Love You Forever...
"NO!" I said.
"Then I'm not coming," she said as she turned her head away. She was so upset that I declined her offer. In fact, she gave the silent treatment for a while.
So, I caved in and said, "Ok, ok, ok, you can pay for the trip," but not really meaning it. June 30th came and well, she had plans to a better place. There was a lot of mishmash that were scattered in her room, and one of them said, "To Debs," in a small envelope. It was the vacation money.
I knew where Mom would've stayed. She'd stay downstairs in the cozy area, with the beautiful bathroom that had a step in shower with a seat. It was as if I could hear her in my mind. "This would be where I'd stay and I have the kitchen right next to me so I could make coffee." Another funny thing about my mom was, she loved down to earth people -- everyday working class people. Right next door there was a private fisherman's club -- I mean RIGHT next door. The parking lot was on the side of our house (which wasn't told in the description of the home online.) No big deal. It was like one of those VFWs -- every single night, a bunch of older drunk clientele would swing out of the club stumbling back to their homes or cars. The community itself was a little questionable -- some homes were old that needed some work, while others had an extra lot with a trailer home parked out in front. Some folks would sit outside on their porch steps with their drinks. The people were funny, the neighbors all said hello while they hid their beer in a paper bag. The community was 99.9% white --- no cultural influences whatsoever. Big pick up trucks with MAGA flags and guys walking around with no shirts with cigarettes dangling out of their mouths.
Mom loved 'real' people. She would've had a blast people watching for sure.
Our home was the only 'well kept' place on the entire street -- an oddity. It had an unground pool that overlooked the ocean. The property itself was ok, but the walkway to the beach made it perfect. Our bedroom overlooked the entire sea, but every time I opened the door, I smelled something funky. I was supposed to smell clean ocean air, but instead, I was taking in the smells of five nearby dumpsters from the private fisherman's club.
The next morning, I went out onto the deck to watch the waves crash onto the shore. Madelene went downstairs to make some coffee and breakfast, but I heard her mumbling about something. She sounded frustrated. She then came upstairs and said, "I can't find the carafe for the coffee!" She was so upset over this. My mother was the queen of finding everything in a new vacation home. Mom would master the coffee pot and have it made before we even woke up. It was her main job! I climbed down that awful ladder of a stairwell and went into the kitchen. I said out loud, "Mom, do your thing. Where is it?" And just like that, I heard her say, "It's over there in the dishwasher all clean!" And there it was, all ready to use! It was less than 10 seconds I found it. I told Mad what happened and she could not believe it. She was down there for 45 minutes searching. Strange things kept happening. I kept hearing Mom's voice throughout that vacation, like trivial things she would say. Maybe my mind went into some nostalgic warp to find Mom's words flooding back to me once again. One evening, my fever rose to 103. We were ready to go to bed, so I went into a spare bedroom to just cool off and relieve my anxiety about it. I kept thinking, "Please God! Don't let this be a vacation where I have to run to the ER because I'm too sick!" My bronchioles were tightening up and I was afraid of the inevitable. So, I went into the spare room, shut the door behind me and prayed. I heard God tell me to not fear anything. In fact, He said, "Even if every side of the world was on fire and closing in on you, do not be afraid!" And then I heard Mom's voice. "Just get through this night and I promise you, tomorrow will be better. Your fever is making you better. Trust me, mommy." My mother would call me "mommy" -- she called all of her daughters that as well. It's a term of endearment, just as Latinas use, "mama" or "ma" -- same concept.
Sometimes, the loss of someone we loved makes us lose ourselves in a way. I couldn't even imagine the thought of Mom not being in my life. I refused to even entertain the thought, even though I watched her struggle and battle with this awful disease. But I promise you, they're not gone at all. They're in our hearts. They're in a place that's far far away from pain, agony, depression and diseases. If we can hold onto the fact that there is no better care in the world than the arms of God, then we can get through any loss. Yesterday, we had quite a rainstorm and flooding in our area. Mom and I loved rainstorms. My heart was heavy all day long. I felt her here with me and tapped into the beautiful memories of she and I having storm parties or just sitting outside watching the rain fall while we sat under the canopy of the house. Simple things like that can be reminders of little "I love yous" while you reminisce about the happy times and forget about the end of their life, the struggle and pain. Remember the smile, the laughter, the joy that this one person gave to you. And that's how I'm going to choose to remember Mom: healthy, laughing, joyful, sarcastic, loving, forgiving and compassionate.
Until then, I love you forever, Mom...
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!