My mother married three times with a total of 7 children. I was the last. She was sent packing from each of her marriages because she stole on several occasions. She was a kleptomaniac.
Each time she was caught stealing, she would be beaten thoroughly, sometimes stripped naked and humiliated. Growing up with such a mother was so horrible. We were always ashamed of her.
I was dating a young man from a neighbouring village. We grew to love each other to the point where he proposed marriage to me. One evening, he sent me a text calling off the relationship. His people had advised him not to marry the daughter of a thief; according to them, stealing was hereditary. This hurt me more than words could express.
While I was mourning my ruined relationship that night, I received a call from my elder brother. He informed me that my mother had been caught stealing. She had been beaten to a pulp, as usual, and someone had called to tell him that she had been left for dead by the road.
My brother instructed me to bring her home and call the nurse who usually treated her. I was still very bitter about how her disorder had ruined my marriage chances, so I told him vehemently that I was no longer going to get involved with her.
After much pleading from him, I went to bring her home, and sent for the nurse. This time around, her injuries were very severe. After administrating first aid, the nurse referred us to a clinic in my village.
My mother passed on a few days later from internal bleeding.
The stigma is pure hell, and we live with it till date. I get upset each time I see people whispering around me or just smiling unnecessarily. I always have this feeling that their behaviour has something to do with my mother. My elder sister is currently suicidal. My siblings and I are still hurting and living in pain because of this.