I just have a lot to say.

Archive for the ‘MAMA’ Category

April 9th, 2014 by

It’s Not about Mama

I’m not ready to talk about Mama. She’s been dead for 13 years, and I still feel like I’ve been sucker punched in the gut when I think about it.

You’re supposed to take care of your mama but not while you’re pregnant. That’s when she’s supposed to take care of you.

You’re not supposed to send your 6-year-old twin girls to spy on your mama on another aisle in the grocery store (even though they think it’s an adventure), in case she gets turned around, when she wants the independence of pushing her own buggy. She is supposed to be watching them.

You’re not supposed to hire a sitter to spend the evening with your mama while you and your husband take the kids out for pizza. Your mama is supposed to babysit, so the two of you can go out for pizza by yourselves.

The memory of the juxtaposition of your 2-year-old son’s mind exploding and your 65-year-old mama’s mind imploding nauseates you. Suddenly, you could tell the toddler a two-step command: “Go to your room and bring me your shoes,” while your mama could only now handle one at a time: “Let’s go to your room. Let’s put on your shoes.”

You don’t want to remember the exhaustion from listening to the two 1st graders read their library books to you while bathing the toddler and knowing you still have to undress your mama for bed.

You don’t want to remember the frustration of wanting a moment’s peace, because she always wanted to be beside you, and the only place she wouldn’t think to look for you was in your closet or behind the sofa in the playroom, so you would go hide there from time to time to catch your breath, and you could hear her looking for you.

You don’t want to remember the suffocation of having the weight of the whole world on your shoulders at 35 years old, because your daddy was dead, your mama was an only child, your grandmama was living with one sister (who had three elementary-aged children of her own), and your other sister was too far away for much hands-on help (and that still grieves her).

You don’t want to remember your self-pity that could temporarily blind you to the horror of your mama’s deterioration until you literally fell prostrate on the floor beside your bed and sobbed, “REMIND ME AGAIN ABOUT NOT GROWING WEARY!!!!”

You don’t want to remember her boredom and her restlessness, because she lost the ability to read and the attention span to watch a movie.

You don’t want to remember her fear of diminishing and her sorrow that she, who had taken care of everybody for so long, had become a burden at such a young age for both of you.

You don’t want to remember your anger at the Whole Awful Situation.

You don’t want to hear another person tell you how brave you were. You didn’t feel brave. You didn’t want to be brave. But she modeled bravery. So, what other choice did you have?

You don’t want to remember all the things you wish you had done differently, even though you know that she knew that you were doing the best that you could.

You wish you had been more patient with her as she struggled to find her words—at least in your heart, if maybe your impatience didn’t always show on your face.

You wish you could remember more times that you held her and let her cry and sang “Blessed Assurance” to her.

You wonder what advice she forgot to give you or simply ran out of time to tell you.

You wonder what treasured memories were stolen from you.

Even telling her grandchildren about the twinkle in her eyes and her smile that could light up the room and her laughter that was louder than your own causes a lump in your throat because of the way those things were silenced:  not snuffed out like a candle but dimmed a little every day like a gas light.

No, I can talk about Daddy all day long. But I don’t want to talk about Mama.