Mama – I Wouldn’t Be Me Without You

“She was there when I took my first breath, and I was there when she took her last.”

I don’t know who is responsible for this quote, but I lived this quote.  On November 21, 2017 at 5:50 am my mom took her last breath and I was with her.

I was determined to stay the night with my mom, and I did.  Even though I knew she would not be alone because God would be there, I wanted to be there with my mom as she made her transition.  If anyone had told me I would have had to make difficult decisions that involved my mom, I would not have believed them.

My mom always said if anything happens to me, you fight for me to live.  I took that literally.  I struggled with saying yes to hospice because to me that meant I was giving up on her.  I prayed and realized I wasn’t giving up on her.  When I was able to truly look at my mom as she lay in the hospital bed, I could see that she was suffering.  She was in so much pain, and not allowing the respirator tube to be removed was delaying the inevitable

In the circle of life children are supposed to bury their parents, but who wants their parents to die?!  We want them to live forever.  I wanted my mom to be here to see my granddaughter grow up and graduate from college.  I wanted my mom to see my daughter have children of her own.  I wanted my mom to be here to make me laugh.  She kept me laughing with the things she said and her views on life.  It seemed like a lot of my family members talked to my mom and she would have the good family tea!  She knew all the family gossip and shared it with me.  

We shared a lot of good times.  We didn’t always agree and during her sickness she was frequently upset with me because she said, “I thought I was the boss of her – LOL.”  I had to be firm and take over medical decisions and other things, which she didn’t like.  Everything I did was for her good.

My advice to anyone whose parents are still alive:  cherish the moments.  Please don’t get caught up in not speaking to them or having petty arguments.  Once your parents are gone, none of that stuff matters.  Instead of creating heartache, make memories with your parents.  The last thing you want to have is regrets or feelings of guilt because you didn’t treat them right.

I don’t have any regrets.  I treated my mother with the respect she was due.  You couldn’t have thin skin around my mom.  She equipped me to be a word master.  I know how to fight with words.  I learned to laugh at words that were meant to hurt me.  She taught me how to accept myself – flaws and all.  Being called fat was funny because I am.  She taught me that.

She taught me to love God.  She taught me how to be saved.  She taught me how to love my family.  She taught me that.  She taught me how to bake a cake.  She taught me how to clean a kitchen.  She taught me how to mop the floor.  She taught me how to wash clothes.  She taught me all of that.

This past year has been a lot of firsts for me:  first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s Day, first Mother’s Day, and first birthday without my mom.  I am an extension of her.  I look like her.  This curly hair came from her.  I find myself saying some of the same things she used to say.

I know my life will never be the same because she’s gone. I miss you so much Ma!  My life is better because you chose to give birth to me.  This first year without you hasn’t been easy and my heart will never be the same.  I’m strong though and I will continue to thrive because you’re my mom.

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Chapter 49

Some people believe I do the most for Leo season and my birthday. Well, I do! I turned it up a notch this year because I’m grateful to be in the land of the living. This past year has not been an easy year for me.

I learned more about myself and the sacrifices I would make for someone I love. I discovered that I had more strength than I realized. I learned that even in the midst of the pain and grief that I yet feel, I can make it. I learned that Chapter 48 prepared me for Chapter 49.

It’s my first birthday without my mom. For 48 years I had her in my life. This new normal has not been easy. This year required me to be extra. If I didn’t, I would’ve focused on how much I miss my mom and the birthday greetings she faithfully posted every year.

I would’ve focused on how much I miss the cake she made special just for me – German chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting because I don’t like German chocolate frosting. I would’ve spent today being sad instead of glad.

Through all I have been through I have learned the importance of carpe diem – seize the day! I’m determined to live a life of no regrets. I want to make the most of every moment I have remaining on this earth. I’m determined to have meaningful relationships, and appreciate when someone cuts me out of their lives because they are doing me a favor. They are helping me to invest in those that want to have meaningful relationships with me. I’ve learned that life is short and I should experience everything I want to experience.

Without My Mom On Mother’s Day

I haven’t been able to write a proper blog post, since my mom passed. This is my first Mother’s Day without her. Celebrating Mother’s Day is bittersweet. I’m trying to smile and show I’m happy because I’m a mother, but at the same time I’m crying on the inside.

Crying because my mom is gone. Crying because I miss her so much. Crying because I haven’t been the same since she passed, and I don’t believe I will ever be the same. Crying because my heart is damaged.

I was doing okay this week until this post showed in my memories.

I cried and cried because she’s not here for me to tell her how much I love her. Oh, I told her, but I would love for her to still be alive to hear my sentiments. I told my husband I don’t have a mother anymore to buy a Mother’s Day card.

Foolishly I tried to continue to look at my social media feeds thinking I can handle seeing Mother’s Day post. I looked at it as tough love therapy for myself. Read the post because I can’t withdraw from social media every Mother’s Day. This was a bad decision because each post seemed to stab me in my already damaged heart.

