It seems like yesterday that I witnessed my mother exhale her last breath. In that exact moment, I realized the appropriateness of my Good Samaritan status. I was there for support as she transitioned to her new life, just as she was for me when I made my red-carpet entrance into the world. It was also the first time I’d been in the presence of, and an active participant in the process of death. I watched her body decompose over an excruciating three weeks. Like her drug dealer, I voluntarily provided the drugs while she test-drove which world she’d rather exist in. Until my mother, I’d only grieved endings. They were mainly of baggage which had run their course that I was forced to abandon. Grieving my mother is not the same.
While “my girl” (nickname for her) loved reunions, choosing between family proved to be a laborious undertaking. Her rare stubborn streak reared its ugly head as she tenaciously kept a foot planted firmly in both worlds, weighing the pros and cons of her decision. Her parents, siblings, and only son waited patiently in the wings, eager to reconnect. She would leave behind a spouse, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, all who she was willing to die for.
I remember the instantaneous crushing weight on my chest and shoulders as I accepted the most important, unpaid position of my life. The anxiety of being imprisoned for the rest of time, charged with ending her life prematurely by overdose was surreal. It was only a matter of time before she would be forced to put down her armor and surrender. Home hospice might have already begun, but losing her even a minute prematurely would be luggage I knew I’d never be able to unpack. The decision was hers, and hers alone to make. It’s funny the things we miss once they cease to exist. What I wouldn’t give today for her bad advice (it was HORRIBLE, lol) and the way she looked at me with unspoken love in her eyes. Unlike any man ever had, or ever would. I miss her.