The Day My Momma Left Me

“My mama was bigger than LIFE!”

Sunday, …………, my long  time friend and I were chatting up a storm as we got out mani-pedi’s.  It had been a full day, lunch at Olive Garden, coffee and 7-11, and now this wonderful treatment. We were chatting to the owner, we all shared stories of our mothers. Yes, our mother’s were  fresh on our minds. As the manicurist massaged my hands, any tension I came in with…was gone.

My phone rang, I looked and saw it was my brother-in-law. I felt the air grow cold all around me. I had never seen his name appear on my phone. Why would he be calling me. The entire nail salon grew silent.  It rang again, quickly I pushed answer and brought the phone up to my ear, “What’s up Brian!” Pretending the fear I felt had gone…

“Cathy, are you sitting down…”, that phrase was all too familiar, I can’t remember how many movies, tv shows I had heard it on, but never in real time. How dare he use these words on me, I started yelling, screaming at him demanding him to finish, “WHAT! BRIAN WHAT!” He gently said your mom’s gone….

 This was not true,  my entire body began to shake as if I was convulsing and a scream so loud pierced through the air. A pitch I had never heard come out of me before, “Noooo! MAM!” I lost control, I just needed to scream, I could not scream loud enough, I kept yelling  to my mother, “Nooo Maa No! You can’t be gone!”

Immediately everyone jumped up, my friend ran out the door saying she was going to get cash to pay, the salon owner dropped what she was doing and rushed to me, grabbing me and holding me tight.  She too was shuddering in tears, our conversation about our mothers bonded us, she felt my anguish, and just kept repeating how sorry she was.

My friend returned, paid and guided me to her car. I knew she was taking me to my mom. All of a sudden I sat up and stopped crying.  I looked up at the sky, my mom was gone, she no longer existed. My mom died? I grabbed my head, no words, I just screamed and screamed.  Ugly jagged screams that needed to be louder and louder. I needed my throat to feel like it was going to rip. My dear friend, my angel friend kept her composure as she drove and I could faintly hear her praying softly, asking  that I be comforted.

It only took a few minutes to get there and as I ran up the driveway I saw my younger sister. She too was shattered, she muttered that mom was in her bed.  What! No, she refuses to sleep in her bed, she never sleeps in her bed.  Why would she sleep in HER bed?  Why did she go all the way to the back where her room was, she was afraid of being back there.  For years she had slept either on her lazy boy or the couch, but never in her bed. Nothing made sense, there was no way she went to sleep in her bed when she was all alone in the house. Never, why now.

I turned and ran to my mam. I was met with her lifeless body. She lay there with her eyes peacefully shut and her mouth open. It would have looks like she had just fallen asleep, but the corner of her mouth drooped to the side. She was gone, my mam was gone! Like a child running into her parents arms, I threw myself towards her. Her arms did not reach out to catch me, instead I fell in a heap onto a body that no longer belonged to my mam.

I didn’t care, I wrapped my arms around her tighter than I ever held onto anything, as if I were could catch her soul before it left. I was too late, her soul was gone. I yelled for my grandmother to help me, she was in Heaven already. She was probably waiting for her as she left, I begged her to leave her just a little longer. Gone…

There I stayed for hours, I was slightly aware of other members of my family arriving and the sobs of her grandchildren, great grandchildren and eventually my children Sarah and Vincent arrived. Her home had never been so sad.  She had lived there for 52 years, this home was her solace, she raised six children there as a single mom. And one by one we would leave only to come back with our children.  Her home was the hub of our family and now it was the saddest place I had ever been. All joy was gone…

The rest of the night was a blur, I was aware of the coroners arriving and them having to pry her out of my arms. Don’t take her from me, I knew I would never ever get to hold my mother again. I knew I would never see her, forever she was gone…

We were just talking about mothers, I was supposed to see my momma that day but I ended up with my friend. Two day’s prior my mother found out I was driving to Riverside to see my father and she asked me not to go if it rained, she needed me to  promise her I would not go in the rain because it was dangerous she said. She was extra loving, as she had been for the last month. As if she knew she was going, she just wanted me to be with her and not leave her side. Did she know? That day was the saddest day of my existence…my mam was gone…

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