May 8, 2016
There are seasons when your absence from my life seem to pain me more than others. And this has been one of those seasons.
I’m living in a world where hate and fear dominate and people seem to have lost their minds; my kids included, at times. 🙂 Where everything appears so different and strange while at the same time seeming so normal. Where people still live lives of pretense and conformity, while verbally professing to one another “be unapologetically you.”
Oh, how I’ve needed your guidance, your strength, your support, and your unconditional love.
I’ve been at a crossroads for quite some time now and I can only imagine what it would be like to sit at the table with you and feast on your wisdom.
Mama you were my rock, my role model, my provider, my safe place – my everything. It’s been 33 years since I saw you alive. And it pains me to say, I realized last year, I cannot remember the sound of your voice. I’ve searched for a tape, a video, something where I could just hear your voice again.
Thankfully, I have pictures and wonderful memories. But with that, also comes the memories of your final days on earth. And last week, while riding home from a Listen to Your Mother storytelling event, those memories came crashing down on me.
Out of nowhere it seems as if I’d never grieved your loss or was it that I hadn’t forgiven myself. Yes, that was it. I’d never forgiven myself.
I’m so sorry I did not say a word to you while you lay lifeless in a coma. When I stepped in your hospital room, I was at a lost. I had no frame of reference, as a 15 year old girl, how I should respond.
I did not see you, my mama, on that hospital bed. I was confused. All I saw was the blankness of your glazed covered eyes, one barely open.
As if I was having an out of body experience, I could hear the nurses and my Aunt Carolyn say it was possible you could still hear us. “Talk to her”, they said. But I said nothing. I did nothing.
Of course now, I wish I’d grabbed your hand, caressed your arm, whispered in your ear, ANYTHING other than stare and run out, never to return.
Thirteen days later your were gone. And I was utterly alone. Sure, there were family members, well meaning high school friends and my dad. A dad that I’d spent weekends with who would now assume his full-time role. But you, my dear mother, you were gone. And so was I.
In an instant, my world changed in 1983. My life would never be the same. I was a motherless child.
For a time, I was foolishly angry with God and with you. As if you had any say in being full of life one moment, lovingly serving others, caring for me and yourself, and suddenly sliding out of a chair the next, never to speak again.
As if you chose to have a brain aneurysm invade your body and strip you away from a life you’d finally gained the freedom to enjoy.
Again, I say I’m sorry.
On this mother’s day, some 33 years later, I realize I have to forgive my 15 year old self. And I know, if you could actually hear what was going on that day in the hospital, you held nothing against me either. You knew I was still essentially a kid.
Thank you momma for showing me a life of resilience and faith. Despite the challenges life threw your way, you embraced the journey with dignity and grace. I can only hope I’ve lived my life, thus far, in a way that reflects your legacy.
I cherish our time together. I am forever grateful for at least getting 15 years to do life with you.
Still your daughter,