H.’s mother left home when she was nine months old. Her father suffered from addictions that he still has not overcome. He also left home. By circumstances of life, although H.’s grandparents were old and in poor health, they had to shoulder the responsibility of “parenting” five granddaughters.
In a cramped boarding house in District 7, the seven family members lived together, relying on their grandparents’ small grocery shop. Day by day, the grandparents were getting older, their health deteriorating. They eventually couldn’t continue operating the grocery shop. Despite the difficult situation, H.’s sisters still consider themselves lucky, because their grandparents never intended to abandon their poor grandchildren. H.’s two older sisters had to work at a very young stage to support the family and raise the younger sisters. Her oldest sister was a worker in the manufacturing and exporting zone. The salary was not enough to support the whole family. In the family, H. is the youngest but the most unfortunate one. Because at least, some of the other sisters still have the memory of their mother’s image. As for H., she doesn’t even remember her mother’s face, not even a small fragment of her memory of her mother. For H., her mother is essentially none other than her beloved grandmother. She raised and cared for H. like a mother. She loves her grandmother deeply.
During the time when Ho Chi Minh city was hit hardest by the epidemic, her family faced many difficulties. Her grandfather and sister had Covid. The whole family survived on a meagre allowance from the company where her oldest sister worked. Most painfully, the impermanence of life took H.’s grandmother away forever. Her grandmother passed away from Covid. It took a long time for H. to accept the fact that her grandmother had died. H.’s mother had left her when she was a baby. Now another “mother” who had taken care of her from her first steps, had also left her forever. This disappointment and loss is probably the thing that H. can never forget in her whole life. The young girl’s face, at the age of twelve, was filled with immense sadness, hidden with fear. That was even more apparent through her statement: “I want to continue going to school and living with my grandfather and sisters!”. Faced with the unhappiness in life, what she craves the most is still the word “family”.