Candy dish on the counter, music playing and the house is sparkling clean. She’s dressed with nowhere to go. Every Mother’s Day my Mom would say she didn’t want anything and didn’t want to go anywhere. But all year she didn’t know that I kept a running tab of things she saw on TV, things she saw in a store or on a sales flyer in her mailbox that she claimed she wanted, had to have or couldn’t live without. So gift giving was super easy. She always wanted something but didn’t need anything. This is so familiar lol.
Every Mother’s Day was at home. Never in a restaurant. Never a big party. Just us at home with music, some food, a few gifts and quality time. The food caused us to nap so it was truly an entire day spent with her.
So relaxed and chilled, I wonder if my Mother ever questioned how good of a Mother she thought she was. I wonder if she measured how good of a Mother she was based on what we did for her or what we gifted her. There was never a year she didn’t get something. Even as a struggling young adult, if I couldn’t buy her something, I made her something. And I never left out my Brother. The gift was always from us if he didn’t personally get her anything.
This morning I watched the video of my last Mother’s Day with her. May 13, 2018 we were all with her at home. I said “all” as if our family is huge. My brother, his girlfriend (at the time), my kids and I filled the living room of my Mom’s apartment. She cooked that morning and put her food up. She knew I always came with food. But she always sent me and the kids home with food too so she would cook. Seafood was her favorite. So I always made sure to get it from one of her favorite restaurants hot and fresh. She would spend the day playing with the kids, talking to my brother and I about what was going on and drank her beer. She was the coolest Mother. Never asking for a lot of anything but some of your time. And I tried to give her all I had.
That’s what makes me most sad about Mothers Day. Not being able to spend that time with her all day to do absolutely nothing but just exist in the same space with her. To see her smile and laugh with the kids. They brought out the absolute best in her. And then to watch her nap peacefully knowing she was safe, well taken care of and loved.
Mothers carry the world on their shoulders, life in their womb and the weight of the world as it affects their family on their backs. One day is not nearly enough to celebrate and acknowledge all that Mothers do on a daily basis or in a lifetime. And when you lose your Mother this day gains a whole new meaning.
I hope outside of gifts, cookouts and gatherings that each Mother FEELS loved, appreciated and cared for today. And for those who don’t have the privilege of spending today with their Mothers, I hope you are surrounded by love and people who understand.
Two years have gone by where I can’t aggravate you by singing and dancing, cook you food and have you rate and critique it, go shopping and meet random people, call and complain about your son, or sit on the phone with you just because I feel alone. You were indeed my person to experience life with.
As I navigate through some women’s health issues I’m even more emotional because I don’t have you here to discuss this part of life. I can’t beg you to come to my appointments with me or call you about my symptoms. Which would lead you to share every home remedy you can remember. When the kids are just being kids but my hormones won’t let me be patient, I can’t call and vent hoping you’ll let them hang with Nana for a weekend. When I can’t sleep, I’m bored, sad or lonely, I can’t call you and just sit on the phone talking about everything until I fall asleep. I don’t get to hear you laugh and joke with the kids and I don’t get to watch you get your elderly butt in the floor to play with them lol. I don’t get to watch scary movies with you in broad daylight. I don’t get to dream with you out loud and make plans for the future.
These last two years, I’ve struggled. A LOT. I’ve burrowed myself inside the house, I’ve not eaten, showered or gotten out of bed at times. I’ve been an antisocial hermit. But this year is a little different. My parallel sibling is home and we are able to get through the day together. I’d love to say the tears are less but they aren’t. Thoughts of you have not faded and you’re still the topic of many conversations.
You told us this…you said all the time that we’d miss you when you were gone. And Mommie I do!!! I miss you terribly. I truly thought I was your Genie in a Bottle, your Guardian Angel, your Shield/Protector, your Nurse, your Princess of Peace. But now I see you were all those things to me. It was an honor being your daughter. Even though you’re physically not here, the pressure to succeed still remains in me.
So save us a seat at the table next to you in the next lifetime…there’s so much we have to talk about and so many hugs I want to give you. Always missing you. See you again one day 💜💜💜
It’s 5pm. And I’m excited. I’m not sure why, this guy never does what he says he is going to do. But I want nothing more than to be around him. This guy is my Father. I’m 9 years old. I’ve testified in court and now my Mom is sitting across from me crying because I am being made by a court order, to go stay with my Father, his wife and children. In our house, it’s just me and my Mother. She feels like her everything is being taken away from her. She silently sobs and picks at her jeans.
