I never had intentions to write, I never saw myself writng nor did i see myself ever pursuing anything even close. That’s not to say I was not encouraged by teachers, mentors and friends.
I actually felt blah about the whole thing, and remarkably, I landed my first job at CBS, the epicenter of journalism.
They didn’t know I could write, and I didn’t let on that I could, to me it was best to be left alone where it belonged. Over the years, I found myself jotting notes, usually feelings i needed to get out and sometimes for children, I would create stories during holidays.
And who knows how this will go, I like it, I feel relaxed and easy with it, I don’t feel strained, it just comes out, so I will do the best I can and try not to compare myself to others. I am not a technical writer, I write about life, and social injustices, which suits me because I always felt a kinship towards all of mankind. I grew up one of 12 kids, and life was hard. There was never enough money, geez, there wasn’t Christmas, things others take for granted but I survived. I had a crowning jewel, and that was my Mother. Yup, she was enough, and boy did I adore her. She was my gold, and anyone who knew me would know one thing about me, if I couldn’t be found I was with her.
We had great times, we went out on Friday nights for pizza and ice cream. Coming from a big family with 7 sisters, well there was alot of jealousy, everyone knew she favored me. I made her laugh, and I suppose she sensed the same things in me she did within herself, which was i was never about the money. My sisters were, and I love them, and don’t fault them for it, they grew up poor, and wanted more out of life. I was different and in a sense even that frustrated them, but not my mother. She had a sense of knowing that I was just as capable of marrying into wealth as all of my sisters and I wasn’t opposed to it at all, I just fell in love with a baker.
Back to the jealousy, as we began to marry and have children it got worse, it pains me to say this but my mother adored my children in the same way she loved me. She had an extremely strong bond with my oldest son and that’s just the way it was. My sisters were very verbal to her about it, citing favoritism towards me and it broke my heart for her. You see, those are things you cannot help or hide, let’s face it this is life, and you sometimes just gravitate more towards who you feel most comfortable with, and that was me.
I never imagined life without my mom, i could honestly say there was never a time I entertained any thought that one day she would not be with me, and if there was one thing i knew for sure, she would never leave without saying goodbye. This, you see, was my ace in the whole. I once heard it said that a person won’t leave the earth unless their loved ones let them go, and as I think back now, it was not malicious, but she wasn’t going anywhere as far as I was there to stop it. I know it sounds selfish, but I’m honest, and that’s the way i felt.
It was a hot day in July when the phone rang, it was my sister. She told me my mother had to have gall bladder surgery and she was just fine, my kids were really little so I was pretty preoccupied and didn’t give it much though. I decided that Friday night to go see how she was doing, and when I got to the light outside the hospital, I had a moment which paralyzed me in my very seat. I knew for some reason, despite all that was told to me, that my mother wasn’t coming home. I will never understand that, or why I felt that way, but it was strong. I walked onto the fifth floor where she was and when I seen her, I knew it was bad, we all did. She had taken a turn for the worse.
It doesn’t matter that she had an operation which we were told was successful, and lifted our spirits, what matters in the end was that the operation could not have saved her. It was too late.
I went home for the night and stared into space, and thought about my ace card, she would have to stay, i would make her. I felt like half of me was dying, in the most literal sense. But I had that card, and she couldn’t leave, because if there was one thing i was sure of was that my mother would never leave me without saying goodbye, not ever.
The next morning when I awoke, I felt completely rested, it was almost strange how rested i felt despite what was transpiring. My children were playing when it happened, I became tired, very tired. I asked my children to snuggle up to me and before i knew it the three of us were fast asleep. It reminded me of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy ran through the poppi field. I was wakened by the phone ringing and i grabbed it fast, i was confused and looked at the clock. It was 1:10 p.m. and right then I knew this was it, this was the phone call of all phone calls, the one phone call I never dreamed of getting, it was my sister who was screaming.
I simply told her calmly i would meet her at the hospital, and I proceeded to pack a bag for my children and I calmly walked to the neighbors and asked if she could babysit, there was a family emergency. I calmly got in my car, and I calmly drove the speed limit all the way to the hospital.
I did not run out of the car after arriving at the hospital, I walked again, calmly towards the lobby. Hmm, the lobby was filled with policemen, and when I say I did not make the connection at all, I mean that. All my brothers and father were in law enforcement. They wouldn’t let me upstairs, i had to be cleared by the chief of police who knew me well. I walked to the elevator and got on and then pressed the button for the 5th floor.
As the elevator door opened I got out and right then, the walls began to close in on me. I remember i was wearing capri pants, a pink button down and wedged black flips, I picked up pace until I began to run. I remember thinkng I must be crazy running towards something like this and it occurred to me I could turn around and I didn’t ever have to know. I could still hear the sound of my wedges as I ran. As I turned the corner, through doors with windows, I could see the majority of my family, they saw me, but nobody was coming towards me. This was bad, but there was still time i thought because now i was there. I opened the door and said ‘ok, i’m here, let’s go see her’, and was met with silence. My sister looked at me and said it, she said it, the words I knew I could never handle hearing, the words that could collapse my world like a deck of cards, Mommy’s gone.
I won’t go further into my reaction, it is too personal, all I do know is when I calmed down and as we were all leaving, they were going to my sisters house, i just left. I walked to my car and went on my own, I drove to my Mother’s house and went to her room. I picked up her fresh clean nightgown’s and held them to my nose and sobbed. I heard the phone ringing and ringing and I just stayed in that position for hours until dark and finally fell asleep. I woke up to my husband rubbing my hair, but I felt nothing, the man I loved all of my life could not protect me from this, this was very specific to me.
She was gone, and she left without saying goodbye. How could she, how after all we had been through as Mother and daughter, we were best friends, she owed me that. I was despondent.
It was the hardest year of my life without her, learning to live without her, learning to accept that it was forever in this life i wouldn’t see her again, I wore sunglasses constantly because i simply could not stop the tears. I never knew death would be so physically painful. I was lost and filled with the most sorrowful feeling I ever want to know, God willing.
Ya know, I know alot of people talk about closure, and I guess that’s good, but for me it’s not the same, I never got over her, there never was a day when I said to myself, I have closure now. However, I will say this, after she died, my favorite time of the day was the first three seconds when I didn’t remember anything at all and it would come in a wave, she was gone. Each Friday night I forced myself to do something different, to change course, I tried all I could to forget her. It got to the point that I conceded if I were to go on at all, I would have to pretend I never knew her. The pain was that great for me, others i hear heal faster, i didn’t, it took a full year for me to feel that I could at least do it a day at a time.
We all have Mothers, or Fathers or Caregivers whom we love, some people get lucky and keep them for a long time. I hadn’t such luck, I lost her young and lost her when I needed her the most.
Again, no closure, but solace. I now feel her, and talk to her, and I know she is there, and I’ll never understand that sense or part of me that just knows. She was the best I ever did, and the love i had for her was so deep it scared me half to death thinking my sons would ever love me that much.
But this is life, and we lose, I just didn’t know it because so much happened with 12 kids we always beat the wheel. We were lucky that way, and I thank God for that. I never told this story, I guess it is the secret of my heart, one in which I suppose is all i have left of her. But logically I know this isn’t true, she would want me to tell it, or to express it somehow and now I am.
She was my Mother, my Confidence