I said a silly goodbye to her on the back porch of her house and then drove back to Florida that day with the knowledge that my mother and I would see each other again for Thanksgiving. I promised her that I would call her frequently to be certain she was managing okay during her chemo treatments. I told her I would run interference with her doctors and nurses to be sure she understood the foreign language they were speaking to her. I even instructed her to be on the lookout for flowers on her birthday just a weeks away in October. Only she never made it to Thanksgiving. She never made it to her birthday. She didn’t even make a full two weeks after I said “I’ll be back before you have time to miss me”.
She died shortly after midnight as August 30 rolled around. Those flowers I told her were coming weren’t supposed to have been for her casket. It was just so surreal. I wouldn’t have said a silly goodbye if I had known how little time she had. I would have hugged her longer and tighter had I known. I would have stayed with her had I only known what was about to unfold.
My brother had to tell me over the phone that Momma coded and died. My sister and I had shared a phone call just a few hours before and I could hear Momma’s breathing so ragged in the background. I didn’t know what to say to my sister but I knew she would be gone very soon. The anguish I felt after that was so strong. I felt so guilty for leaving my mother at her most vulnerable — for not staying longer and being there when she needed ALL of her kids. I worried that my sister sitting at Momma’s bedside would not be able to handle what my gut knew was imminent. My sister and brother were with her and for that I am eternally grateful — I just felt like I should have been there as well. Survivor’s guilt and the guilt of having moved away from home so many years before creeped in and threatened to consume me. The stark reality that my mother was never gonna tell me she loved me again with that nasal sounding voice of hers was painful. There was an empty hole that would never be able to be filled.
I have wished so many times that Momma would come to me in my dreams so I could “feel” her again but so far, that hasn’t happened. But God works in mysterious ways and last week I had a friend of mine send me a message on Facebook that she had dreamed of my mother and wanted me to know. My friend had never met Momma — in fact, she and I have never met in person either — yet in her dream, she knew exactly who my mother was and felt so strongly about it that she sent me an email first thing that morning. My friend told me that Momma wore a tan dress that buttoned down the front and her hair was in a bun on her head. They had conversations about me, I suppose to confirm her identity. I literally FELT her dream so vividly that I could imagine it so easily as it played out in her mind. Ethereal, yet somehow tangible. Impossible, yet a reality. To read that email of my friend’s rendition to how all this unfolded in her dream brought chills down my spine and the tears flowed — the snot commencing down my lip soon followed. It didn’t matter that I was sitting in a bank branch waiting to see a representative about some legal papers.
MOMMA. WAS. THERE. WITH. ME.
I had been dealing with a particularly stressful couple of days prior to this and I was really missing my mother so to have this gift given to me was simply a blessing. To have had my mom for the years I did was God smiling favor on me and to know that from beyond her life on this earth, she is still beside me in hard times — well, that’s proof positive that love knows no boundaries. Simply put, Mommas are forever.