Story time

Immigrant child guilt

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to my blog! I hope you are all doing well. Today’s post is going to be more on the emotional side. As you can read from the title I will be talking about immigrant child guilt.

In 2021 I did a three-part series where I told my story. Check out part 1, part 2, and part 3 if you want to fully understand where I am coming from.

So my parents came to The Netherlands in September 1994. A month later my older brother was born. In 1996 I was born and in 2000 my little brother was born. 

We don’t have any family in this country all we have is the five of us and it has always been that way. To be honest it never really bothered me that much, because this is all I ever knew. But I am sure that it would be nice for my parents to have their family around. They do visit us sometimes. But as time passes by we are seeing them less and less. I don’t know why.

I started feeling immigrant child guilt when I decided that it was time for me to move out on my own. I am 25 years old, I paid off all my debt and I got a permanent contract at my job. For my study, I have lived abroad twice. The first time for 5 months, the second time for 4 months. It was the first time I had been away for that long from my family. This experience also plays a role in my immigrant child guilt, but I will discuss that later. Anyway, when I went abroad, I knew I was coming back. I knew I would be living with my family again. If I move out this time, it will be for good.

I really appreciate my parents for coming to The Netherlands. They left everything and everyone for a better future. I know that it is hard to leave everything behind, but I will never know how it feels to leave a country and never see your parents back again. As an immigrant child, my mind was always on being successful. I wanted to show my parents that they didn’t leave everything behind for nothing. I wanted to show them the greatest result possible of a choice they made in 1994.

As an immigrant child, my siblings and I had to help my parents a lot. Especially me and my older brother. In the beginning, it wasn’t that much. My parents were figuring things out together and I think they had a translator. As we got older we started helping them more and more, especially after my father fell in 2004. We were helping them with reading letters, making phone calls, going to appointments with them, etc. Luckily my parents knew how to make a doctor’s appointment. But we have been in two situations where we needed an ambulance. When my father fell sick, my neighbor called the ambulance for us. Luckily they came. A year before that, in 2003, when my little brother was 3 years old, he had an accident at home. He hit his head really close to his temple, and he was bleeding. My brother who was 9 at the time called the ambulance. I was sleeping when it happened. My parents probably woke up my older brother. The ambulance didn’t want to come. Until this day I don’t understand why. They told my brother that they were sleeping. Aren’t they suppose to be working 24/7? Maybe they thought it wasn’t urgent enough and they rather wanted to save their staff for more urgent situations. Also, we didn’t have a car anymore, so my father couldn’t drive him to the hospital himself. 

There they were, late at night, with a three years old bleeding from his head, not understanding why the ambulance didn’t want to come.. 

So my father did what he could do. The next morning I woke up, and my little brother was still sleeping. My older brother told me what happened. I remember my little brother coming down the stairs into the living room. His little face looked so different. He looked so hurt.  It was hard to see him like that. I can’t imagine how hard it had to be for my parents. In that situation, it must have been hard to not have any family members around to comfort them and tell them that their child would be alright. The day after the accident they went to the hospital. They didn’t give him stitches, because it was already too late. Well, of course, it’s too late if the ambulance doesn’t want to come. The doctors did their thing. I think my brother had to come back for checkups. But the most important thing was that he was ok. Now he has a scar that is in the shape of the moon on the side of his head. 

Actually, there was a third time my family needed an ambulance. It was for me actually. I always forget about myself. I was 16 years old. It is a pretty long story. So basically I was sick. I have never been that sick ever. It was even worse than when I had Covid. I fainted for the first time ever at home. Once again, the ambulance didn’t want to come. They told me to go to the General Practitioner. We took a cab because I was too weak for public transport. So I went and fainted there again. The doctor told my mom to take me to ER immediately. My mom begged for an ambulance but he said that they were not allowed to do that. I was so weak, I didn’t have the energy to explain that I had no strength to walk and sit (that’s why I kept fainting). They called us a cab and we went to the hospital. After waiting and waiting I finally had a bed and I could finally let my body rest. It’s so painful to say this, but I thought that I had a brain tumor and that I was dying.

So I was laying on the bed and I looked at my mom and my heart broke into pieces. I was so sick that I didn’t realize how much it was affecting my mom. She had bags under her eyes. I felt so guilty. I couldn’t believe I put her through this. I told myself that I couldn’t die. I couldn’t leave her. I was her only daughter. She already has been through enough. I can’t explain the amount of guilt I felt.

After doing the different tests, the doctors concluded that my health wasn’t in danger. I probably had a certain virus. All I had to do was take painkillers for my headache and lay in bed for a week so that I  wouldn’t faint anymore. I didn’t ask the doctor any questions, because I was so happy that I didn’t have a brain tumor and I wasn’t dying. My mom wasn’t going to lose a child. Don’t get me wrong I was still having a hard time. After that week of laying in bed, I had to get used to walking, because my legs got so weak after I fainted the first time. Laying in bed for a week made it even worse. So I really had to get used to walking again. It was scary because I couldn’t trust my legs for a while. It felt like I was balancing on sticks. But thank God, I gained all my strength back and I made a full recovery. I told myself that I would never ever put my mom through this ever again.

When I was sick, my mom had no adult by her side. She only had a sick husband. While I was at the hospital my older brother was calling my mom to ask if everything was ok. I am sure that my mom could use support from an adult.  She was there, all by herself with me in the emergency room. Not fully understanding what the doctors were saying. I had to translate everything for her. Luckily by then, I had the strength to speak again. I’m sure that she was nervous when the doctors were talking to me because they were saying everything with a serious face.

Now that we are adults I notice that my mom is being more honest about her feelings with us. For example, when my dad got Covid she told me that she didn’t know if my dad would make a quick recovery since he is already a sick person. Thank God he recovered so quickly and he barely had any symptoms. He even recovered faster than I did.

When my father’s caretaker called to tell us the news. My mom gave the phone to my brother. But when we all move out, my mom won’t have anybody to pass the phone to. And that idea scares me so much.

I just want to be forever by my parent’s side in case of emergency, but I know that’s not possible. All I can do is pray and ask God to protect them.

I didn’t think that this post would be so long. I actually have a lot more to say. So, there will be a part 2.

That’s it for today. Thank you for your precious time and until next time!


Color and Coins

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