They broke in. Armed to the teeth. Grimy with a look of deceit. She saw him starting to sweat. Struggling to get out of his bed. “NO!” She seemed to shout though she whispered. She kissed him and spoke words into his ear. He tried to object and how grave the situation was finally hit me when I saw a grown man weep. She hurried towards me and whispered. “Always listen to you’re father honey promise me(my 7 year old tiny head nodded). No matter what don’t be bitter honey be strong. I love you”.
She sped off and retrieved something dark from under the bed. “Lock the door behind me and don’t come out baby.” That was the last thing she said after she kissed me on the forehead. Why I started to cry even before the gunshots were fired. I don’t know. Maybe I could feel it. Her passing the torch to me. She died for us that night. My mother was the strongest woman I knew and at that young age I found myself having the capacity to respect that.
The story was that my father had just had an operation and was recovering at home when the armed thugs broke in. To this day I do not know their intent, but when the police came they found no witnesses to spin them tales. Everyone including my mother was dead. My father told me that she said. “I’d rather go down with them all honey than watch them hurt the two of you as if I’m helpless”
From that alone I discovered a knew strength in womanhood. The ‘lioness like’ instinct to protect and destroy. I realised later that that was her gift to me. It was like she was saying do not hold a grudge, rise above it and you claim power and strength