This post is one I've wanted to write for some time now. I've shared my story with friends and family, but it means even more now that I am at my first Mothers Day as a mommy. No, I'm not motherless. No one is, obviously. Even if your mother passes the day you are born, you are never motherless. A piece of her lives inside of you, literally and figuratively. I know there are so many instances of people who denounce their birth mother or believe that she is not the best or whatever, but the fact of the matter is that they ARE apart of you. The good thing is that you can shape and mold your life into whatever you want it to be. I digress.
My mother passed away when I was 17. A tragic death. Not related to violence, not related to illness, but related to a medical error. Yup. You don't hear of things like that often, but it does happen. And while stories like hers will make you cringe anytime someone mentions the word doctor, there really is nothing much you can do about it. People get sick, you need medical professionals, and they are human beings. Human beings who are not void of error or fault. I once had a doctor tell me they (doctors) are practicing medicine and it's impossible for them to know all right off the top of their head. Yeah, that's a bit disheartening to hear, but did you really think your doctor was a walking medical textbook? Anyways. I'm not going to discuss the details of my mothers passing, it's not necessary. But I will talk about what I experienced after that. A loss that seems so black and white to some, but has literally effected me and my life to this day. You see, everything that has happened to me since then could almost be tied back to her death in some form or fashion. I really found God during the days before her death. And I learned to pray. Did my prayer stop her untimely death? No. I learned that, too. But, my prayer (along with guidance and support from my dad), gave me enough peace to make it through her funeral and services. And gave me enough peace to go on with my life. You see, when you lose someone major in your life, you sometimes feel like you can't go on.
"What do you mean my mother died? What am I supposed to do now? I can't go on without my mother. No way."
Yes, you can. And the Lord put a wave of peace over my heart that allowed me to move on. I had my first dream of her two days before her funeral. We were back in her hospital room...lines, wires, tubes all removed. Hospital gown replaced by a normal outfit. Closed eyes and non-responsiveness replaced by a smile, hug and conversation. Words.
Words of comfort.
"They (the funeral home name), took care of me."
"How are you?"
Yeah, it was a dream. But if you knew the amount of tears I shed that week. And the emptiness I felt in my heart, then you'd know that dream was everything. That's the best way I can describe it. And since then we've had probably a dozen or more dreams together. Just me and my mommy. We chat, catch up, and she reminds me that she is okay. Her big smile from ear to ear, and her undivided attention. Wow.
Moving away to college was tough, but necessary. Tough because I was leaving home, especially my father who I am very close to. And given the fact that I lost my mom just 7 months earlier, leaving for college and leaving my dad in Buffalo seemed like a bad move. Losing someone major like your mother at a young age makes you paranoid about losing other major people in your life. You're never ready, but because my moms death was so sudden and such a shock... it made me want to cling to my dad tighter. But here I had this great opportunity to move to Florida, attend the University of Florida (my dream school), and be closer to my grandma who had permanently moved down. I missed her so much. And my dad was not going to let me miss out on this opportunity to move on, grow up, spread my wings and chase my dreams. So he told me, "go". And we packed up the car and took the drive down to Florida. Side note: I met David two days later. ❤️
The days, months and years I spent in college were a transformation for me. I grew and matured as all of us do. But I learned so much from my grandma. She poured so much into me as a woman, and she went from grandma to second mom. If you missed my previous blog post about my grandma Gloria, see "I do, we do". Grandma was tough, but loved hard. And she was everything to me. It's funny because I look back now and regret not being mature enough to learn more from my mommy when I was younger. Of course there are things you don't know you need to know when you're younger. My grandma definitely filled that void, but how much better would I have been to have both of them in my life at the same time? Hmmm, I don't know. As a side note, I did make an offer to God to stay in Buffalo and attend college if my mother pulled through - just before her death. I had an offer from two colleges in Buffalo and could have stayed. I know now that wasn't meant to be, or else I wouldn't have met David.
Life moved on and God found a way to fill my life with everything I needed that I was missing from my mother being gone. My grandma, step mom, sister in law, cousins, aunties, best friends, sorority sisters, and eventually a mother in law.
For years I thought that I couldn't face anything more difficult than losing my mother so young. I thought that was my big testimony. But then I got married and faced infertility. Huh?
"You know me! I've always wanted to be a mother!"
"Am I supposed to go through life without my dear mother AND not be a mother myself?"
I had forgotten that the Lord told me I was going to be a mother. I just couldn't see how or when that would happen. Fast forward a handful of years and here I am, a mother. 18 years after losing my own mother, I became a mother to 3 beautiful children. There was 3 of us growing up, so I always knew I'd have at least 3 children myself. Maybe somehow in heaven my mother, pop pop, grandma Mildred, uncle Ronnie, and my great grandparents all came together and decided that David and I could manage triplets. I don't know.
What makes this story more heartfelt for me is that my grandma Gloria passed about 3 weeks before I had the triplets. All of my fellow mothers reading this blog can relate to the hormones that rage through your body when pregnant. And how those raging hormones quickly leave the body post baby. Imagine those hormones times three. Three babies equals triple the hormone levels. Postpartum was tough. I was stressed, worried about my babies in the NICU, and still mourning the loss of my grandma. My grandma who was my second mother, and who I lost while I was on medical bedrest in the hospital trying to keep my miracles in and safe. Then I have my babies 9.5 weeks premature and they remain at the hospital. I'm away from home, staying at the Ronald McDonald house, and I'm experiencing severe post c-section pain and discomfort. I was in a bad place. And although I was surrounded by my husband, family and a huge support system, I went through phases. Some phases I needed my mom and grandma, bad. But that was impossible. Some phases I wanted no one but David and my babies. And some nights, while I was up pumping breast milk for my babies a block away, I cried. And I felt motherless. I had what I needed. But I didn't have who I wanted. There are some who may never understand that.
For those who wonder if I was experiencing postpartum depression, I say no. I did go though many emotions though, and as a self check I reviewed the signs of postpartum literature that the hospital gave to me. Were my feelings of being motherless warranted? Probably not. But that is how I felt in that moment. And that's how I felt when my mommy died. I understand better now and appreciate all of the love and support God sent my way. And I'm grateful for the experiences and time we did have together. However long or short. I tell people this all of the time and I'll say it here again. It bothers me when I hear of or see people at odds with their parents. Being at odds with family is bad, but at odds with your parents is worse. Take the time to make amends and straighten things out. If they ignore your attempts, try again. All isn't lost. But most of all, love on your mother and father. Tomorrow isn't promised, and losing them is life altering. I can only hope to teach our 3 P's everything my mother and grandma placed in me, and sprinkle in all of the love I have in my heart. I can also only hope and pray David and I are around long enough to see them grow up, graduate, marry and have children of their own. And of course, make them proud that we are their mommy and daddy. Because we sure are proud to be their parents... parents to three miracle babies.
Sending love and a Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers! Especially first time moms. Enjoy your day!