I stare out the front door of our house watching the tree limbs sway back and forth when the wind blows. I begin to wonder why is my Mother so sad? Why is she crying? He is my Father. I have no idea what my Mother goes through behind closed doors. I’m just a kid. And I just want my Father…I want him to want me.
I move from the chair to the floor in front of the stereo. The sun is going down and I ask my Mom if I can play some music while I wait. She motions for me to go ahead. I’m playing music for her, not for me. I can physically feel how sad she is. My chest feels heavy and I want to cry every time I look at her. She is so sad. As bad as I want to go with my Father, I do not want to leave my Mother like this.
I find Kenny G’s Breathless cd in the organized shelf of cd’s. I pop it in and I forward to track 9, “Even If My Heart Would Break”. She and I have listened to this song on her good days. She would grab my hand and dance with me around the living room. After it starts to play, I walk to her and I extend my hand. I begin to sing terribly “I’ve been around this world, I’ve been a lot of places…” At this point, I’ve forgotten about my Father. I’m more worried about my Mother and right now I want nothing more than for her to smile. Just so she can have a moment where she isn’t crying. If she feels how I am feeling, then I know she is truly hurting even if I don’t understand why.
She looks up at me and place her arms on the arms of the chair. With her head tilted slightly she asks, “child where have you been? Talking about you been around the world“…she chuckles, grabs my hand and rises from the chair to dance with me. We sing and we dance and we fall in the floor. After our dance, we cook and I fell asleep on her bed looking at clothes in her Spiegel catalog. We were ordering clothes to take pictures for Labor Day. She would pick my outfit and I’d pick hers. (Real Best Friend Shit)
My Father never came. This was nothing new. He always sold me the most elaborate dreams to never cash in on them. And when he saw me, I’d get the brush off and he’d tell me another lie or make another empty promise.
It’s been 5 months and this morning, I dreamt that exact day all over again. And I’m not really sure why. What I do know is that I held my Mother a little longer and I danced with her like I’d never dance with her again, because it felt so real.
I don’t share a lot about me or my childhood with anyone. And there is so much that I have buried. In therapy yesterday I was told that in order to heal and move to a more positive place in life, I have to address these things. They happened. I can’t change it but I can’t heal myself holding on to anger, regret, and resentment. So today, I accept the fact that this healing is one that will never end. The pain won’t ever go away and time won’t heal anything. I will always cry. The 26th will always be a sad day. My birthday will never be the same. A lot changed. And I have to change too…
Today I’m accepting that I have to let things from my past go, really make peace with them and release it. I accept that I have to let someone in or I’m going to drown myself in regret and sadness.
“Be YOU. And be good at it. Because there is not another YOU in this world.”
I’m the weird person who has a song associated to every major or memorable life event. Happy or sad occasion, I have a song that will take me right back to that specific day and time as if time hasn’t lapsed.
Currently it’s Good Days by SZA. Until this particular day, I had never truly listened to this song…I had just done one of the last things I ever wanted to do in life alone. Physically alone, because Brother was on the phone.
I was making my Mother’s final arrangements while she was still alive…
The hospice nurse thought that it would be easier to handle before rather than during this transition. I cannot tell you how much I tried to prepare myself for this. I couldn’t. My heart raced. I was fucking scared. I screamed. I was fucking angry. I threw shit, I banged shit and I broke shit. I just wanted to end the entire world. I didn’t give a fuck about anything or anyone at this point. I have never been here and I was completely ALONE. I am nearing the point where I have to tell my Mother, Goodbye. Goodbye. The word we did not say. See You later was our term. Goodbye was FOREVER. This felt like someone stabbing me in my chest and turning the knife counterclockwise. Over and over again, while I just sat and endured the pain. Digging deeper and deeper past my physical body and deep into my soul. My muthafuckin SOUL was aching!!! Do you understand what kind of pain that is???
After I sit in the car and give myself multiple pep talks, I walk inside. I’ve called because I don’t want to do too much talking. I’m 100% sure I’m going to fucking cry. I sit, shake and fiddle endlessly inside the funeral home. I still cannot make sense of me choosing a casket and vault for my Mother who is very much alive. I have not made peace with her transitioning soon. I don’t want this to be true. This woman…was not just my Mother…she was the truest of my true friends. She was my everything. I sat quietly with my Brother on FaceTime. I am sure to refer to her in the present because she is very much alive.
