Bright Stars Shine Through Dark Seas

I still remember…
That night…
I was only four
The bright stars shone through the glistening dark seas
I hugged my father for the last time
Felt the touch of his hands for the last time
Saw him cry for the last time
Told him I loved him for the last time
Said goodbye for the last time

A piece of me vanished when my hands slipped from his grip
And men on board dragged mother, my brothers, sisters, and I to the end of the ship
Leaving him behind

I still remember…
My screams and struggles to run back to him
I didn’t want to lose him
But I failed to win

I watched from afar
As the lights from the Titanic submerged under water
And bodies began to float
There was no saying
If one of them was his own
I missed him
I cried in my sleep
reminiscing our memories together

Mother used to repeat the same adage several times,
Perhaps to heal the hole in her heart as well as the ones in ours
She told us,
“To always let the bright stars
Shine through our dark seas”
It seemed plausible, but I never clearly understood how this worked
All I knew is that I missed him, and I wanted him back

I didn’t want to live anymore…
No one was my friend
No one was there to comfort me when I cried
To give me a hand, when I couldn’t get up
Or to make me laugh, when the strangest thoughts crowded my mind
You were gone, and all this was gone too
Mother always told me to let bright stars shine through my dark seas.
I never understood how this worked
All I knew is that I missed him, and I wanted him back

I got bullied
And there was no one to stand up for me
To fight back when I got hurt
To support me when I felt lost
You were gone, and all this was gone too.

Mother got sick
And we didn’t have much money
Mary and I worked hard to support our family
But in the end, we only got enough to feed the young,
and buy medicine for mother
Most nights, we filled our hunger with glasses of water
We might be plebeians now, but our hearts will remain as generous and giving as they were in our early years
We missed our prodigal lifestyles, and mostly the abundant love

There was no one to help us
Because no one cared
You were gone, and all this was gone too.

The bank came by
And said father had saved ample money for us if anything would happen to him
Just when things couldn’t get any better, things only got worse
Life seemed to enjoy pulverizing every bit of luck we received
It always had an intrigue to grasp every bit of hope we had left
We had the money taken away to cover unpaid loans
We were homeless, starving, and desperate.

That night we heard mother screaming our names.
She clutched her hand close to her chest, as tears escaped her eyes
She brought Mary and I closer to her face and touched our noses with hers
“Take care of the children
Never should the time come that your palms should be spread out towards anyone

Work hard for your fate, and earn it
And never fail to remember.”
“Always let bright stars shine through your dark seas.”
We said in unison.
She closed her eyes, this time forever, and we were alone in the world.

It was later found mother had passed from a cancer that had spread from her liver to her heart.
She knew this.
She kept this hidden.
So she wouldn’t be of any trouble to us.
We weren’t there to help her
We weren’t there to comfort her
We were never there for her
especially at a time when she needed us most

Mother always told us,
to always let bright stars shine through our dark seas.
I still didn’t see how this worked.
Life just got worse, but failed to ever get better.
And I never understood what we had done to live such a life.
I forever seemed volatile
I hated my life, and whatever was in it.
I hated myself, whoever I was.

We were in custody of Aunt Margaret and Uncle William.
We had shelter, we had clothes, we had proper meals.
But nothing could ever fulfill the warmth
of being inside our parent’s arms, or the sweetness of their words...
Your daughter is all grown up, mother, father
I came in first in our final exams.
Are you proud of me?
I hope you are listening.
There’s no one else to listen to me except you
I feel nothing but aghast,
mixed emotions about everything coming my way

Aunt Margaret came to speak to me
about proposals for marriage I had gotten

She asserted you wanted me to live this kind of life, with a “lovely family”,
and cooking, cleaning, serving, and taking care
of the household
for the rest of my days,
forever living within boundaries
of people ruling over me
and everything it is that I do.
She said an education doesn’t play an important role in a girl’s life, girls need to learn to dolly up, and take care of the house.
I don’t want to live like that.
I want to see all that I can do,
without anyone else by me and monitoring every step I take.

This is never what you wanted, mother, or you, father;
everyone was so dedicated within other people’s thoughts
of a woman’s lifestyle and capabilities,
that they forgot to ask these women themselves
These facetious people should be looked down upon with disdain, for ruining and making a joke out of someone’s life
that could turn out to spread these certain things our era is missing,
and will never find unless people are willing
to set their ego aside and learn to be kind; humanity and indiscrimination

These kinds of people aren’t worthy of an easy life,
as they have interfered with the lives of many others
And have caused them to accept defeat
To cower, and remain inaudible to the people around them

No one ever asked me what I wanted to do,
what I wanted to achieve, how I wanted to live.

Because no one cares.
No one cares how I live my life,
because I’ ain’t going out to change the world or anything.
But they don’t realize, that I can influence the world,
by starting to help only a few people and use my determination
to put that forward and expand on that itself.
No one cares about me, or my dreams.
No one cares about my jurisdiction, my rights
Tell me, how can I possibly let the bright stars shine
through my dark seas, if no one is willing to push the clouds
hiding those stars from shining, in the first place?

The following night, in my dreams, I saw mother as an apparition, but felt her proximity as though she was standing right by my side.
She was crying, her long blond hair flying in the mild wind,
as her arms stroke flowers in the meadow amongst her.
She was in a better place, I knew that.
Just, I wish I was there with her.
I couldn’t live without her.
She seemed to hear everything going on in my mind,
pushed the loose strands of hair behind my ear,
and leaned in and touched the tip of my nose with hers.
It was just like when I was a child.
“You are a blessing to us and can be one to the world.
You are capable of so many things,
and we are just here to remind you of what you can be.
All you need is love.” And that was exactly what I was looking for.

Father came up, smiling, behind her.
He looked so young, but drenched in water,
as I had last seen him.

I reached out to hug them both, but as I got closer,
they seemed to go further away.
Their voices combined into a faint magical melody as they said goodbye.

These words gave me encouragement to overcome my own obstacles, because I had the support of myself in my journey,
and had love, however much, by my side.
There was nothing else I could possibly want,
and nothing I could not be.
Years of hardship passed,
and I was now accepted into the medical field of oncology.
I’d used my knowledge to provide benefits for cancer prevention
to the less fortunate,
so they wouldn’t have to suffer such a childhood as I’d experienced, losing love, or without encouragement to push through their limits.

With achieving all that I wanted to achieve, I decided to get an addendum of an epitaph added to my parent’s gravestones, and it was my mother’s quote that had encouraged me to keep on living, keep on dreaming, and keep on accomplishing my goals throughout my life.

Through my journey into discovering myself
and the various things I can do and change,
I’ve also settled down with a family,
and I’m happy with my life, and myself.
All that pain I’ve suffered,
all the hope I’ve lost,
and all the dreams that I thought would never come true,
has been what truly pushed away those clouds
and made me shine brighter than ever,
and most importantly,
helped me to be who I’ve become.

This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


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