When My Mama Died
written by Amanda Blume
"You've been a good mama. Thanks for being the mama I've needed. I'll be okay; you can go now." She opened her eyes one last time, looked at me with her infamous smirk, squeezed my hand and drifted off. That was her final gift, to send me off to my new motherless normal cheering me on. Twenty four hours later, surrounded by the people most important to her, she breathed her last breath.
There are few life experiences that have had such a profound impact on me as losing my mom. The days that followed her death were filled with lots of business; it wasn't until the evening of her memorial service that the gravity of loss hit me. I sat in the stillness of my dark apartment, weeping quietly for my loss. I'd never get another birthday card, no 8pm check-in phone calls from her, no more voicemails ("Hi, honey, it's me, give me a call.") No more holiday parades, trips to the beach—I felt broken. I felt lost. I felt abandoned. I was sad for all of my life she was going to miss because hers had ended. She'd never see me get married, my kids would never know her, she wouldn't be there when I completed my education.
And deep down, I was scared that there wouldn't be anyone standing on the sidelines cheering me on as I found my path in life. I knew she didn't agree with how I was doing things, but she never wavered in her faith that I would find my way.
The days that followed I grasped to find how I would manage a life without my mom. Who's going to pick me up? Who's going to speak wisdom into my life? How can I keep moving forward? Yet I did.
I made a conscious choice to honor her by how I handled myself. I gave up a self-destructive lifestyle. Got my shit together, finished my education and made people a priority. I decided I would be available for people who need a friend, someone to listen. I would be that person that people knew they could count on, for a laugh, a smile, an honest opinion, or a cup of coffee.
Fourteen years later I'm married, have three kids, and a career, and I'm still striving to be that person that honors her life. Those final moments of life with her come into my mind when the struggle is real. The memories of her carry me through times when I wish I could talk to her. If I focus hard enough I can feel the squeeze of her hand and I know I can handle anything.