I was kind of lost the last time we spoke. Somehow our positions had gotten reversed.
I’m not really sure when or how that happened.
You were always the strong one. You who never forgot a single birthday or any other special occasion for that matter, Christmas, Easter, even Halloween, believe it or not (laughing). And to be honest, I didn’t always understand why. Because, I wasn’t even your kid, was I?
I’m sorry it took me so long to understand how much you loved me or why. I really didn’t get it. I guess my scars were a lot thicker than I thought and much deeper than I wanted them to be. No one else had loved me the way you did. No other mom came to my rescue. Even though I spent many years waiting for one to come riding in off the sunset.
I’m just sad that you couldn’t find me earlier. But I have you now right, that’s all that matters.
You must think I’m silly. Talking to you so much. Saying goodnight to a picture frame. If Dad is sitting next to you, he’s probably just shaking his head saying, “that’s our little girl.”
Come on now, you have to see the irony in all of this. I talk to you more now than when you were alive. What’s up with that? We’re silly humans just being human I guess.
I understand that some people struggle with the passing of a loved one but I do find solace and comfort in honoring your life, by keeping you here with me – in as many ways as I can. Don’t get me wrong, It still hurts, very much, but in a different way. And I’m learning to be okay with that.
That day I walked into the Home to see you, was the day my heart broke in two. I cry each time I go there in my head. It makes my heart hurt so much. No more would I walk into the house on Marine Drive. Dad would have my ham in the oven, already half cooked and you would be fussing all about. Lord help us if Dad or I left something out of place. You walking around like a sentinel making sure we didn’t.
Do you remember that one time I purposely put a candy wrapper in the ashtray in the living room? My brother was there that day. I told him you would catch it within seconds (laughing). And sure enough, in you came, walking through the house – and before you even had your coat off – there you were scooping the candy wrapper out of the dish. You laughed when I told you.
But that day in the Home was different, wasn’t it. I started crying as soon as I saw you, then your niece starting crying, then you began to cry and then the other lady in the room started crying. I know they were crying because you and I were smiling ear to ear while bawling like babies. But it was beautiful wasn’t it mom. They were tears of joy and love and……
That was also the day I learned why your arm was hurting you so much. It wasn’t the diabetes was it? Cancer had spread to your bones. It was in your arm, your hip and even your shoulder. Cancer that we didn’t even know about. It was supposed to be Diabetes remember? It seemed to happen overnight. Just mere months to announce a life must now come to an end. That seems so cruel, don’t you think? But then again we all live with not knowing when, don’t we. Why is it we seem to believe that death only comes to those who appear ill or frail? None of us are immune, are we Mom? The one thing none of us can escape.
I could see that it was causing you so much pain, so much unnecessary pain. We come into this world screaming and sometimes it seems we must also leave screaming – that is totally whack. Some cosmic bad joke. The universe getting its wires crossed.
You lay propped up in bed – looking so frail. A beautiful tiny doll in her pink cotton PJ’s with soft white lace trim. You looked so fragile, so small. How did you get so small?
I sat on the bed facing you. I was very careful not to sit on you, because you know I can be a total klutz sometimes. I just wanted to scoop you up and squeeze you so tight, but I knew I couldn’t. It would cause you too much pain. So I sat next to you, gently holding your hand, trying not to break in two, trying my hardest to be a mom for you. You looked up at me with the saddest most vulnerable expression I have ever seen and asked me, “Judy, am I going to die?”
Without any hesitation I responded, “no mom you’re not, I promise.”
Maybe you have gone on to a different place or time – who knows Mom, sometimes I can’t make any sense out of it all. Life, death – they confuse me. But as you can see – to me, you didn’t die.
I will continue to celebrate loving you and especially being loved by you each and every day.
Because a promise is a promise.
© 2017 Judith Mallard