eased when the neighbors promised to help run errands and care for the kids during her recovery. That night, when my grandmother looked at herself in the mirror, she was frightened by whom she saw. An old, frail lady with bruised eyes and a swollen face. Her mouth felt full of jaw-wiring metal. She could barely open her mouth. For the next few months, she was on a liquid diet. She wasn’t able to talk at all, and was on bed rest at all times. Not being able to communicate was frustrating, and she felt trapped in her mind. Her education was on hold during the time she recovered. Those six months were full of pain and discomfort for my grandmother. My grandmother had always been the one to take care of the family, and now she felt so helpless. The only bright light she had in her life was her children, who gave her hope and the strength to recover. My grandmother had to go to physical therapy to learn to move her jaw and be able to talk again. Eventually, she recovered enough to go back to school. My grandmother took two years and six months to finish the teacher training program. She took longer than most but didn’t put in any less effort. Her family and friends were all there to support her on graduation day. She got her job at the school again as promised and continued to make money. Her hard work paid off, and all three of her children were able to go to college and have successful careers. Now my grandmother is retired. She lives in the same town with my grandfather. She continues to face the permanent effects from her accident, but now she is happy and satisfied with her life. She has a passion for gardening and grows a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers. We don’t see her much, but we try to visit every year. I’m grateful for her because without her hard work and sacrifices, I wouldn’t be here right now.




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Harshita Rai

Harshita Rai

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