The day I feared most in my life came December 30, 2016. I knew it was on the way, but somehow I convinced myself that maybe, just maybe I was wrong. Thelma R. Wright, my beautiful mom, passed away that Friday, and my life will never be the same.
Mama had been battling a variety of illnesses for the better of 20 years. She was a fierce warrior in her battles and never gave up. Cancer did not beat her. Neither did the various other challenges that were send her way. Sadly, in the end old age took over, claiming her mind, body and dignity. Knowing the proud woman she was, she never wanted to rely on anyone for anything, and I think the horrible disease that is dementia finally was too much to bear. I hate terribly that she had to suffer like she did, and my mind knows that she is better off now than she was in the last few weeks of her life. I wish someone would explain it to my heart.
Logically, I know that the pain will always be there, but it will get easier to live with it. Countless people who have been in my shoes have explained this to me over and over. There seems to be a disconnect between their words and my brain, because right now all I know is that I want one more hug and one more time to tell her I love her and for her to smile at me with recognition.
You see, I was mama’s favorite, according to my siblings. I am the youngest in the family, therefore the one who spent the most time alone with Mama. I was doted on and yes, I admit we were super close. Mama was my superhero warrior and I tried to emulate her in many things. This created a sibling rivalry that still continues. I used to feel responsible for the animosity that developed between a couple of my siblings and me, but I don’t anymore. I have embraced the position of being the favorite, since they were the ones who bestowed the title upon me, not Mama. She never, ever told me that I was her favorite, despite what they think.
When Mama got really ill, I decided being called the favorite was an honor and I will wear that badge with pride. I accepted the title, but along with that came a huge responsibility. I felt compelled to speak at the funeral. There was just no way I was going to let the last things said about my mama’s time here on earth be by someone who did not love her like I do. By the grace of God, I was able to write and deliver a heartfelt speech about my mom and what I felt summed up her life. I say speech, because I did not deliver the eulogy, the pastor did that, I was allowed to have what they call remarks from the family.
My mama has given me several gifts over the years of my life, but on the day of her funeral she gave me the gift of finally finding my voice in our family. I have always been silent and shy, acquiescing to my older siblings at every turn. During the planning of her funeral, I found a loud, forceful voice that demanded that I be allowed to speak during the funeral. I wasn’t even sure I would be strong enough to do it, but I demanded it anyway. The voice was so loud that my siblings actually listened to me for once. I was told I could read a poem, but God put in my heart to write a more personal goodbye to my mama and that is just what I did. I pray she could see and hear me and that I made her proud.
Thank you, Mama, for always pushing me to achieve my goals and for the final gift of love that you provided. I promise you, this will not be the last time I use my voice. I was forced to face my worst fear in life, and now I know I can do anything. I will no longer be shy. I have many things to say and I will be heard, with the help of my Mama.