3 years today..how can it be that I have had no Mother for 3 years.† It seems like yesterday, it seems like a lifetime ago.
I still wonder sometimes if I should have done more, fought harder, tried different things.† The months before your death was filled with so many emotions; hope, fright, tears, smiles, panic, helplessness, determination, laughter, devastation.† I wanted you to get better, I talked to doctors, did research, prayed.† But in the end, you died.
The week before your death was surreal.† We all knew it wouldnít be long.† On May 7th, you said, to my knowledge your last words, ìI love you tooî when I told you I loved you.† †I hated going home at the end of each day, so afraid Daddy would call me and tell me you had died.† But you hung on.
The day before you died, I lay with you in the hospital bed we had set up in your room.† I talked to you, I told you how much I loved you, how blessed I was to have had you as my Mother.† I assured you that I would be fine, that I could handle your death, while inside I was screaming, ìNo please donít leave me, I canít do this without you.î† But I know you, you would have held on forever if I said those words.† And I wanted you to find peace.
The day you died is etched in my heart forever. Eddie and I had spent the night because we knew it wouldnít be long. It was the longest night of my life.† I kept going into your room and listening to your ragged breathing as you struggled for each breath. I lay on the floor and prayed and cried and pleaded with God.† I stroked your face and your hand, the hand that had been my support my entire life.† I woke up at 3:00 AM panic stricken, convinced that I would not be able to live in a world that you didnít exist in.† At around 7:00 AM, we called Momís 2 sisters to come over. We knew it wouldnít be long.† You died at 8:07 AM, with me, my brother and your two sisters around your bed.† My Daddy couldnít stand it. He wouldnít come into your room for the end.† As you took your last breath, I felt your presence leave the earth.† You were here and then you werenít.
I walked outside into a beautiful morningÖthe birds were singing, the sun was shining, the roses were blooming and I had no Mother.
3 years later, I am in your house.† I live here, surrounded by your memories, my memories, memories of me as a child, new memories of my child here.† I feel you everywhere, I miss you every day, I need you more times than I can count.
You were so many things to me, my friend, my Mother, my confidante, my advisor, my rock, my biggest fan.† I sometimes run across things that you wrote, always in green pen.
Like this from when I moved to California:
ìSometimes I wake up at night and almost can not breath because my Ka is so far away, but I want her to be so happy and this makes her happy.î
I cook in the kitchen that you made countless meals for us and I throw the dish towel over my left shoulder just like you always did and I smile.† I talk to you and sometimes I could swear I feel you here, peeking around the corner, almost here, but not quite.
I can almost hear you say, ìMy Kaî like you greeted me in every phone call or every time I saw you.† ìMy Ka, how are you doing todayî.† The phone call I got every night saying, ìGoodnight My KaîÖand that was all.† †I miss thatÖI miss your voice. I wish I had all those answering machine messages that would drive me crazy at timesÖI wish I could hear every one of them and smile.
I donít want Kei to forget you, I tell her stories all the time.† Stories of you climbing up to our tree house when we were there with the neighborhood kids and scaring us to death and laughing so hard you almost fell off the ladder, stories of how no child would ever leave our house without a ìJean Goodie Bagî, the wall in the laundry room where every child that ever entered this house would be measured. We chart the growth of Kei alongside the growth of me at the same age.† I tell her stories of how you loved your roses and birds and your yard and would sit for hours outside just watching the birds eat, stories of your infamous battle over a purse at a Martinís Black Friday sale with you winning of course, stories of tornado warnings with you in the closet and you running out to watch TV and Daddy yelling from the other closet, ìHoney are you out of that closet?î and me trying to hold in my giggles, stories of a Motherís love and how fierce and strong and protective it was.
I know you would be so happy that Daddy is happy. How many times did you say, ìYour Daddy will live longer than me, those Terryís live forever and I want him to find someone and I want you to be nice to herî.† He did Momma, and I am nice to her, and he is happy.
I know you would be happy that Kei and I see your best friend Patsy so often.† Every memory I have of her has you in it and it is so wonderful being around her.† She tells me stories of you from a best friend perspective and has been there for me so many times over the past 3 years.
Kei and I both smell your perfume at times. You always wore perfume and this house holds traces of it everywhere.† It always makes me smile to smell it.† Kei will say, ëI smell Baba.î† About 6 months after you died Kei asked me, ìMom when you pray something over and over and it doesnít come true, what does that mean?î I said, ìWhat have you prayed for baby?î and she said, ìThat you wouldnít be so sad about Baba dying.î† That healed me so muchÖbecause like my Mother, I would do anything for my child.† She still tells me that I wake up in the mornings sometimes calling for you.† For months I would fall asleep saying your name.† I wonder why now it is in the mornings?
The ìDeath of My Motherî is not at all like I thought it would be.† I dreaded it my entire life. I thought I couldnít survive it.† I told you that sometimes remember? †You said ìDonít be ridiculous of course you will.î† I was wrong, and as usual you were right. I did survive it.† It just hurt so badly and still hurts. ††I still miss you, I will always miss you.
One day, I will be with you again.† And we will hug and laugh and dance and giggle and talkÖ.just like we always did.
3 years..a lifetime without you.
ìI remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.î ~ Abraham Lincoln
ìDeath ends a life, not a relationship.î †~Jack Lemmon
ìTo live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.î ~Thomas Campbell