This was the call I have been preparing myself to receive for years now, and today, at 11:26 a.m., I finally got that call.
Mom found peace this morning after taking her last breath, ending her tumultuous journey through life. At the age of 55, her broken heart and body finally gave way to the unhealthy lifestyle she chose to endure due to the inordinate amount of pain she struggled to mask — pain that stemmed from abuse she experienced as a child and pain she caused herself from poor decisions. She made a peaceful exodus from her tragedy-filled life.
When mom was mom, and not just the woman I called mom, she was the best mother any child could ask for and some. She was more than loving, unconditionally supportive and made great sacrifices for her two children. Her children were her world and without us, she was lost. So lost, in fact, she lost sight of her purpose in life, leading to her downward spiral in the world, and ultimately, to her untimely death.
When I was 15-years-old, mom made a shocking decision to leave our family, leaving me bewildered and raw with emotions. I couldn’t wrap my brain around her premature exit from motherhood, and still to this day, don’t really understand why she chose to leave. I knew she wasn’t happy in her marriage with my father, but that still didn’t explain why she would leave her kids. I will never know why. But I’m ok with that.
Even in my unparalleled state of confusion and through my extreme animosity towards mom, I forgave her. In my conversations and visits with her over the years, which were minimal at best, she constantly apologized and I constantly forgave. But no matter how genuine and sincere I was in my forgiveness, she never stopped with her relentless apologies. Honestly, it became annoying. I had moved on and just wanted to talk to mom without rehashing the past, but every conversation would somehow lead back to ‘I’m sorry’. Her deep pain and sorrow poured from her soul like a never-ending waterfall, and it was abundantly clear that this pain would haunt her for as long as she lived.
So when the news came through the phone today that she had passed away, I felt relief. It was a sense of relief I have never experienced before and I will likely never experience again. As demented and depressing as it sounds, I was happy to get the call I had envisioned for so long. I was happy she was freed from her torturous world of guilt. I was happy to know that her sorrow was gone, and happy to know that she won’t spend another Mother’s Day alone in her depression. But I also felt incredible guilt.
I had the tendency to ignore my mother’s calls over the years, mainly because of the sound of her depressed voice on the other end of the phone was too much for me to handle. I had not talked to her in over three months, but for my own selfish reasons, I ignored her call yesterday. I thought I would just wait another week and call her on Mother’s Day. Now, I am left with a voicemail message that I will undoubtedly not be able to erase anytime soon and will replay to hear mom’s voice just one more time. We’re told constantly by people in life to never take anything or anyone for granted, a lesson I thought I had learned long ago. Too bad, so sad, maybe next time.
Mom left this world hundreds of miles away from her family, and without many friends. Society had blackballed her from this so-called game of life, and she was never able to reconnect with those that she loved and adored. She was casted off by some like trash on its way to the street for pickup. I can only say to those people that she truly did miss you and longed to heal those relationships. Maybe in the next life, I guess.
I have to admit that sometimes, especially in my early years, I was sort of ashamed of mom. She drank too much, smoked too much and ever since I can remember, I thought she was hell-bent on embarrassing me every chance she got. One of the more embarrassing memories I have is when she chewed out my little league baseball all-star coach in front of the entire team and their parents. According to mom, my talents weren’t being utilized as much as she would have liked. I believe her last word to coach was ‘Asshole!’. She always thought I was the best player on every team in every sport. I hated her for it then, but I love her for it now. She had my back.
Now it’s my turn to have her back. I love you mom, more than you will ever know. I can only hope you knew that this morning. Tell Nonny, Pops and Denise hello for me. I miss you all very much!