It’s strange how quickly life seems to fly by. One moment you’re a child, innocent and playing in the dirt, and then suddenly you’re an adult with responsibilities and obligations. In the blink of an eye, you’re old, waiting for your grandchildren to visit you. It’s strange how in my final days my mind continually wanders to my mother.
I remember being little and having my heart broken for the first time. I was six and my crush had told me I wasn’t invited to his party. “Boys only,” he said. Something about cooties may have been mentioned. I was sobbing as you picked me up, unable to contain my feelings. I don’t know how you understood my words through the sobs, but you did. You took me straight for ice cream, telling me that little boys just don’t understand girls yet. You held me in your arms, and I fell asleep in your embrace. I felt so loved and warm. You were my tower, keeping me safe within your loving arms.
I remember being a teenager. Oh, how those teenage hormones run wild. I remember slamming doors and storming around the house like having pasta for dinner was the worst thing in the world. It was my favourite, and you cooked it because you knew it was. I was ungrateful and rude. The teenage mind is confusing, even to me years later. I was thankful for you always caring for me and cooking my favourites. I could see the pain in your eyes when I would scream “I hate you!” but you never retaliated. You just continued to surround me with love.
Years later my boyfriend asked you if he could marry me. I was never close with my father, so you were the obvious choice to ask. I remember you telling me, telling me to not let him know but you were so excited. You loved him and you were so happy for me. I knew you were sad to see me go, but you never showed it for a second. You loved me so much you wanted to see me soar on my own. To marry my love and start my own family.
You looked so proud as you saw me walk down the aisle. You tried to hide it, but I saw those tears. I had my grandfather walk me down, more of a father to me than my own. He wasn’t able to walk you down the aisle and he was ecstatic at walking me down. You were so happy to see that day. Happy for me and everyone else. You hugged me tighter than I have ever been hugged in my life on that day.
I remember your face when I told you I was pregnant. I tried to surprise you, but you saw straight through me. You were overjoyed, excited for this next chapter for me and you. A new dynamic was coming. You were going to be a mother and a grandmother.
The first time you laid eyes on my son I saw so much love and joy. Your little grandson was perfect. Healthy and happy. You held him with tears in your eyes. I remember you kissing his little head and then cuddling me. “Great job mama,” you whispered. Those words sunk into my heart and happy tears flooded the room.
Years later you were babysitting, keeping an eye on the little ones while I had to duck to some appointments. You loved every second of it, playing with them in the backyard, showing them how to collect eggs from the chickens and how to water the veggies right. When I got back, you told me I was a great mum. I never told you how much I appreciated hearing you say that, but it was a marvellous feeling.
I remember visiting you in hospital. You were still young, only in your 60s. You weren’t supposed to be leaving us yet. You were sick, so very sick. I hugged you so tightly and cried so hard. Losing my mum was never a thought on my radar, and now I was facing it head on. You told me to be strong and that you would always be looking over me. You told me you loved me, and that was the last thing I ever heard you say.
Mum, I never told you this… thank you. For everything. I’m one of the lucky ones who had an amazing, loving mother. I’ve missed you ever since you left this world. I can’t wait to see you on the other side.