My Mom, My Best Friend!
by Lynn Tyre
(Saint Bernard, Louisiana)
I've felt grief before, but never like this. In August 1987, I lost a son, Michael, due to still birth. I thought I would lose my mind. I cried every day for six weeks straight, until I went to work at Walmart. Only after a few months of work could I finally make it through a entire day without crying. It has been over 22 years since that terrible day, and I was finally getting to where I could mention Michael without crying. Now that my best friend is gone, I think, not another 20 years of this grieving!
My mom was the closest friend I have ever had. She went through a lot when my brothers and I were growing up. I, being the eldest of 4 children, and the only girl, had a very special bond with her. There was a short span, during her marriage, that my dad, only when drinking, would become abusive to my mom. She endured many beatings at his hands. She stayed with him through all that, but where would a young woman with 3 small children go in those days. There were times when she would pick up and go home to her momma, but she would always take her children with her?
We were the most important part of her life, always. She saw something in him that was good, and as long as he was sober, he was good. I thank God everyday that she had the strength to stay with him, for he was, and still is , a very special person. I guess he had some growing up to do, and she hung in there, until he did.
I watched, as she and my dad did their best to keep us housed and clothed, during some real tough times. I can remember going on what I thought was a picnic on the levee near our house. Mom would pack us some balogna sandwiches, and make a gallon of KoolAid, to bring with us. Later, as I got older, I found out it was not a picnic after all, my dad was looking for scrap metal that had fallen off the ships as they passed by. They could sell the scrap metal to help keep the lights on, during one of those times my dad was layed off.
Mom had a way of making us feel loved and rich even though we were extremely poor. They always made sure we had everything we needed. She was a child herself, only 16 when I was born, and yet she was so full of wisdom for her years. I often wondered how she gained so much wisdom and insight into living and teaching each one of us to be loving, kind, individuals.
Her last days she was so very sick, and yet she never complained. She should have stomped her foot, and yelled at me, to quit that damn job and spend her last days with her, but she never let on that her days were so close to coming to a end. She knew. I know she did, because, I think back and can see how she began to teach my dad how to do the bills, how to cook, and do laundry. She was preparing him for living on his own, showing him how to do all the things she did for him.
The day she slipped into the coma, I cried, begging her to just open her eyes, just one last time, to tell us "GoodBye". This coma lasted almost a week. It was as though she could tell most of her family was on this cruise, and she just held on until everyone was at her side... and then, the time came, she was called home, and before leaving, minutes before her death, she opened her eyes one last time, giving each of us a glimpse into her eyes so that although not audible, she might tell us "Goodbye", one last time!
Momma, I don't know how to live my life without you. You have always been there for me. I'm so lost! I feel like that little girl on the bridge, that you taught to walk, coaxing her, slat by slat, across the boards until she was walking...That little girl was me, 20 months old, and I need some coaxing still, at 54 years old... come on you can do it, just put one foot in front of the other, c'mon you can do it.... I have to learn to walk without you, and I don't know if I can.... I love you momma, with all my heart.........until we meet again...
I love you...................