This is just planning. “Girl you are just planning, this does not mean anything.Get it together!”, I tell myself over and over again. I’ve been here before. But this time is different. THIS IS MY MOTHER!
I remember countless random conversations that we had about end of life. Things she said she wanted and things she absolutely did not want. Her biggest hell no was being put on display. We shared the same sentiment in this regard. I am just me. She was just she. She didn’t think she was pretty and neither do me. (That was our rhyme…❤️) We we just we. No label. In competition with no one. But one thing was for certain. We did not want people looking/staring at us. It’s funny because as I sat there at the table with the Funeral Director, I laughed. My Mom was truly a nut. Always being silly. (I’m sure that’s where I got it from) If someone stared at her a moment too long, she’d stick out her tongue. Smh. A grown woman. She was she, as I said. There was no one else like her and she didn’t give a shit. I loved that about her. She didn’t care what anybody thought. Her life was her own and she made of it what she wanted. No one else mattered. Except me and Tonka Truck Head lol. That was one thing that she always taught me. She’d say, “You are magical girl. There’s no one like you. Never let anyone dull your sparkle. And you better not come down off your thrown for no woman or man. I create nothing but greatness!” Once I got older I’d laugh at her speech. I thought it was funny…magical…ok Mom… (P.S. I’m a mermaid 🙄)
“No cars, no church. Private graveside service. I’ve already purchased the plot. Short, simple and sweet. No wake/viewing. No newspaper announcement. Immediate family viewing only after My Brother & I’s approval. I will write the obituary and complete the program. I’d like to assist with the design of the programs.”..I word vomited it all while tapping my foot and staring at the clock on the wall. All I could think was I have to wrap this up and get back to Best Friend. She is probably wondering what is taking me so long. She hated when I said I’d be right back and it was hours later. Say what you mean and mean what you say…that was her motto. And she stuck by it and tried to hold everyone else to it too.
I asked Brother if I covered it all, he agreed and I hurry the hell out of there. When I step outside and the sun hit me, I dropped my mask and take the deepest breath I could. My chest feels like ten elephants are sitting on top of me. I get in the car, hang up with Brother and head back to Best Friend. I get this strong feeling that she need me. She swears we were telepathic. I always played along. But foreal though…Mom I’m coming was what I was subconciously thinking just in case this shit was true. At this point, I believe in genies, fairies, vampires, zombies, heaven & hell, angels, Iron Man, WonderWoman, shit Donkey Kong. I reverted to an entire child again wanting nothing more than my Mother. If you don’t know how that feels, well I can’t make you. Believe me I don’t ever want to be there again.
I run not one but two red lights. I don’t even care. Mail me a ticket. I gotta get across town. I get a text from my aunt. Come on back now. I’m on the way Auntie…as fast as I can promise me. I reach the light not even a half a mile from her…
I sit and wait for it to turn green….I hear SZA and I sit and stare beyond what’s in front of me to listen,
Good day in my mind, safe to take a step out
Get some air now, let your edge out
Too soon, I spoke, you be heavy in my mind
Can you get the heck out?
I need rest now…
Good Days by SZA
The song is interrupted when my phone rings…I look down and it’s the hospice nurse. My body instantly turns into an ice block, my heart seems to stop and I feel like every piece of hair I have on me is standing straight up. She asks me if anyone had called me. I hesitate to reply. I am approaching the stop sign to turn into the facility parking lot. I’ve never really been scared like this in my life. I didn’t want to hear anything she had to say other than my Mother was speaking or something positive. She says, I’m sorry Hun, your Mother passed away about 10 minutes ago…..she continues to talk and I hear absolute. nothing.
I can’t tell you what happened. I just remember being in the hallway sliding down the wall to avoid hitting the floor. The nurse walks me to her side because I’m adamant that I see her. I enter her room and I’m met with my Mother, who looks like she’s sleeping.
The little girl inside me is kicking, screaming and yelling. Her Mother is gone. On the exterior, all I can do is silently cry and hold her hand….my Best Friend is gone. What in the entire fuck!!!
What part of the game of Life is this???
My Mother was a huge lover of all music. It is why I use music to get through so much in life. It why it is always playing around me. It’s not surprising that of all songs to play, this one was playing when I was told she had transitioned. Right down to the words…she was heavy on my mind and heart before I got the call. And just the mere title of the song confirms for me that she was ok…and that she didn’t want me to be sad. It was a Good Day. She was no longer suffering, no longer depending on someone else to care for her when we know that she hated it.
