I’m getting to be that age, you hear it often around the office almost on a weekly basis, someone’s parent is ill or has suddenly passed away. I’m very blessed because my mom is still around, about to have her 81st birthday. My mom isn’t in the best of health, and I often worry about her and how’s she feeling. It’s difficult for her to catch her breath and she’s constantly connected to a variety of oxygen machines, concentrators they call them, and they sustain her life. When she walks out the door, the gentle hum of the machine she’s carrying can be heard underneath her words. She’s a talker like me, that’s where I get it from, and I often have to stop her and say “breathe through your nose” so she can get some O2. You can probably guess I love my mom very much and I don’t know what I’d do without her.
When I was a kid, my sister and I used to watch Family Affair, and I’m not sure exactly why. It was probably the saddest of all shows…a young brother and sister, sent to live with their rich uncle when their parents tragically died. We watched that show with complete fear, it might as well have been a horror movie, for we were terrified of the day we would no longer have our parents around, especially our mom. This fear was so strong, that we would often approach her while sleeping, carefully watching to see if she was breathing. It sounds bizarre, and it totally was, and I’m not exactly where this fear originated from. Maybe it was from the exact show we were constantly watching, or maybe it was because we loved her immensely and couldn’t image life without her.
My mom is a super mom. Yeah she’s made mistakes and yeah we’re paying therapists now to deal with them, but there is something very special about my mom. Our childhood wasn’t the easiest, our father wasn’t around much and my mom often had to play the part. This took a toll on her and we knew it did, but there was one thing she was super good at…giving us hope. She gave us hope when things weren’t going our way, when we were down in the dumps, when life seemed like it was out to get us…she always gave us hope. Arguably, hope is probably the best thing anyone can give or have, because no matter how bad it gets, if you have hope, there’s always the possibility of something better. My mom was amazing at that. That was her super power and it is to this day.
I’m 47 now and I often try to prepare myself for the day when my mom isn’t around anymore. My spiritual views help a lot…in my heart I believe we are all pure energy that just transforms from one state into another, death being only a transition just like the little short lady said in the movie Poltergeist. However it only takes but a shitty cold, a night of no sleep, the slightest feeling of loneliness, to make me miss my mom immensely and absolutely fear the day when I can’t pick up the phone and call her. You might think I’m a “momma’s boy” and I would respond “guilty as charged...” you just can’t ever replace your mom.
Now some folks out there don’t have their mom and are already experiencing what I fear the most. Perhaps they never had one to begin with, and to that I offer my sincere condolences. Maybe they have a mom but she’s just not “mom like.” Maybe they are a mom to someone else, not even blood related, or for that matter, not the same species. Maybe they don’t miss not having a mom if they never experienced one… I just can’t understand this reality. Yet.
I know the day I dread will eventually arrive and because of that I cherish every moment I get with my mom. I love our lunches, our dinners, our time together visiting her doctor… our little adventures like riding out Hurricane Irma on the floor of my division director’s office. I love them all. Every time I leave her house I thank God for the time I had with her, life being what it is, you never know if your last visit will be just that, the last. I love the phone calls, the voice mails, the little things that can annoy some people… but are evidence of her presence in my life.
If you have a mom give her a huge hug. Like my bud Vox said the other day, “give her one for me too.” If you’re a mom to someone then give yourself a hug and realize how important you are to another human being on this planet, even if you don’t realize it. There’s a part of us that loves our mom no matter what, no matter how bad things get, no matter how distant we may be. Hang onto to that part, no matter how small. Just like mom, it will help you through some serious shit. If your mom isn’t around anymore, know that everything about you is a reflection of her, good or bad, and so she’s more present than you might realize. The next time someone says “you’ve turned into your mom.” say “thank you for the compliment!”