I’m a Mother Waiting for her Son to Come Home
My story is the story of a mother who spent hours waiting for her son to finish his piano lesson, to finish his swimming lesson, to finish his karate lesson and to finish his professional goal-keeping training. It’s a story of a mother that speaks English as a third language and yet started with an ESL course and finished it with MA Degree in Youth And Community Work. Despite all that rich background, my son started to struggle when he became 18. He couldn’t get a job and couldn’t get an offer for an apprenticeship program; he just ended up being a young person with no faith in the system.
Two years later he became “friends” with three young people who were involved in fraud, drugs and an ongoing problem with a gang; there were several attacks and stabbing in between the two groups. When my son became their friend, he became part of the problem. He was stabbed by the gang and he, with the other three young people, went after one of the gang member and unfortunately the gang member lost his life. During the attack no one (including the prosecution) knew who did what, but the four of them were convicted under joint enterprises.
“…they need to remember the minute they stab someone, they stabbed their own mum in the heart.”
I provide this background to show that not everyone who is in prison is a monster and not everyone who gets killed is an angel. In fact, they all are victims of a system that offers very very little to them and a society that chooses to to blame and judge them. I go to prison to visit my son with this mountain of thoughts on my shoulders and once I’m entering the hall I put my fake smiley mask on, I hug him, kiss him, talk to him and without him noticing keep an eye on the clock to see how much time is left? When it’s time to go I get this smile even bigger and pray for him while I’m hugging him asking the creator to guide him to the right path and keep him safe.
I walk away from him and keep on looking back and smile to him and once I turn around to exit the hall my tears roll down my cheeks and the episode of depression starts to hit me and sometimes carry on to the next day. Then I remind myself that this is not the end of it, it’s just another chapter and one day he will come out of this door, too. I am still a mother waiting for my son, only now I’m waiting for my son to come home.
Praying, hoping and tirelessly telling my story has become the new path of my life with intention of sharing my story so that young people can hear me and keep themselves and their friends safe. Should they decide to carry a knife then they need to remember the minute they stab someone, they stabbed their own mum in the heart.
Submitted by Dunia Shafik
Note from Editor: Thank you Dunia so much for sharing your story. Many people that read this can relate to that moment they turn the corner after visiting their loved one and the water-works start. All those emotions that are held in while visiting come pouring out. Your story will help many people know that they are not alone.