Grateful Muse of an Undeliverable Letter

When the dark sky was starting to turn white, I woke up but kept lying on my bed till I heard some unknown birds outside my window begin to chirp and twitter noisily. The time was five o’clock, I still felt sleepy but I had to get up and started to clean my house.

I did the same housework year after year, because my mom told me to, if we could get rid of all dirt and dust from the house before each lunar New Year‘s eve, we could have a lucky New Year. I had never argued this tradition with her, I just did it, even though in some years I was not that lucky. I started to clean my study and incidentally found a letter in the bottom right drawer of my desk. It was an undeliverable letter which had never been read by the recipient. Six years ago, when my mom passed away I wrote the letter with eyes blurred by tears to tell her how grateful I was. I only read it aloud once at her funeral, after that it was unconsciously laid down in my drawer till now. I gently opened it and started to read, soon afterwards I mused about those almost lost memories.

My mom’s parents died when she was three years old. Her father’s younger sister and brother in law were in charge of looking after her, but compared to their own children, mom’s aunt did not allow her to have a good education. These experiences of discrimination in my mom’s childhood had not only forged her strong mind, but also enhanced concern for her children’s education. My mom married my dad when she was 24 years old. One year later, they had their first child, my brother; two years after, my older sister was born; two years later my second sister was born. I was born in the 10th year after my parents had married. I am the youngest child in my parents’ family. In the same year, my father started to run his own business. The family was getting better and better.

However, when I was 12 years old, my dad’s business failed by friends’ deception and he went bankrupt, we suddenly faced very difficult financial problems. Even though my parents had tried their best to protect the whole family, the creditors kept asking for money. I remembered my dad sold all of his real estate and his company for repaying debts. Not long after, he got laryngeal cancer and lost his voice after the malignant tumor was removed from his throat. My dad lost both his career and health in that time. The family fell into a helpless desperation. My mom decided to not be knocked down by the fate. She began to work in a bottled gas filling plant which was belonged to one of her elder cousin. That was very hard and dangerous physical work, but my mom never complained about it. For a long period, she worked in the plant in the daytime and looked after my dad and us after work. When my brother, sisters and I had graduated from colleges and universities and found jobs one after another, the family was gradually revived.

My mom taught me many things, the most important one is “don’t blame, just do it!” She always asked her children to be better and honest people. I am very grateful for her love, instruction and dedication to our family. Without her, we could not have passed through the difficult time, accepted good education as well as become honest and diligent people.

“Hi DAD! What are you doing?” Roy, my son’s voice broke my deep thought and pulled me back to reality. The sun was shining brightly in the clear blue sky and those noisy birds were all gone. “Mom asks you to hurry up your work. We will have lunch within five minutes.” Roy said. “OK, I am going downstairs now….” I replied. I carefully folded the letter and put it back into the bottom right drawer. I looked at the sky and murmured to myself “Thank you, MOM, I miss you and wish you a happy lunar new year!” In that moment, I found some tears in my eyes.

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