Mommy Dearest

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Mommy Dearest Winter was cold that year, and when I woke up that morning in January I found the day would be no exception. I could hear my family getting everything ready to be off to work and school and I remember thinking, "That's an odd smell. I should really bathe." I didn't. I dressed, ate breakfast and was out the door, nothing out the ordinary. School went as I expected, but something was off about that day. When the summons came from the office, I somehow wasn't surprised. Whatever news they would have for me would be bad, but the somber mood in the air had me prepared for whatever they were about to unload on me. Or so I thought.

Since I could remember my mom had had health problems, but the full extent of her illness was never apparent. See she had done a very good job of not worrying her children with little details that would just cause chaos in their lives.

However that January her secrecy could not be held in any longer, that day my mom had a heart attack.

It was around lunchtime that the office attendants, searching for me finally found the little nook that I spent my lunches sitting. It was peculiar to me that they would put forth the effort to find me at lunch. Why hadn't they waited until class started to summon me? They told me my sister had come to pick me up. Funny my mother almost always came to get me, if not her, my dad, my sister was the last person I would expect. Where were my parents? This is when it dawned on me that something was wrong. My heart began to beat as if it wanted to escape my body. The expression on my sister's face, in combination with her running mascara said it all.

The drive to the hospital seemed as sterile as the hospital itself. My sister not speaking a word to me, and if she did it was false reassurance that everything was okay. Its amazing how many different feelings and thoughts can run through the mind of someone dealing with trauma. So many that I scarce remember any of them. Just the idea of waking up to a house that is a little colder and emptier scared me to death. I had been around death before, even within my family, but never had it struck home like it did when my mom's mortality was on the line. On the seemingly endless car ride to the hospital, the playing of a song in the background will never leave my mind. The song was "A Long December" by the Counting Crows. There was no way to hold in the jumble of emotions anymore, I cried as the pains of the chords rang in my ears, "I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself, to hold on to these moments as they pass." After what seemed an eternity, my sister and I finally arrived at the hospital, only to find that I was too young to visit my mother in ICU. This enraged me, only I wasn't totally sure what rage was, it hurt inside that they denied me what could be my last chance to see and talk to my mom. What could this mean? Living out my days never being able to say all the things that I needed to tell her. At least to say, "I love you" one last time. So a decision was made, I would get in there no matter what the cost.

It was easy enough to get into the waiting area where people sat in those cold chairs, drinking bland coffee, just waiting, but to get past those sterile free-swinging doors would be a whole other hurdle to jump. Luckily for me I have always looked a little older, so it was just a matter of avoiding anyone who looked of authority. Avoiding them was more difficult then first assumed. There are dozens of those cursed white coats driving me into the shadows. Ultimately I made it in her room, only to be struck harshly by the image in the room.

It looked as if Marquise de Sade had designed the room to torture my mom. There were dozens of tubes and needles attached to her seemingly dead body. Her eyes were puffy and dark as if someone had hit her in both eyes. She just lied there letting the machines breath for her. As I looked at her something odd happened, this feeling of selfishness came over me. How could she have been so weak as to leave me alone sitting here looking at her as she slept? She was my mother, she should have been there to hold me while I was trying to deal with all the hurt that was flooding my body, instead she was present, but empty. After realizing what I was thinking I hated myself for a period of time, maybe I still do. Fortunately that wasn't the last time I saw her alive.

My mother survived the attack although she never totally recovered from the terrible ordeal. Now-a-days she needs a lot more help to get around then she used to, (she's on oxygen and needs to be pushed around in a wheel chair) but I have never felt put out by it, its enough that she is still around to talk to and be with. I never realized how important she was to me until I almost lost her, and now I do all I can to learn from her and keep a part of her with me after she leaves. There are not a lot of people I love like I love her in this world. She is probably the most important person I could ever hold close to my heart, and when the time comes when I can't talk to her anymore, I will not forget her, or what she has taught me.