A couple of weeks ago was the first time since my mother was buried that I was going to be in a group setting of people who knew what happened and would be witness to a part of my recovery and healing. It would differ greatly from other excursions I had in my early grieving stages. The people at the grocery store or Starbucks couldn’t possibly know the kind of pain I was experiencing, could they? In those spaces I had a chance to be normal, almost like I hadn’t lost my mother at 29, hours after I was discharged from the hospital following a major surgery. Needless to say to say, the legit emotional coaster I was riding only had room for one. I was so, so lucky.
The main thing people have been telling me about my recovery is to listen to my body. If something makes me hurt, stop doing it. If I’m tired, rest. How many people have to have a beloved parent die after they were medically opened up to provide advice on how to not cry so hard that it feels like your stitches will burst? Or should I get that pamphlet started? I do still have aspirations of being a writer.
When I received the call that mommy died, awoken from a deep medicated sleep, I cried so hard I thought I was going to split open. How hard I fought to get discharged from that hospital just to return hours later; that would have been a funny story. One, if with many, many years between the event I would be able to share with a chuckle. Then again, I can’t imagine a life where I could talk about her death and laugh. Not when there was so much anger and confusion tied to how she died. Just like with my father. Why were we stuck with incompetent medical professionals both times which resulted in their deaths? Bigger picture though, why did they get sick and deteriorate so quickly? The two hardest workers I had known were taken out by their bodies essentially failing on them. What the fuck. How is that fair? How is that the way it ends for two industrious and faithful people whose only wish was to come to this country, get an education and pave a road and legacy for their children to follow? Why did they have to pay the ultimate price for being such dreamers, and so young. Before my dad could walk me down the aisle or before mommy could meet my first child? A child I’m now inclined to never have because they’ll never get to know her.This is when I go back to how unfair all of this is.
I know I’m fortunate to have the life I do despite what I may consider to be struggles, and honestly it could be worse. But I’m grieving over the loss of my mother, Margaret Bidi. Bright, generous, enigmatic and open and so, so forgiving. I wanted to learn how to forgive like she does, to open my heart to strangers to show how far love could get you. I used to think I didn’t like her being a friend of the people, but I was mad because I couldn’t understand her. What teenager has the capacity to get the struggle she had been through coming to this country and how it taught her to take what she was blessed with and use it to aid others? That life in some aspects was about serving others, not being selfish and closed off? I think I’m finally getting it because all I want to do now is open up to my sisters every hurt and rage I have about losing mommy. They’re the mommy’s I have left now. They know things I didn’t have a chance to learn from her and I need them now more than ever.
As I approach 30 with so much more life ahead to live I worry that I’ll impede my growth by missing her too much. The last time I saw her I felt like I knew that was going to be it. I didn’t want to leave her and I kept wanting to look at her, to try and hold that image in my mind of her in that hospital bed and not forget. But I don’t want to remember her in that way. I prefer memories of her as captured in photographs and holidays and house visits. Joking, the bossing around, smiling, living. Not on the edge of that place she’s now gone to. Snatched away by cancer. That’s not my mommy. That’s a mistake.
I miss her so damn much.
December 31, 1956-July 23, 2015