It was the beginning of January 1995; the start of a new year for most, but an ending for me. I was 2 months pregnant with my son. I had a loving husband, supportive family, and was living good. Everything seemed great. I worked night shift and was on my way home the morning my world took a drastic change.
Looking back, I remember how gloomy the weatherwas. The sky was dark and overcast as if it was sad. I was going to stop by my mother’s house, but for some reason (God), I got in the turning lane and just kept driving to my house. “I’ll call her later,” I thought. I was surprised when I got home and realized my husband had not left for work yet. The house was dark and there was such a silence that it was eerie. I went upstairs to see if he was up for work and had not fallen back to sleep instead. He was sitting on the side of our bed just staring at the floor. When I looked at his face I knew that something was wrong. He didn’t have to say anything. His silence said it all. My mother had died.
Ever since I was 8 years old I knew my dad would out live my mom. I don’t know why I felt this at such a young age , but somehow I knew. “Reeny, your mother is gone,” my husband finally said with tears in his eyes. Upon hearing this, Ifell into his arms, screamed, and went numb. I felt like my life was now over and that God was punishing me for something I did wrong. I was so angry, hurt, sad, sorry and mad. At that point I hated God and all I could do was look up and shout out, “Why God, why did you do this? She was a good person who loved everyone and always gave of herself.”
I was so bitter because it felt like life had shot me in the heart. Although I was angry, I did manage to thank God that I didn’t go over my mother’s house as I intended because I would’ve freaked out had I seen the coroner’s van parked in the driveway of the house. But I still had so many unanswered questions as to why her, why our family, why now, just why.
I’ve heard the old saying that “God has a plan for all of us”, well I was not liking this one. I figured he pushed the wrong button and sent the wrong people to do his heavenly work from above too soon. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. My Aunt Rita passed away two weeks before my mom did. After we buried Aunt Rita, my older cousin Jeannette was taken from us, too. These were three good women who had died in the same month. I felt like I was in a fight with Mike Tyson getting left and right hooked non-stop.
I am the baby girl of my family and it broke my heart that my mother would never see or hold her 10th grandchild, my unborn child. My mother had met all of my siblings’ children, but she’d never meet any of mine. She would never play with them, take them places, or give them gifts like she was able to do with my nieces and nephews. My children were not going to have that privilege and I was so mad. And to make matters worse my doctor had scheduled my first ultrasound in a few days. I had planned to take my mother with me so she could see a picture of her next grandchild developing into another baby for her to spoil.
I wasn’t sure what to say to anyone. I didn’t want to keep the doctor’s appointment. I didn’t want anyone or anything. I just wanted my mom back. The thought of losing relatives, especially my mother, all at once was just pure devastation in my eyes. Talk about having a bad week.
I felt like our family was cursed and I was just waiting to see who would be next in line. I wondered when this bad dream would be over so I could go back to a time when all things seemed right with the world.
When I met with my father and my siblings to make funeral arrangements, we all hugged each other and sobbed together. We each recalled what we said or did with our mom before she passed away. As I listened to one of my brother’s talk, I drifted off into my own thoughts, thinking how grateful I was to have taken my mother to see a stage play called “Jelly’s Last Jam” at The Merriam Theater the week before. We went to dinner afterwards.
We both enjoyed the play and she seemed very happy we spent the day together. The only odd thing that I later found strange was the conversation we had on our way to the show. She looked at me in the car and said, “I’m glad you’re taking me to see this now because once I’m gone we can’t do stuff like this.” And she just went on and on about death; the funeral plots she and our dad had purchased, what outfit to bury her in, that my sisters and I should wear white, and not to buy too many flowers for the wake. But most of all, she made me promise to remember all the things she had taught me over the years. I just figured my mother was acting this way because she just lost her sister, Rita, and was sad. Little did I know. She was giving me a hint as to what was to come. After telling me to take care of my family, she kissed me and told me that everything would be alright.
