The original purpose of this blog was to be an outlet, and in some ways it still is. It has turned into a place of creativity, fashion and joy, which I share with my many readers with every post. Today I take a bit of a turn. May 6 is a day that I dread every year. It’s a day I thought was cursed for years. But today marks 10 years since my mother passed away. Long story short, my mom and I were separated for five months in 2002: She was in Baltimore working and I was in Sacramento after deciding I wanted to go back home. She spent a month in the hospital, treating Acute Myeloid Leukemia and her body was not strong enough to make it. Three days before she died I flew back to Baltimore to be by her side. She never woke up. A single mother, my mom loved me with every bone in her body and at 14 years old, her death was devastating. Today at 24, I feel like it is imperative that I take some time to reflect on the past decade without my mom.
You know – this may sound crazy but it’s hard to believe that I am here. Many may wonder why I would say that. It’s because at one point in my life my heart was so broken, my hope so lost, that I didn’t know how I was even going to take my next breath. The news that my mother had died was paralyzing. My whole life flashed before my eyes – we were inseparable. I longed for an explanation, I longed for a proper goodbye. I longed. I’d like to say that although I experienced great sorrow through my high school years, my mother’s absence didn’t really hit me until I began college, and began drinking.
A pain I thought was gone would emerge at parties – me being triggered by some stupid boy or not doing well in a class, always ending in sobs of “I miss my mom” or “Why isn’t she here? I need her!” Often inconsolable, my friends tried and sometimes succeeded and I later worked through this issue professionally.
Nowadays, I sometimes can’t help but get jealous of daughters and mothers. I want to go to lunch with my mom. I want to go out dancing with her. I want to call her and ask her what she would do if she was in my shoes. I even want my mom to yell at me. I want her to tell me she’s sorry, but it was only because she loved me. I want my mom to help me get ready the day I get married. I want my mom to hold my hand when I’m giving birth to my children. So many wants and wishes that won’t be fulfilled.
I know I’m not the only daughter who has lost a mother. I’ve heard that it’s been so long and I can’t still be so upset over this. Well, I’m not paralyzed, but as I grow older, I realize I need my mother in different ways and sometimes that catches me off guard. I know my mom had a life before me, and I’d love to ask her about it. Relate to her as a woman and not as the tyrant who hounded me to clean my room and do my homework – as I’m sure all 14 year olds feel about their parents. 🙂
I have to say – my mom loved and cared for so many. She loved her family, even took in her grandmother to live with us when her dementia got so bad she couldn’t live alone (she also died on May 6, four years ago). My mom made the best out of every situation. She took no shit. She cooked the most amazing food. When she hugged you, she hugged you with everything she had. She always laughed out loud. She was witty and loyal. She had the best shoes and purses and she taught me how to be a smart shopper. She exposed me to me different kinds of people and things at an early age that at five years old, I could sit amongst a group of grown women and hold a conversation. She taught me to always show people respect, whether I liked them or not. She taught me to not depend on anyone for anything.
I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life for the time that I did. I thank God every day for being able to experience being loved the way my mother loved me. Some people will live their whole lives and never know how that feels. That love is what keeps me alive. I’m able to live, think, breathe, contribute, fight, love, and dream. And dream I do –there are so many things that I look to accomplish in my life and I will do so, never forgetting where I came from, using that as a platform to push myself further.
I cannot say thank you enough to the family (related and non-related), friends, and strangers who at one point or another, gave me a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. It is because of their support I’m where I am today.
I truly thank my grandmother, who passed away two years ago last Sunday. As crazy as our lives were together – from her unreasonable standards and me becoming responsible for her in her last years – I needed her and she made me a better person. It is because of her I had 14 years of life with my mom and for that I’m forever grateful.
I guess there’s nothing left to say except I love my mom. I miss her. And I’ll never forget her. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can hear her laugh. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to even feel her near me. Ena Theresa Jackson may not be here physically, but her energy will never leave this Earth.
Thanks for reading!