A Letter to Mama
I began this post a week before you left us. It was late one evening as I sat by your bed in your hospital room. One of us was staying with you each night because we refused to leave you alone after not being able to have someone with Daddy during Covid. We didn’t expect you to die, but we weren’t taking chances. It’s a good thing too because we each had really special time with you during those 2 and half weeks. Now it’s been 3 weeks since you’ve been gone, and today would have been your 77th birthday.
For the last year, you put up the most courageous fight against cancer, all the treatment side effects, and the way all of that affected the other issues you had. You fought all the way to the end, never giving death the chance at victory. You believed until your last breath that everything was gonna be ok. You said whatever happens, “I WIN”. And win you did. Although it was never really about winning for you. For you it was about finishing. You finished the race that you ran so well. You fought with dignity and grace, and you never lost your faith.
Though, at times, it was tough, and sometimes I probably got on your last nerve, I’ll always cherish the privilege I had of taking care of you this last year. I felt so woefully unprepared and unqualified, but the little bit of training I did have ended up being more than I would need. I went to school to work in healthcare, but I ended up using those skills to take care of you and Daddy during your most trying time. I’m glad it was me instead of strangers, though the help from my siblings and my best friend were invaluable to you and me both. I still wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you may need something, only to realize that you’re not in the house any longer. The first few nights after you left, I still went in to check on you, discovering it was just an empty room and an empty bed. The silence in the house at night is deafening.
To simply summarize you and your life based solely on this last year would do a huge disservice to you and everything you were and still are to me. My memories are my greatest treasure. As my mother and my unending supporter, you believed in me no matter what others thought. You stood up for me even at times when I was probably wrong. You were always there for me even when I deserved it least. You rejoiced in my successes and comforted me in my failures.
What will I miss the most? Probably your voice, both because of the words you spoke and the songs you’d sing. I still think you were the best singer ever. You probably should have been a professional because, yes, you were that good. Those who heard you sing know what I am talking about. You even had an offer to go to Nashville but turned it down because you were raising a family and also had some folks whose opinions you greatly valued that would have frowned upon it.
I wish I felt like I could do your memory justice with this writing. There just aren’t words. I attribute my desire to write mostly to you as it was also something you loved to do. There’s a whole book of your poetry that will be put to print. I just wish I could have gotten it done before you were gone. Those treasures, especially the handwritten ones, will be cherished by many who loved you and your words.
I know there’s more I could say, but I would be writing forever. Happy Birthday. I love you Mama. I will miss you. Kiss Daddy for me. I will see you soon. Until then.
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