I came to the realization that I can’t handle Mother’s Day on social media. Truthfully, I’m struggling to navigate Mother’s Day weekend. I don’t have to act like I’m so strong. I can admit that I don’t want to see your Mother’s Day post, and I’m not a bad person because I don’t want to see them. I can log out. It’s okay for me to figure out what’s best for me and act accordingly.

Mother’s Day will never be the same for me, and I’m learning to live in my truth.

For My Daughter…

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I was thinking about a letter I wrote to my daughter in 2007, before she went to college.  I asked her for this letter, and then remembered I kept a copy of my flash drive.  This letter continues to be timely, and maybe it will inspire you to have a much needed conversation with your children, or maybe you need some inspiration.  There are some grammar errors in this letter, but I decided to not change anything about the letter.

August 13, 2007

9:28PM

Kendra,

Where do I begin?  It seems like yesterday you were biting people at church (lol)!  The years have gone by so fast.  Who would have thought we would be at this time so quickly in your life??  I am so happy and excited for you!  This is a major milestone in your life.  Off to college.

I am typing this letter to you because I want you to keep it and reflect on it those times when you may seem to forget what you focus is for going to college.  When temptation is presented and you don’t know if you can resist the temptation.  Grab this letter and read it quickly!  There are so many things I want to tell you.  Some last minute “nuggets” to help you along the way.  Well, here goes:

IF YOU DON’T REMEMBER ANYTHING I HAVE TAUGHT YOU, REMEMBER THESE TOP 10 THINGS:

10.  Be true to yourself – Don’t let anyone stop you from being who you are.  Don’t wear mask or be phony – be Kendra.

9.  Have fun – you will have to have a balance between fun and school.  Too much fun will be reflected in your grades. Too little fun and you will not be a happy person.  You have to figure out that balance for yourself.

8.  Boyfriends – I know you feel you are in love.  Well, remember that you have to put love in perspective.  Anyone who wants to be with you will understand the need for you to get off the phone, the computer, whatever means you all communicate.  That person will be happy for you and be content in the fact that when it’s all said and done you are still with them.  Any boy that doesn’t have your best interest at heart is not worth your time.  Any boy who has no goals or aspirations to achieve success is not worth your time.  You need someone who shares the same goals, aspirations and dreams that you have for life.

7.  Sex – We have talked about this subject.  For the record I will state my stance – no sex until you are married.  If you decide to have sex, I pray you weigh out the consequences and see if that moment is worth your future.  That’s all it takes is one mistake and your entire future can be altered.  You say you want to be a doctor.  Well, you have to live your life like you want to be a doctor.  There will be plenty of time to have sex when you get married.  There’s nothing like being able to have as much sex as you want and not have to be concerned about the risk of pregnancy, disease or death.  It’s never to late to decide to abstain.  Anytime you want to you can decide that you are going to wait until you are married to have sex.

6. Friends – everyone is not your friend or will want to be your friend.  People will dislike you because you are beautiful and smart.  Recognize when people are trying to use you.  Get to know people before you share your private information.  Don’t let people in your room until you feel you can trust them.  I say meet them in the lounge.  Some people will want to come into your room just to see what you have.

5.  Alcohol – Don’t ever leave a drink sitting and come back and drink it. I don’t care who is sitting there.  When I say drink I mean any type of drink.  Never drive after drinking.  Don’t ride with anyone who has had a drink. Don’t trust your life to anyone who has had any alcohol.  I don’t care how “okay” they may seem.  Don’t take a chance.

4.  Seat belt – WEAR IT!

3.  Intuition – If you feel something isn’t right, even if you don’t understand it; follow your intuition.  If you feel like you shouldn’t go a certain way, don’t.  If you feel like you shouldn’t do something, don’t.  Follow your intuition.

2.  Classes – If you don’t understand something – ask!  This is money we are spending to get a good education!  Make that teacher earn every dime.  Don’t wait until test time to say you don’t understand.  Get the help you need ASAP.  Get to know people.  If you need a study group, take the initiative and form one; because if you need help there is probably someone else who needs help too.

1.  God – You’re going to need Him!  Pray as much as possible.  Let Him lead and guide you.  He won’t lead you wrong.  God is the key to you being successful.  He said “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Take your Bible with you.  Read it!  Go to church as much as you can.  Church is where you will gain the strength you need to make it.  You need to give God 10% of your time, just like you give him 10% of your money.  You owe Him that!

I am here for you. You can tell me anything.  Don’t ever forget that!  I love you and I am going to miss you.  I’m sad but I’m happy for this next phase of your life.  So many people are in your corner and cheering you on.  I’m sure you can tell from all the gifts and money you received.  People are praying for you to be successful.  I don’t want you to get sidetracked.  Stay focused.  I don’t want you to have to come home because you made a bad decision that alters your future.  Every decision you make now affects your very future.  Please remember that.  Before you do anything, think about the positive and negative consequences.  If it’s too many negatives, it’s not worth it!

You are beautiful, gifted, talented and intelligent!  You are going to be successful!

I will be praying continuously for you!

Much love,

Your Mom.

What do you wish your parents had told you before you left home?

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