We truly can only speak to our life experiences and even though I have dealt with the loss of loved ones, I have not dealt with the loss of my mother.
During my time in education, I have had to offer condolences to several students and players who have been forced to handle the tragic loss of their mothers. The problem is I usually find myself at a loss for words with how they should continue forward. So when one of my best friends, Corey Davis, informed me he wanted to write about his mother, who died when we were Jr’s in high school but didn’t know where to start, I told him to write a letter to a young student who has just lost their mother. He shared his letter with me and with his permission I am sharing it with you.
Dear Young Man/Lady
As I approach my 32nd birthday, I have lived almost half my life without my mother. For years I didn’t talk about my mother’s death as it caused to much pain, anger, and regret but felt it necessary to connect with you. I was just 16 years old when she passed and had not a care in the world. We were taking mid-term exams and my mother had the day off from work so I hoped to make it home early to spend some time with her. Once, I got home I immediately knew she wasn’t feeling well when I saw her laying down on the couch. You see my mother never laid around. The remaining events of that afternoon are a blur either because I have tried so hard to block it out or because everything happened so fast. I remember her crying for help, calling 911, and holding her hand while talking to the dispatcher. I still remember holding my mother and wondering why was it taking so long for the ambulance to arrive. I still see the lights and hear the sirens as they approached our house and still remember being told hours later that my mother died of an aneurysm.
I laid in the bed for days wondering why I was put in that situation, what could I have done that morning, or even 2 days earlier that would have saved my mother’s life. The process of grieving was tough for that 16 year old boy and still is for this 31 year old father of two. So I can truly understand what you are feeling. Every loss in your life will spark an emotion, but there will always be losses of loved ones who simply cannot be replaced or forgotten. My mother and your mother will never comeback and the pain, hurt, regret, and anger that comes with that reality will never go away. However, the love, passion, and joy our mothers gave to us while they were alive will never fade away either. The only way to survive this loss is to constantly remember the positive memories, experiences, and feelings we received from our mothers.
The feelings of love, dedication, passion, and joy that was passed on from my mother to me can never be taken away by the pain, hurt, regret, and anger that stems from losing her. She was the heart and soul of our unit, forcing others to get along while always being able to make us laugh. During my father’s deployments overseas, she would pick up and work even harder to make sure the household did not miss a beat. She not only took care of my older brother, younger sister, cousin, and I but also worked full time. I always felt I was the favorite, I was the special helper, and truly cherished helping her clean on Saturday mornings and learning all I know about cooking from her. I know you have memories with your mother too and it hurts knowing those moments will never come back but you and I have to embrace these memories and share how special our mothers made us feel with others.
I try to share with the world the love, passion, and joy my mother gave to me everyday. I share it daily with my daughters. My oldest is now 7 and she was born on January 23rd which happens to be one day before my mother died on January 22nd. Her curious mind often asks questions about her grandmother. What happened Daddy? How did she pass? What was she like? Instead of letting anger take over, I just smile and relish in the fact that I get to talk about her and tell my daughters what their grandma was like, and how she loved to dance, sing, cook, and provide for her family. I think of how proud and happy she would be of me and how much she would spoil my girls including my wife who she never got to meet. This is how I allow my loss to go on and you must do the same. Share how great you mother made you feel with world.
I share what I have learned from this to help you carry on. It is a daily struggle and I encourage you accept the hugs and well wishes daily. Let others show you how much they care and allow their words fill your heart until you are ready to allow the memories of your mother too. Don’t shut them out. It wasn’t until I opened my mind and allowed myself to share how I felt to the ones that cared for me and who loved me, that I understood the process. It was then I began to cherish all the moments I had with my mother and began using them to deal with the pain of my loss.