So, this song lyrics loop through my head several times a day right now. It triggers so much for me. Sometimes I hear it and I can smile, knowing that we had some good damn days. And other times I can hear it and cry, knowing that this was the song that I was listening to when I was told that she’d left me.
Still not easier…in fact, it’s harder than last month.
I temporarily lost access to my best friend. The love of my life. The other half of my soul.
I reflect on how I wish you were able to meet him. He’s really a great guy. I can only imagine the conversations that you two would have had. Oh my goodness. You’d talk for hours. He’s the one that would have a beer with you. I even think, he would of been the one that could sweet talk you out of the house on a trip with us.
There is still so much I want to pick up the phone and talk to you about. My feelings, what’s going on, and get your advice, hear you sing or make a joke about anything and everything.
Your picture scrolled across my TV when it went to sleep yesterday. I looked at it and smiled. It was Brother’s going away party. You were standing next to him with his friends. I remember that day like it was yesterday. You were tired that day and you didn’t feel well but you made your way to his party. The party that I orchestrated. You were ready to go before it got dark so that you were at home. It was super hot outside and for a moment I had to make you come inside. You were sweating profusely and just didn’t want to be around “family”. Oh I understand now. Hell I don’t want to be around them now myself.
I sometimes find myself mad that I didn’t understand things that you told me growing up. And then I think maybe back then those weren’t things that I needed to understand. But now I have so many questions. I can hear you now. “Just shut up talking and listen! You ask so many damn questions. Inquisitive Ivy…” LOL. I loved it. You may have been one of few people who walked this earth who can make me hush.
There are days where I really forget that you are truly gone. And when I remember it hurts like it’s Day One all over again. I restart the stages of grief at least a few times a week. But it is ok. My new grief counselor says it’s normal. You never get over it. You learn to live with it…now that sounds better than time heals all wounds.
It’s been exactly three months to the day since my Mom left me on this Earth. It’s been very difficult to navigate. Often times I don’t feel there isn’t anyone that I can talk to who can truly relate.
I isolate myself quite a bit. I enjoy being home in my place of peace where I feel most protected. I’m cautious of who I let in because everyone doesn’t emit good positive energy.
Some days I can spend the entire day crying. Crying because I heard one of her favorite songs. Crying because I have no one to talk to, when my Mom was always a phone call away. Crying because I just genuinely miss her. It still doesn’t feel real. I still forget some days and call the facility to check on her. And some days I’m perfectly fine.
It’s hard no doubt. And this isn’t something I’d wish even on my worse enemy.
I try to spend a little more time outside these days in the sun because it makes me feel happy. When I begin to cry and I can’t stop, I go outside in my front yard, barefoot and I just stand or sit in the grass. Surely my neighbors think I’m nuts but I don’t care. Taking care of my mental is of upmost importance. And I don’t worry how others view me. (Lesson #999 From My Mom:
What they eat don’t make you shit Darling! Fuck how they feel about you!
In the three months she’s been gone a lot has been revealed to me. A lot has happened, some good and some bad. It forced me to put together my final arrangements for my own life. I spoke with my ex-husband to discuss how to handle our kids in my absence. Outside of him and my Brother, I don’t want anyone else having access to my children.
I learned that family and so called friends can be deceptive, conniving, deceitful, manipulative and controlling…but only if you allow them. I always thanked my Mom for how she raised me. And I still do every morning. I’m cut from a different cloth and that’s not to imply I’m better than anyone. It is to imply that I have values and morals that may not be like most. And one thing I don’t do is change how I treat people. I always operate out of a place of love. I always move cautiously to ensure I’m not harming anyone intentionally. I help those I can in ways that don’t interfere with taking care of me and mine. I listen, I give advice if I’m led to and overall I just try to be a good person. As abundantly blessed as I am, I am not stuck on how much or what I have in comparison to others. I’m content with being able to take care of me and my babies. I’m reserved and intuitive.
I now listen to my intuition more than I ever did. This was a rough month to endure but the lesson I learned is to be careful of who I let in my corner. Wolves dress in sheep’s clothing in all aspects of our life. And these wolves aren’t always strangers. I stay protected in all the ways (spiritually, physically and mentally) and stay in my peaceful bubble. I know I will have good and bad days but it’s always nice to look back on how far I’ve come. Time doesn’t heal our heart…only we do.