The word mom never held so much meaning to me until I had no one to call by that name. For many years after her death I preferred to be working or sleeping through holidays such as Mother’s Day. Even after having children I felt a bit out of sorts celebrating on those rare occasions.
I was 21 when my mom was murdered. Her funeral was a blur as much as anything else during that time. The constant memory of the one and only song that replayed over and over, “Mama”, still brings a lump in my throat. Who knew we should’ve had more music on that tape? Leave two very young adults to put together a funeral and well that’s what you got. At least in our case. With my younger brother in a coma, casualty from the gruesome event, it was up to me and not so much older brother to deal with details. Of course relatives extended help but there was a sense of obligation. She was our mom. We had to make the decisions.
The funeral was crazy to me. I mean I knew my mom was a goodhearted person and she gave of herself to anyone in need but wow! I can recall numerous times when she would pack up food for random people, invited many people at different times to come stay with us because they were down on their luck. It was never a surprise when I overheard someone thanking her for some act of kindness she showed them. I knew people valued her on her job where she was an RN for many years. I knew our church loved her. She was loved yes, I knew, but my gosh! It wasn’t until her burial did I realize just how much people respected her. You’d have to have some ounce of respect to go to someones funeral. The grave site was quite a sight. It was utterly packed and cars were still coming in. Who knew she knew so many people, touched so many lives, earned so much respect from so many? She was just mom. She was just my mom. But now, now she was gone and I felt numb. Numb and cold. Cold as the brisk October air. I felt totally lost. Not a word to explain, not a thought to hint at a feeling worthy of this emptiness. Mom, a word I could never say to anyone again and feel what I should feel when uttered.
In an effort to comfort me, someone who I can’t recall, said to me my mom wouldn’t want it any other way. That her death was preferred over my own or my brothers. You see, we, my younger brother and I shared that horrible experience with her. She was the only one to receive the fatal end of it all. Of course I understood the logic behind the words and I know my mom would give her life for her children all over again but….did I wanna hear that? Side eye and sucking my teeth Haitian style. Now a deep sigh. “Now what?” was all I could think to myself.
Now what? I needed a new skin. Mine burned and itched. But it was mine. I needed a new brain. Mine was full of emptiness and it swallowed me deep. But it was my mind to deal with. I needed a new heart. Mine was broken into dust. My mom is no longer and I am stuck with remnants of my former self. I hardly knew me before. I still needed her. But now…..Now what?
Romans 14:8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
…she now belonged to the Lord in death as she did in life.