A mother’s despair

A mother’s despair

Today, a colleague and friend of mine, told me her heart-breaking story. We were almost at the end of our first class of the afternoon when her phone rang. A common occurrence as parents of our students often call to ask how their kids are doing in class or if they have any homework. However, this time when she picked up her phone she froze and her eyes stayed glued to the screen. I called her name a couple of times as the kids belted out “I’m a little teapot” in the background. She didn’t answer and let the phone continue to ring.

I ended the class and the kids went back to their classrooms. The next class wasn’t due to start for another ten minutes but, as usual, the kids of the next class were already standing outside. I ushered the kids inside and took my friend outside. Her eyes were red and brimming with tears. I asked her what was wrong and she confessed her story to me.

She had married the man she loved and later they had a beautiful baby girl. But everything was not all it seemed, her husband was very abusive towards her, physically, verbally, emotionally and financially. One day, around a year ago, she found the strength to leave her husband and even though she gained her freedom, she lost something else which, to her, was equally important. Her now four year old daughter. In a place where money and connections are power, her now ex-husband, used his money and influence to take her daughter away from her. She has been trying to get her daughter back ever since.

Because his work is far away, her daughter lives with her grandmother through the week and with her father at the weekends. Both of them told my friend that she has no right so see her own child, just because she left her husband. What kind of thinking is that? My friend has explained her reasons for leaving, but either her ex mother-in-law doesn’t believe what her son done to my friend, or she is pretending it didn’t happen. Either way, I believe she has no right to keep a child away from her mother. I’ve known my friend for over a year now, she is one of the kindest, friendliest and most honest people I have ever met. All of her students love her. All of the student’s parents love her. All of the staff who work with her love her.

But behind her smiling face lies a burning pain in her heart knowing that she cannot see her own child. During the week, she went to her daughter’s kindergarten and saw her there for only a few minutes. When she went to leave, her four year old daughter grabbed her by the hand and said, “Mummy, don’t go. Please stay with me. I promise I won’t tell Granny or Daddy.” Even this innocent four year old child knows what her father would do to her mother if he saw them together. Unfortunately, the phone call my friend received today was from her ex-husband, she can only assume that he found out about her seeing her daughter. I cannot forget the look on her face, she told me that if she answered his call, he would curse and verbally abuse her through the phone, and threaten to physically harm her.

I’ve never had someone confess such a story to me before, until today a story like this would only be one I would hear about on the news, not straight from the mouth of a dear friend. I felt helpless as there was nothing I could do except let her cry. Even words of comfort wouldn’t come out. What could I say? “Everything is going to be OK?” Who am I to make such a promise? However, I am sure that my feeling of helplessness is nothing compared to the despair of the mother who will now be at home, without her precious daughter by her side.