I love you. I find it so odd those three words can roll so easily off my tongue...now. I know the impact that words can have, especially life-giving, encouraging words, but I held back on so many occasions because of our strained relationship throughout the years.
You never knew that I thought you had the most beautiful hazel eyes I had ever seen and the prettiest, naturally full lips. People pay a lot of money these days for lips like yours. Nor, did I ever tell you I admired the way you so easily could spark up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. I always feigned embarrassment, but in all honesty, I was a little envious of how out-going you were.
Thank you mom, for my quirky and some times odd sense of humor. I got it from you, you know. You and I found humor in the silliest things. Do you remember when you called to tell me about the dream you had in which you found a lovely charm-bracelet, yet all the charms were made out of cork? It was the goofiest dream but we laughed and laughed. Oh, and remember when I called to tell you that my little 8 year old Brady thought his testicles were his kidneys and we busted a gut until we couldn't breathe? I miss those times of laughter mom and I wish there had been more of them.
Lately, I've been thinking about the many men that dropped in and out of your life when I was a kid. I'm sorry I judged you. Back then, I just wanted all of your attention. I was too young to understand the needs and desires a grown woman and single mother has, but guess what? I understand now. You were just looking for someone to love and accept you.
Not too long ago, I learned from my uncle that grandpa beat you until you were unconscious when you were a little girl. Uncle Leon explained that grandma would egg him on until he lost control. It explains to me why you would often fly in to a rage and call me the "N" word. I forgive you mom. I'm sorry for the torment you endured which had to have had a significant effect on the person you were meant to be.
Mom, will you forgive me for not being more understanding in your later years? It freaked me out just a bit when you started insisting there were people on your roof shooting chemicals through your ceiling at you. I was insensitive thinking you were just looking for attention, but rather you were in the beginning stages of Alzheimers. Looking back I wish I would have made you feel safe and secure. I made mistakes too.
You know, when you went in to the hospital in May of 2006, I had no idea that just 3 months later you'd be gone. I'll never forget the call that came in at 1:30 a.m. on August 1st. It was hospice calling. I hesitated to pick up the phone. When I finally did and said, "hello", the voice on the other end asked, "is this Billie?" "yes, it is" I replied. "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but your mom died a few minutes ago." "Thank you", I said. Thank you? What else was there for me to say? My mommy was gone and I felt like I was 6 years old again. I wept for several hours.
I still think about you all the time mom and find myself picking up the phone to dial your number, then I sadly remember you won't be there to answer. My thoughts return to being at your side at the hospital a few days before you died and how though your body was wracked with the pain of colon cancer that had returned after 16 years, you looked up and told me you loved me. You looked so vulnerable, skinny and gaunt and your beautiful hazel eyes had become clouded. I leaned down and whispered in your ear that I love you and that you're the best mom ever. I know you needed to hear those words.
What I couldn't tell you is that Glen, your son, my brother had died two months earlier from a massive heart attack. That still weighs on me. I couldn't tell you because of your condition. I hope you forgive me because I still don't know if I made the right decision but I find solace in knowing you two are together in heaven.
I miss you mom. I've learned a valuable lesson. When you see your parent on their death-bed, the past junk doesn't matter at all. We musn't wait to tell those we love what they mean to us. We must forgive much, love much and remember...everyone has a story.