It was probably 1977, 78 and I was 6 maybe 7. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning although I have no clue as of what time it really was. When your that young, time is not something you really comprehend. I walked out of the bedroom I was sharing with my mother, (my father had been murdered a few months before this and I guess being the baby she felt I needed to be near her.. but now looking back and being a mom myself I think maybe she might have needed me just as much). As I walked out of the bedroom the first thing I saw was my mother, sitting at the table with the light above her on. The table was covered in bills. Her head resting on her hand, cigarette burning in her other hand. Even at 7 I could tell the weight of the world was resting on her shoulders. She was so engrossed in her world of worries she never saw me or heard me walk up to her side. “Mom, whats wrong”? I asked her, and in true Ginny fashion she answered me without answering my question. “Hey brat. What are you doing up baby?” she said. Brat was my nickname from birth I do believe. If she ever hollered out “Shannon” I knew I was in serious trouble. If she called out for “Brat”.. I was safe. “I couldn’t sleep I said. What are you doing” I again asked. “The bills baby” she said. I sat down beside her and stared at her for a few minutes noting the worry on her face but not realizing at that age that’s what I was seeing. After what seemed like hours I finally got up the courage to ask her. “Mom, can we pay the electric bill?”. At 7 I guess electricity was the biggest thing I could worry about. She looked at me with those beautiful blue/grey eyes, put her hand on my chubby little face then pulled me over to sit on her lap. “Baby, the bills are not for you to worry about, they are for me. All I want you to worry about is playing with your toys and your brother and sisters to be happy. That’s it. So stop borrowing trouble”.. she said as she hugged me tightly and kissed my face several times. “Now get back to bed and sleep well” she said as she nudged me in the direction of our shared room. She would tell me hundreds of times growing up “Stop borrowing trouble brat”. I never understood what she meant by it until I was older and to this day I still hear her saying those words in my head. She was the only parent I really ever had, she was my friend, my inspiration, where I pulled my strength from.
One day many years later I was at home with my now ex husband and our then 1 1/2 year old son. We were arguing of course, something we did all the time. At this point in my life I was living in Southeast Texas, 1000 miles away from home, away from my mom and family. My ex made sure I didn’t have much to do with my family as he monitored every phone call I made, every where I went, everything. My mom had been diagnosed with colon cancer a year before this particular day and I desperately wanted to go see her, but that was not an option I was allowed. This day we must have been arguing something fierce because I never heard or even saw the car pull up in our driveway. I didn’t notice anything until there was a knock at the door. I opened and and my heart almost burst out of chest. There stood my mother and my now estranged sister. I couldn’t believe my eyes, they were really there! They had come to Texas to see me and meet Jonathan, my son. The next day me, my mom and my sister took off for a couple of days to San Antonio Texas. My mom talked to me about how sad I seemed. She had no idea just how bad it was. But I didn’t want to spend my whole time with her complaining. We walked and shopped and ate and laughed. It was the best 48 hours I ever had in Texas. When it was time to go home they drove me back halfway where we meet my then husband and son. We hugged each other goodbye and they drove away. I did not know that would be the last time I would ever see my mom alive again. I have a picture from that day.
This is the only picture of my mom with my son. She never got to see her only granddaughter, at least not here on earth. My mom died on March 31, 2000. Twelve years ago today. The wound has not healed any, only deepened. I’ve learned just how to live with the pain. In May of 2002 I found I was pregnant with my daughter. According to her due date her conception date was March 31, 2002. She has her me-maw’s eyes. I know that mom sent her to me to love and cherish. I find myself telling her all the time “Stop borrowing trouble”. I don’t say this to my son as he never worries about anything. I only hope that my daughter learns this lesson my mom tried to teach me better then I did.
I miss you mom. I love you and when you left me I lost almost everything. Never ever feel like you’ve been forgotten, because you never will be. The sound of your voice may be a little harder to remember, the smell of your hair is gone, but the love you gave me will be here forever.
I wrote this on the 9th anniversary of her death.. the feelings are the same.
I’ve been told time heals all wounds
It’s a lie
I’ve been told life goes on and you move on
I’ve been told to be grateful she’s not in pain anymore
But I am
I’ve been told she watches over me now
I’d rather her be here with me on earth
You’ll always miss her but it will get easier
It never does
What happens is you start to forget her voice
You forget her soft tender touch when your sick
You forget the smell of her hair and her perfume
But you don’t ever forget the pain
You don’t ever feel whole again
You always need your mother