by Timothy Ryan
Simply put, the following is my thoughts put on paper; no intent, no expectations.
|"Oh my baby, don't cry," Mom said, trying her best to hide the tears in her own eyes. She was lying in a hospital bed - maybe before one of her surgeries, maybe after. There were too many to remember.
I walked into her room, scared and not knowing what to expect. She didn't look like Mom anymore. I knew it was bad, and she could tell I knew. I couldn't get a single word out before the tears came.
The last few years of her life were a blur, but this is one of the memories I have that just won't go away.
I hear people talk about their mom - they complain about her or say good things; they feel trapped by her or say she's their best friend. It doesn't matter what they say or how they feel, it's all taken for granted.
I don't remember what it feels like to hug her. I don't remember the sound of her voice. I barely remember a time when she wasn't sick.
Even worse is what I do remember.
I remember her losing her hair, and I remember sitting down with her ever day after school to help her write her will. I remember trying so hard to be strong for her, and I remember having to call the ambulance one morning when she had her first seizure.
I remember how frustrated she would get after her stroke, when her body didn't want to work anymore, and I remember the cake we had on her last birthday.
I remember him trying to prepare us the best he could, and I remember being woken up the night she died.
What I remember most, though, is my life after she died.
I remember my father kicking my sister out of the house a short time after Mom passed, and I remember him disappearing a short time later, leaving his two young boys wondering where he was. I remember how everyone treated me when I went back to school, and I remember being mad every day of my life since she left.
I wonder constantly what my life would be like if she were still here. Would I be able to be happy with any woman? Would my brother be able to be alone? Would my sister have the mom that she so very much deserves? And James, (I've gotten in the habit of calling him James because most of the time I don't feel like I have a father anymore either), would he have been a real father?
I get even more emotional when I think about the grandma that my daughters missed out on, and the endless love they would have gotten from her. James told me that in those last few years, all Mom wanted was to be a grandma. It makes me cry every time I think about it.
Over the years, I've had so many dreams and wishes for my life, but the one that has always stuck with me is the wish to be able to say two very simple words... "Hi, Mom." -- To hear her voice again is all I could ever want; or just to have her call or drop by the house unexpectedly. I've dreamt about it; about her walking through the door and watching my girls run to her, jumping into her arms yelling, "Grandma's here!!" And once again, the tears come everytime I think about what the could have had - what they should have had.
It will get easier, and time heals all wounds - that's what I've always been told.
Well, it hasn't gotten any easier, and time hasn't healed a thing. It's been 23 years and I still feel it every single day.
It shouldn't still hurt this much.
I shouldn't still cry like I do.
I shouldn't still feel alone.