I’m not going to lie: these past few weeks have really sucked; worse still, my functional life (a phrase that I’ve coined in one of the new books I’m writing; be on the lookout for “Days of the Phoenix” by A.P. Miller) often adversely affects my preferred life as a writer. I have worked through a lot of the consternation, but a lot of the positivity that I rely on has been absent.
For those of you who aren’t aware: my mother passed away. I’m still holding out a lot of hope that I belong to the world’s most morbid family and that someone is going to pop out and tell me that it was all a joke. I hold on to the faint glimmer of that hope because my mother taught me to try to find a reason to smile through your grief. Mama taught me that if you can’t laugh at it, that it will crush you. I’m trying, Mom, but this one might be too heavy.
My father passed away when I was really young and so my early family dynamic was different. Not bad, just different. Mama made sure that one parent provided the love equal of two. Growing up without a father (ages five to twelve) didn’t leave me feeling broken or lacking, we were as whole of a family as anyone’s family was, it was just a little different.
I was twenty years old when Mama started getting really sick. It started with a goiter (an old timey word for thyroid enlargement) and that lead to the discovery of cancer. Mom would battle cancer off and on for the better part of twelve years, with accompanying afflictions to follow. During Mom’s funeral, there was a common sentiment between most everyone she knew: Mom cared more about others than she cared about the hurt and sickness that she was experiencing. Maybe she was trying to distract herself, but I really believe that it was because that’s the kind of woman that she was. Mama was so full of love and spirit that such trivial things like cancer and disease couldn’t touch her countenance. People often think of strength in terms of physical ability or prowess; Mama displayed an emotional strength and fortitude that was superhuman, and she never bragged about it.
I learned my faith from my Mom. She and I would often talk about what our places in the world were, what purpose we had on this Earth. I know, for certain, that Mama’s purpose was to bring people closer to God, to be a modern miracle that they could believe in. Mom would go in to the hospital, go for surgeries, and would be given grim diagnoses. One doctor even met us in the waiting room to tell us that they didn’t think Mama would make it through the night. When Mom was lucid enough to be told what had happened, she read that doctor the riot act. She said (and I think I’m pretty close to the exact quote) “You don’t know what God has planned for me.” That doctor couldn’t believe Mom’s recovery, most medical professionals didn’t. I understand that there have been a few medical journals written about Mom’s conditions and recoveries; most medicine men agreed: Mama had angels walking with her. That was Mom’s purpose, given by God: to be an example of his work and to believe in him. I know that Mom sure brought me closer to my faith.
Before Mom went into the hospital for the last time, her last words to me were “I’m sorry baby, I’m not feeling good, I’ll call you tomorrow.” She never called me back, she would go into the hospital and never return home.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. Mom’s last hospital stay was one filled with ups and downs, triumphs and defeat, and then the doctors had discovered that the cancer had come back. Mama’s last prevailing sentiment was that God was with her and that she was going home, I believe that. When someone has had breathing tubes coerced down their throats as often as Mama did, your larynx experiences degrees of trauma and you don’t have the command over your voice that you once did. Mama could talk just fine, and thanks to my sister and her phone, Mama told me that she loved me for the very last time. I will miss that woman’s voice until the day I die.
Call your mom, tell her you love her, you can never tell her enough. I know that Mama is in a wonderful place; I’m sad she’s gone but I’m not angry, I know she fulfilled her purpose.
If you all wouldn’t mind, please consider donating to the Financial Tribute that was established for my Mom. My step-father is trying to put his life back together and the burial costs are burying him as well. Personally, I’m sending every dime I make off of “Broken Promise Records” to help him, so buying a copy of the book comes with good karma too.
Thank you for letting me remember my Mom to you, she was a special lady and I miss her tremendously.