Today I would like to honor my mother, Sharon Kathleen Spellman, with this post. It is the two year anniversary of her passing after her long, painful struggle with breast cancer. I love you, mom!
This post goes out to all of our mothers, especially those living apart from us in other countries and continents away. Let us never forget how important our mothers are in our (and our children’s) lives!
By Corey Heller
This post first appeared at An American Between Worlds
One cold evening in December in 1968, a woman named Sharon gave birth to me. She was young and vibrant and wanted me more than anything in the world.
On November 16th, 2008, at age 65, she let go of this world while I sat next to her, holding her hand, telling her how much we loved her and that she could go home whenever she was ready.
I miss her terribly.
Things weren’t always easy between my mother and me. We had our share of arguments (my journal is a testament to the details). But she was my only mother and I was her only daughter. We shared a bond which our petty differences couldn’t destroy. And now, without her, I feel raw and exposed, confused and floundering. What I wouldn’t give for one more chance to forgive and forget with a hug.
Life goes on but memories have their way of taking hold of our hearts and minds when we least expect it. Every now and then, a gentle sensation or a vivid reminder of my mother will bring me to my knees and fill my whole being with tears of sorrow.
Oh my children, I cry out for your loss. Grammy is no longer alive. She is no longer alive!
As my 7-year-old told his younger siblings: “What this means is that Grammy won’t say, ‘Oh, is that the dollar you got from the tooth fairy?‘ when we lose a tooth.”
No, Grammy will never say that ever again. Never.
To my three-year-old: Will you even be able to remember your Grammy’s warm breath against your golden-red hair?
To be motherless means to be put into a whole new category – one of children without mothers. Suddenly, it feels as if everyone else who has lost a mother understands me without speaking a word. They can read my mind by seeing right into my heart.
While my mother was battling breast cancer, I often painfully pondered what it would feel like to be motherless. It paralyzed me to the core of my being – I simply couldn’t imagine life without her.
Yet now that I am here, on the “other side,” I find it is so different from what I had envisioned. Life does somehow move on (painfully) yet the subtleties are all slightly warped. Everything has become gently, yet perpetually, blurred.
What is the point of it all?
As I watched my mother’s eyes close for the last time, her breathing slowly decline to a rasp and then stop, I asked myself “why?”
Why do we get out of bed each day and struggle to survive? Why do we give so much, care so much, love so much? What’s the point when eventually it will all be taken away? Someone is always bound to be left with an aching heart.
I can’t answer this satisfactorily. All I know is that when my time comes, I want a loved one beside me holding my hand telling me that it is ok to go home, that they are going to be ok without me, that my job here is done and that I can let go. I want them to tell me that what I did in my life wasn’t a waste and that my love for them meant something; that it changed them for the better. That is all I really want in life. What more could I even hope for?
My dear, dear mother. I miss you, I love you, I will never forget you.
Here is a song I wrote and sang for my mother the last few hours of her life. My brother, husband and I recorded it a month later in our living room (me singing, my brother on guitar, my husband on Irish drum):