Mommy died almost ten years ago. It feels like yesterday. That cold January day, I sat with her, holding her hand. I knew her time was coming, but I could stay no longer at her side. I left my girls at the house alone where earlier in the day someone tried to break in. I had a friend check on them. I had to go. I was feeling guilty about entertaining the idea of leaving my mommy.
Suddenly, my cell phone rang. Why was someone calling me here, I thought. Everyone knew mommy was busy dying! I finally answered. “Hello,” I said annoyed.
“It’s your Mom dear,” said my mother’s voice loud and clear. “Good-bye.”
The look on my face stunned my mother’s friend sitting on the other side of her bed in a chair. He kept asking me what was wrong. But I could not speak. I was mesmerized by the call. “How? Where? What just happened?” I could not explain how it was that my mother’s voice was on that phone at that moment.
Yet, I knew in my soul, it was my mom telling me-it was time for me to leave. I kissed my comatose mother goodbye for what I knew was the very last time. She was so warm. Her breathing heavy. I hugged her tightly careful not to disturb the morphine drip in her arm. I patted her chest lightly and told her I was going to check on the girls. I walked to the door, but turned to look at her again. I quickly went back to her side and kissed her another last time. I looked at her friend. He said, “You go. Be with the girls. I will stay with her. She will not be alone.”
“Goodbye mommy,” I whispered. Thank you for being wonderful. “Have a great trip.” Then, I quickly left.
It was a long walk to the close car. I drove home. I hugged my girls, then the phone rang. Mom left on her trip. I was devastated. My world popped. I went back to the hospital I just left. My brother and his wife were there. I hugged my brother expecting comfort; no such luck. It was like hugging a rack with a coat on it. No warmth. No reaction. My brother was everything to me all of my life. As children, we were two pearls in the same oyster. At very second, I knew things were not as I expected and would never be again between us. But, like my mother, I am a believer in the best of people.
My brother left home two years after I graduated from high school and went to college in the complete opposite part of the United States from me. We seldom saw each other. After he graduated from college,he went into the military and became an officer. I went to grad school. Then, he went to Korea. It was years before I saw my brother again. He missed most of the older people in our family dying. But most of all, my brother missed my wedding. It hurt he was not at my wedding. But I understood.
More years went by. My growing family moved. My brother left the military, later got married and added on to his family. I was at his wedding. We visited. We had family dinners, which mommy directed. Then,mommy got sick. My siblings both left the country. Our sister left just because she could. My brother left because he was now in the reserves. I lived out of state from mom, but I dragged my children to mom’s every week.
Then, that cold January day came. Turns out, mom was the glue that kept us together. My brother was my brother in blood only. Gone was my pearl. Left was just his shell. He was all military officer. You know the type hard, dictatorial, unemotional and cold. He treated me as one of his charges and underlings. I could not accept this new “bro.” I do not want to. He understood nothing.
Now, ten year later, we rarely speak unless my brother wants something from me. He is unkind and rude. I feel the same loss I felt so many years ago. My mother made me promise just days before she died that we would not fight. I gave her the look of “Are you kidding me!” Her eyes pleaded with me. I lied. “I promise we won’t fight.” We both new better. It was the thought that mattered. I did my best, but I can control no one but myself. What did the military do to by beloved brother. God! I miss him.
Mommy, I am sitting at the fork in the road of my life. How do I make a decision on which way to go? You did so much in your life-why not me? I do not want to leave this world without making a positive mark on life in my own eyes. How do I do that? Can you call me on the phone with instructions? No maybe not the best idea. Guess I will continue to sit here until I find my own way. I miss my used to be family especially-my brother.