The last time I cried. I mean cried, cried. Like snot bubbles and red eyes, cried. Was after I saw my mother take her last breath and when my step dad gave me the responsibility of making the decision to have the EMT guys resuscitate or not. I decided not to. If she was in pain before then she was just going to continue being in pain if they brought her back. At least now she’s in no pain.
It was the hardest day of my life to date and I remember it so vividly because the last thing I told her was that we all knew she was strong; we all knew she wasn’t a quitter. And that she could let go and no one would think any less of her. Not even 15 minutes later, she was gone. It was as if she were waiting for someone to give her permission. I was that person.
My mother passed the day after my 22nd birthday, so every year I have conflicting feelings. Should I be happy or should I be sad. Can I even be happy? Is it fair? But I know she would want me to be happy so every year I try. I remember that birthday. She was very sick, we had just brought her home from the hospital and she wasn’t walking or talking or anything. But I came in the room to check on her and she sat up and said “Hey, it’s your birthday.” I responded perplexed, “umm, yea, it is!” She continued, “You’re 22.” I responded, “yea, I am.” And that was probably the last thing she ever said. I don’t know what came over her but it was amazing to see and feel.
My step dad calls me every January and says it’s almost that time of the year. And he tells me the story about how they met. How he saw her “floating” across the street with my grandmother and then they got on the bus, she introduced herself and then she hit him with a million hard hitting questions. Any one that knew my mother knows she was a thinker. She was good for holding her own in a deep conversation and she didn’t easily give up. Luckily, I inherited that trait.
The worst part about losing a loved one is the fact that every time you hit a new milestone or do something interesting you realize you won’t be able to share it with them. That the pictures of you guys years ago are the last pictures you’ll have. They won’t get older, they stay the same age. But the good parts, if you choose to look at it that way, are the memories; the growth that you gain from dealing with such hurt and the way you choose to handle the situation. It will help define your future.
Breast Cancer is the disease that took my mother’s life. Caused her not to want to take pictures with her then 1 year old grandson Kymani and caused her never to be able to meet her now almost 2 year old grandson Maxwell.
1 in 8 American women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in a lifetime. And in 2016 more than 2.8 women in the U.S. had a history of breast cancer.
But although my family had to deal with the passing of a beautiful woman, I can say that we became closer because of it and I became stronger because of it. I’m unstoppable now. I like that even though my mother is gone, my step dad still makes an effort to talk to me and the boys as much as possible. It’s interesting what a big loss can do to a person. It is all in the way you handle it I suppose.
Today makes 6 years without my beautiful mother Ayesha. And this year, I just wanted to spread her memory, share her story, share our journey. Maybe someone can relate. I never really gave myself time to grieve, I had to keep moving. I only took that time directly after to cry, I mean cry, cry. Like snot bubbles and red eyes cry, for my mother and best friend.