Today is August 9th and it is just now that I feel ready to blog again. It’s been a long, hot summer. Preceding this sweltering couple of months I suffered a sadness I had not felt for almost 30 years. I watched for six long weeks-with unwavering hope- that my mom would recover from an extensive open heart surgery she had on April 3rd. She lingered in the hospital, suffering from kidney failure, breathing problems and a heart that just wouldn’t heal. On May 21, 2012, my mom gave up her fight and passed away.
We prayed and prayed. We had a few glimmers of hope, but it was not to be. It was very sad. It was very spiritual. It was emotionally and physically grueling for us to watch. By the end of April, I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown from the stress and despair I was feeling. I had never felt so on the brink of losing my mind. Eventually I worked it out and cried a lot and did whatever I could do to work through the harsh reality that my mom was dying. I took photos. I decided that I wanted to document my mom’s journey for my own memory.
If you are a reader of my blog you may have seen the tribute I wrote about my mom a few years back for Mother’s Day. I’m so glad she got to see this. I had many chances to tie up loose ends with her, talk about things and tell her what I wanted her to know in the event she did not make it through the surgery. A few weeks before my mom had her surgery, she was in the hospital and I came to see her and it was just the two of us. I came in the evening and I ended up staying after visiting hours till 10:30pm. We had such a close, tender conversation. We shared tears and love and it made my heart happy to have had this moment in time to keep forever with her while she was sitting up and able to still get around.
My mom told me she had to take a chance at the heart surgery because without it, she wouldn’t last too long because her heart was inevitably going to stop working. This was her only chance and she had to risk it. She suffered from aortic stenosis that was so progressed, she would get winded just walking across the room. Her life had come to a complete standstill. She was a shadow of her former self and she hated it. Prior to her illness, she was a firecracker of a lady-spunky, energetic, and sassy. She was a career waitress, and worked hard her whole life. She and my dad, a blue collar factory worker, had pooled their resources their entire lives to have the little house of ours on Kilbourn-a little cracker box of a home on a Chicago city lot, but it was a house of love, and it was good, and I am so grateful I had it and these people in my life to love me.
It is now two and a half months since I buried my mom and I have had my moments of sadness. They come in waves and because menopause is beginning to wind it’s roots in my soul, the grief comes on stronger and at times without warning. Writing helps. I want to push through this sadness and carry on. I have so many good memories and so much more to tell you all. You see, Annie was the only mother I ever knew. I had another mother-the woman who gave birth to me. I found out when I was 37 years old I was adopted. Quite a shock, it was. But that just makes my love for my mom that much more. Even though, from the very beginning, I worked my way into her heart, she loved me as if she had carried me under her heart. And for that, I will love her always.
The day before my mom died, the nurse told me that she was calling out to her parents. She referred to them as, “Momma & Daddy”. She was from the South and had called them that until they died. I know my grandparents were in her hospital room waiting for her so they could walk with her when she passed. I was so thrilled to hear this-to know they were there for her and she wasn’t alone. I know she missed them so much. Now they are together once again. And, after learning my mom had seen her parents… for the first time in a long time, I had a renewed sense of hope.