My mother’s spirit was rich. She was loving, caring, encouraging, protective and nurturing. Yet she was not a hugger. However, she was sarcastic, funny and sometimes failed to filter her thoughts before speaking those things out loud. I love her! As we think about the celebration of mothers that happens constantly but most loudly on Mother’s Day, I wanted to share with you my experience. I lost my mother completely unexpectedly in 2011. I remember receiving a call from my niece that granny (my mother, her grandmother) was not acting like herself. She handed her the phone and indeed she seemed a bit disoriented. I left work and headed straight to her. See, my mom had congestive heart failure but managed to stay ahead of it with the care of her doctors, proper medication, and making other life alterations. But in October of 2011 she went to the hospital for shortness of breath and signs of confusion to never return home again. Going into the hospital that day I never thought she wasn’t coming home. I never thought she would take her last breath in an unfamiliar place. I never thought that I would not talk, touch, see, laugh or fuss at her again. I never thought any of that. For me, losing my mother knocked the wind out of my existence.
I could not hide from the pain. Everywhere I went the pain was there. Maybe because I watched her leave this earth for several weeks and I didn’t think she was ready to go. Maybe because I had hope that things would get better despite that every day I went to that hospital I saw less and less of my mother. Physically she was there but mentally things were drifting further away from the woman I had known. Some days there was hope, other days I struggled to find the hope. So when she passed, my world shifted. No, it actually shattered. I did not know how I could live losing someone like her. I laid in bed, slept in spurts, ate if I was fed and was angry - real fucking angry. I questioned God. Why? Why her? Why like this? Why did she need to suffer? Why did we need to watch her suffer? Why did you give us hope? And then take it away. Take her away?
As I tried to figure out why, I heard some things.
1. You are blessed. I didn’t want to hear that shit. I had the right to be mad, hurt, and to grieve. I stayed in those feelings; I did not move. It was easy to stay there, to be mad and hopeless. But as I stayed there the awareness of my blessings would not leave me alone. I had my mother in my life for twenty-eight years. I had a catalogue of memories that could never be erased. There are so many people who do not have a loving experience with their mother but I did.
2. She gave me what I needed. I am who I am because of her. I love laughter because of her. I am sarcastic and witty because of her. I love my family because of her. I can cook a bomb baked chicken because of her. She gave me so much and continues to give to me.
3. Her spirit lives on. We always hear this but I chose to live it. My sisters and I always get together to celebrate her in May. It is her birth month and Mother’s Day. Her spirit will not die because it is ingrained in all of us. In every person she ever mattered to and loved.
I decided I did not want to live in that agony forever so I focused my energy on the positive. When she died I used to consume myself with the things I would not be able to experience with her. She wouldn’t see me get married, become pregnant, or bring my children into the world. But she did... She saw all of that and I am pretty sure she gets a hearty laugh at me being a mom. She is always here! I have never seen the number 522 so much in my life! Her birthday was May 22nd. I see that number constantly; I take it as a sign that she is right by my side. I still selfishly cry for my loss but I do not allow my sadness to be all that exists. I am a mother now and my children need all of me. She would want that. If you lost your mom you have gained an angel because a mother’s love never ends.