My Mom of Love and Roses In four days time it will be exactly one year since my Mom left me. But it still seems as if it only happened yesterday.
My Mom was a proud woman, whom took great pride in her home and family. She had a hard life. She was an alcoholic since the age of 34 - I was nine years old. Four years before her death she turned her life around, and all our lives too. She went into rehab and never looked back. She was always a wonderful person, but after rehab she was great. We became best of friends - I could see myself in her. We were a family of four daughters, but I was lucky enough to be closest to her. I loved being with her, talking to her, having her stay at our house. It was a Saturday, cool with soft rain. We had a family gathering that day. My in-laws were visiting from up-country and my parents were spending the day with us. (They lived in the next town, not far from us. We would always have my parents over for Sunday or we would go to them to spend the day.) When they arrived, we went to our local street market, walked around the village, had coffee at a coffee shop - a fun day for everyone. At home, we had a huge meal with much discussion and laughter. My Mom was quite, but not so that any of us took much notice. When they left I kisses her and my Dad "goodbye". Later I phoned, as I always did, to make sure they arrived home safely. We all went to bed and at 1:30 the Sunday morning, the phone rang. My husband had answered, and told me that it was my sister and she told him that my Mom had died of a massive heart attack a few minutes ago. My first thought was of my Dad. I had to get to my Dad. We got my in-laws up to look after my children and drove through to my Dad. He was heartbroken. He was sure my Mom had been calling him, but he was a deep sleeper and had not heard her cries of help. I reassured him that even had he heard her, there was nothing he could have done for her. She had fallen in the bathroom and he could not pick her up, so he called my brother-in-law to help. They carried her to the car and drove her to the hospital, but she was pronounced dead on arrival. The next few hours are still so clear, as if it happened yesterday. I remember every minute. Taking my Dad home and straightening their bed - her slippers neatly next to the bed and a glass of water on the bedside table; the robe still at the foot of the bed, for when she wakes. I put my Dad to bed, hoping that he would sleep for a few minutes. Then I phoned our family and friends with the unreal news of my Mom's heart attack.
As dawn broke I was sitting outside with my umpteenth cup of coffee, and the most wonderful feeling of peace and love flowed over me. It felt as if someone had blanketed me with the most pure love anyone could ever feel. It must have lasted 30 seconds, and I knew my Mom was at peace and she was trying to tell me this. I promised her then, that I would look after my Dad and my sisters, and keep us together, as she did all these years. When this feeling left me, I experienced an emptiness of pain so great - it felt like it would tear my heart out. I felt so heavy. Even though I knew my Mom was at peace, I was not. As the family arrived from all over the country, this feeling got worse by the minute. The days that followed I functioned on auto-pilot. Doing and saying the things expected of me. Keeping an eye on my Dad and my sisters and putting my feelings aside. As a result I did not deal with any of the grief I felt. Until today I have this pain inside of me. I go about my daily tasks and function as I normally did before, but I am crying inside. I have conditioned myself to think and talk of my Mom in the third person, in order not to feel the pain. As the anniversary of her death is just four days away, I am so afraid of what I will feel on that day. I cannot let that pain surface, because I know it is so great I will not be able to get a grip on it. It is going to break me. I know I have to accept her death, but if I do then I also know I have to accept the she will never come back to me. This I cannot and will not do.
I cannot think of how my life will be without her. Without, my tiny Mom with all her love, her laughter, her smile, her voice and her love of roses - life will be empty.