When my mother passed away there was sadness, but in her passing there was a sense of relief. Mom and I were close. When I became and adult we were friends. It was nice, she was my mom who I loved and respected, but she was the friend who knew things about me that I didn’t, things I had forgotten. Like one time we were out shopping and I laughingly told her how much my husband hated shopping with me and how nice it was to do something small like shop with my mom and NOT worry that she was bored. I told her how he said I would be in search of a particular item and find it almost in the first place I looked but I would abandon it, in search of another one that might be better, then I would ultimately come back to that first item. She laughed and told me about a time when I was a little girl and she and I were out shopping for Easter shoes. She told me I tried on every shoe in the store that was my size that I did not like anything. She said she told me after all possibilities were exhausted she turned to me and said,” I guess you won’t be getting any new shoes for Easter..” she said I looked at her in shock and quickly grabbed the very first shoes I tried on and handed them to her. She said she did not know what my problem was and I said I have no idea, but I also wonder why SHE was being so gracious on that day, because Mom was not a game-player. I do know with that little story she in effect told me that my shopping habits go waaaay back to childhood.
Now Mom would no longer be in pain, she would no longer be confined, she would no longer be confused, she would no longer be unhappy. Yet, I remember thinking why she no longer wanted to be here. What was it that made my mother give up, because she was stubborn and she was a fighter. I knew it was something and I knew it was something, SHE could not endure. My rock, the lady who taught me to be strong, there was something she did not want to face. So Mom left us quietly October 30, 2016 and while I managed to brush the question aside, it lingered just beneath the surface of my consciousness.
2017 rolled in; I had made it through my first Christmas without my mom, but February was on the horizon. We had so many birthdays in February, so many good times, so many memories. I wondered if this would be my breakdown point. It was not; maybe because I did not concentrate on the loss of she and my father, but celebrated the people who were still here with me that shared that February birth month my Godson, my youngest son and so many friends, friends who considered family from our street in Inglewood.
Late in 2017 things became complex. Illnesses came from out-of-the-blue and they were illnesses that would likely bring about loss. By the time the anniversary of my moms passing came around I was too preoccupied with the business of living to fall apart. There were millions of questions, where did this come from, could we have done something different to avoid this condition. The answers were vague and really rather pointless. Things are never as they seem, we can almost never make plans, for the way we think it should be often turns on a dime.
We prepared to do battle now and there were going to be tough ones ahead. Two rounds of chemo therapy, test after test, clearance after clearance for surgery, low and behold it was Christmas again. My dear friend told me to make this a good one, take lots of pictures and video. A polite way of saying this may be the last one like this for “someone” would not see another. We always had great Christmases this would be no different. I would heed my friend’s warning, but not interfere with the mood of the holiday. I was prepared for the change to take place; I did not know the exact time, season, or manner but I was fairly certain I knew who.
I was wrong in focusing on who, that when the loss came it was beyond devastating. 14 days into the new year, after a fantastic holiday, after a wonderful vacation, after things were ready to move forward, they came to a screeching, abrupt halt. We were all looking for/ looking at something, we were all aware of something but we were misdirected. We all knew something was going to happen, we just did NOT know what. Was this what mom could not live with/through? Was this why my friend told me to make this the best Christmas ever? Something turned on a dime for us all, but the truth is sometimes you do just know. Even when you don’t want to.