My thoughts of those last moments with my mom were interrupted when I realized we still had arrangements to make. although it still didn’t seem real to me.
Being pregnant and losing my mother was hard. My one sister went with me to my doctor’s appointment and she seemed more excited about the ultrasound than I was. Seeing that little life growing inside me and thinking of my mom brought me to tears. My sister cried, too. The doctor gave me a few pictures of the ultrasound and offered his condolences. My sister and I left the office sad, but , happy too. We even stopped to buy a frame for the picture for all to see. It made everyone smile toknow that the baby was doing well and see its first photo.
I did grow tired of people asking me if I wanted to attend the funeral. Some relatives thought I would faint because it would be too much for me in my condition. Some even thought I’d go into labor right there in the church. I couldn’t see myself not going to say my final goodbye so I reassured them I felt up to it. I knew I had to do this for myself and my mother.
So many emotions ran through my mind the morning of the funeral. I felt numb walking down the aisles of my church. I couldn’t look over at the casket at first because I still hoped she was not in there and that all this was a bad dream. I just sat in limbo as the reverend, family, and friends stood at the podium and expressed their thoughts and feelings about my great mother.
Just before they closed the coffin, I went over to the casket to lay eyes upon my mother one last time. She looked as though she was sleeping. I kissed her face. Her cheek was so cold and frozen. In that instant I knew she was gone. Her human shell was left for us to bury because she had taken her place in heaven. As my siblings closed the casket, I just stood to the side with my dad looking on and feeling helpless.
When we were about to leave the church someone handed one of my sisters a bag. It was filled with hand-made cards from the students at the school where our mom worked. It was so comforting to know that she touched so many lives while she was here.
On the way to the cemetery each of us took a stack of cards that the kindergarten thru sixth graders had written and read them. The pictures and words written from each child left us speechless. The cemetery is such a drab dull place. I wondered if my mother’s shell would be happy there.
I noticed relatives staring at me, and they kept asking me, “are you okay?” I started to scream, “I’m okay physically but mentally and otherwise No”!! I guess they probably thought I was going to faint or totally loose it, but I kept my cool and made it through the rest of the day.
The re pass as it is called was like a big gathering of family and friends we all had not seen in years. It was such a sad occasion, but it was good to see everyone. Each person had a story about my mom. Later that night when I got home I tried to take my mind off the day’s event and focus on other things. It did not help because when I thought of something, I’d say to myself, “Oh yeah, let me call mom and …” then it really hit me that I could no longer ask her about anything. It was so frustrating not being able to talk to her like I did on a daily basis. She was gone and I had to face this on my own.
In the following weeks I found myself getting jealous of friends who could still talk or visit with their moms. My first motherless Mother’s Day was weird, no reason to by a card or gift because I had no mom. I spoke to my sisters and a few friends wishing them a happy mother’s day, but I still felt sad. I received presents and cards as a mom-to-be, but it still was not the same. That was the longest day for me. Everytime I saw something or heard a song my mom used to like I would cry. My husband would just hug me and tell me everything was going to be okay. Time heals all wounds but this cut just seemed to get deeper and deeper. I kept busy preparing for the arrival of my baby and friends and family kept me busy also with different things to do and see.
Seven months after I lost my mother my son arrived. I could have had a pity party and relied heavily on my family to do everything for me. My oldest sister always felt as if she was my mother and now she thought it was the perfect time to fulfill her duty. However, I knew I had to stand on my own two feet and be the new mom that would have made my mom proud.
It’s been 15 years since my mom has passed away and it’s still hard at times. I often tell my two children stories of their grandmother and I can see some of her qualities in them. Everyday is rewarding seeing my children grow and learn, helping family and friends and just living life.
Losing my rock was devastating, but I found strength and you can too. You must find the strength through prayer and God’s love. These two things will bring you through many storms. People are counting on you.
© 2011, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.