I was only eight when the grim reaper came and took my mother by the hand. On November 22, 1965 my mother's life abruptly ended. The memories of this event are so vivid and haunt me to this very day. She died on a Tuesday, two years to the day of the assination of JFK..I even have vivid memories of that, especially those clomping horses that were pulling the wagon carrying the president's body.
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When my Mom left, my life was in total chaos. Her mother, my grandmother, which we lived with, lapsed into a grief enduced insanity. Me, being only eight, I had to make the preparations for my mom's funeral, along with the guidance of a family friend.
My Mom taught school, so we lived with her, so my grandmother could baby-sit me while my Mom was teaching. My father was in the Navy, and only came home on leave.
The Friday night before she died, is something I will never forget. I slept with my grandmother, as I was a fraidy cat of sorts. About 1:00 A. M. my mother came running into my grandmother's bedroom, with a look of sheer fear on her face and as white as chalk. She said," Don't you see them? They say they have come to take me home!
My grandmother finally calmed my mother down enough so we could all go back to bed. But the feelings of anxiety and anticipation remain with me until this very day. My mother always took a bus every Sunday to the city she taught in. She rented a room through the week to be close to her work.
I never went to the bus station with my Mom, but that Sunday she asked me to come. So I went and when we got there she did the strangest thing, she leaned down and kissed me, she told me to be good to my grandmother because she was going away. She wanted me to promise her I would finish school and make something out of my life. I agreed, never suspecting she was about to embark on a journey into oblivion.
The next day, Monday, was like any other. I went to school and came home as usual. At 8:30 P. M. I was watching Here's Lucy my favorite television show and I wasn't expecting what happened next. Our washing machine was in the hall, and beside the machine we heard something like a brick hit the floor. Bang! My grandmother and I went to see what it was, but there was nothing there. Possibly a sign for the unthinkable that was about to happen?
Tuesday, I get up and go to school like any other day. At exactly 10:00 A. M. I had just finished a math test, walked up to put it on the teacher's desk, looked in the hall, and saw my grandmother crying and talking to the principal. I then had an idea there was something wrong with my Mom. But I dismissed this idea because this was something I did not want to think about.
I went with my grandmother to the hospital in the town where my Mom worked. It was told to us my Mom had a stroke. Same as I did when I was thirty-five. I survived, but my Mom did not. We were told she collapsed in the hallway of the school at which she taught.
She was in a coma a mere two hours. At 12:35 P. M. my mother slipped into the inevitable unknown. They let us see her after her death and that is something I will never forget. At this time my grandmother lost it and had to be taken out of the room, with the support of two men she had to lean on.
That is one memory that is branded into my very soul. This will haunt me until the day I take my turn to walk into oblivion. Knowing when this happens, I will see my Mom again. My mother, the one that gave me life, to this day I love her with all my heart.