5 years

I still remember leaning into the prayer room. It was just the third bedroom upstairs that we kept the home computer, the sewing machine and all of my grandma’s collection of prayer materials. Rosaries, prayer books, Incense, pictures of loved ones and little silver sculptures from India all decorated the room.

I leaned on the door frame and watched as my mama attempted to beat her high score at spider solitaire. She was wearing my grandmas old night gown. The lights were off. Just the light from the hallway and the light from the computer were able to brighten the room enough to see my mom.

She asked me about the printer. The whole, “what plugs into where” and if she could download the drivers from another computer. I guessed she needed it for work the next day.

I probably wasn’t much help, technically speaking but she made me feel like my input was still valuable.

I stepped into the room and leaned my back straight against the wall where the light switch was. I bent my knees and slowly slid down to ground as she talked to me.

It was just another casual conversation I would have with her. Something about her reminding me to book an appointment to get the dogs groomed. Something about out day in the sun where she gave me permission to play hookie and get a mani pedi with her. We got out hair done and we bought new outfits. She spoiled me that day.

My favourite part was going to get icecream and how she bought one for the “pita d” pain the @$$ dogs too. I know that no matter how much denial went on there, Bella and Sophie quickly made their way to a pretty soft spot in my mamas heart.

With a soft kiss on the cheek and a warm hug, I quickly said goodnight and I love you. My mama gave up her spider solitaire time so that I could spend the rest of the night battling with the weak internet connection only to over spend my quota time and improperly shut down the system by flicking the on-off switch on the power bar.

I fell asleep that night wishing I could be away in New York City with my sister. She had left earlier that day with her boyfriend and I layed in bed, pretty little mani pedi and no where to go show it off.

I woke up the next day and my mama was already off to work. I called her from the kitchen to say good morning. She spoke softly into the phone, “Good morning my angel” she said. I asked her how work was. I didn’t want to keep her too long at work. But, I asked her where to find the dog groomers number. Of course, it was right in front of my face the whole time. I told her I would have a surprise for her when she got home. It was kind of a thank you for the day before. Of course, she said my company was all the thanks she could have asked for. She said, “have a good day, munchkin, see you tonight. I love you.” And I said, “I love you too.”

I went to my room and I put on my new black capris that my mom had just bought me with a blue t-shirt from Amsterdam that she had bought me as well.

My day consisted of calling the groomer and house cleaning. My surprise. Because we all know, that when you live with your mom… You don’t clean. I even made stir fry for dinner even though I wasn’t feeling so hot mid afternoon. Stomach problems. It just kind of felt like my gut was turning. But, I knew my mama would appreciate coming home to a cooked dinner after working late.

She said she would be home around 6 which for her usually meant 7. But, we would hear from her.

The clock struck 8. My dad didn’t seem to worry.

By 9 I was calling around.

At 10 I felt hysterical. It just wasn’t like her and it didn’t feel right. I normally don’t overreact like that though.

By 11 I had called the Ottawa police the Ottawa hospital and the Ottawa fire department. I had called her friends and her co workers and her line incessantly.

Finally, the phone rang. I answered in a panic.

“Mom?! Hello?!”

A mans voice responded.

“May I please speak to Perry McMahon?”

“May I ask who’s speaking?”

It was the Gatineau police. My mom worked in Gatineau. How could I be so stupid for not calling them?

“I’m his daughter, you can talk to me!”

They insisted. Irritated, I hollered upstairs for my dad to take the line meanwhile, I held the line downstairs and listened in.

They needed for us to come to the hospital in Gatineau. My mother was there.

We only had 1 car. My mom had it. At 11:30 at night I was frantically pounding door to door finding a neighbour willing to drive us to a hospital about 40 minutes away.

You learn who your true friends and family are in a time like that. The next task was directions, and nearing close to midnight I called my Quebec friends for help.

I was worried. My mother was hospitalised often.

We pulled up to emergency and really the next part kind of becomes a blur in time.

One reception sends us to another reception who sends us to the police officer I spoke to on the phone. He sits us in a room while he tries to find the doctor.

Now, usually, my mom is hospitalised in Ottawa where all this formality is not used.

Honestly, I just wanted to see my mother.

The doctor comes in. They grill us. 21 questions and I could really use some information at that point.

Well, I think I lost it. I just got louder. What’s going on? What’s happened? Where is she? Is she going to be ok?

Honestly, the doctor might not have had any other words to use but actually told me that there was nothing else they could do.

It didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t quite understand what she was saying but it wasn’t real. I just said over and over again that I needed to see her. I wanted to know where my mom was. I just needed to see her.

And as the doctor uttered something cold about preparing her body, mine nearly collapsed. The room was spinning and my heart was pounding so hard it could might burst out of my chest. And the blood rushed to my face. I felt hot and cold and I could hear my own voice wailing but, I couldn’t control it.

The officer caught my fall and handed me off to my father. I stood there, in his arms crying as he tried to tell me, through his crying, that it was just going to be us now. The three of us. My sister, my father and I.

And the time came to see my mom.

I walked through the hallway disoriented and in shock and before I even saw her, before the door to the room was even open, I fell back into my fathers arms and bawled.

Then I saw her.

I wanted her to just wake up. But, she didn’t. I wanted the bruises on her face to fade. They didn’t. I looked at her perfect manicure and her shimmering eye shadow and I wanted to find something about her to prove this this wasn’t her. But it was.

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t live.

A person can’t just die. What happened just didnt make sense. There’s just no logic.

What kind of world do we live in where daughters and mothers are separated?

No one really understood that my mama was not just my mama. She was my hero. She was my role model. She was my best friend. She was my confidante. She was my drinking buddy. My fashion consultant. My relationship advisor. She was my teacher. She was my provider. She was everything to me.

And there she was. And she was gone. But, I needed her to wake up. What was I supposed to do?

I had no time to even understand what was happening before they forced me out of the room.

Before the long drive back to our house that wouldn’t never be a home without her.

What was I supposed to do? I just kept calling people. I couldn’t even find the words to say. First my sister. Then my uncle and aunt. I called her family in India. And before all the calls were made, it was already the next day. The first day in my life that my mother and I no longer saw the sun rise and the day begin.

It’s been 5 years as of June 10th since my mama made the journey to heaven. 5 years since anyone has called me munchkin or darling angel.
5 years of making mistakes and seeking all the wrong advice.

Who ever said that time heals all wounds was wrong. So very wrong. Time can never heal this wound.

When time comes to get married, my mother won’t hold me before I walk down the aisle.

When time comes to have a baby, my mother won’t be there to hold her grandchildren.

When time comes, there is an empty place that can never be filled.

This place of raw emotion took me to very dark places. To places where I alienated the rest of my family. Where I put my morals to the test – and failed. Where I abused my own body. I went against everything that my mom wanted for my life. Because, who was I supposed to make proud now?

True. My mama was an incomparable woman. A friend to everyone. She wore the biggest smile and lit up a room. She hadn’t much, but what she did have, she loved to share. She was honourable, trustworthy, loyal. She was a mother, a wife, a friend. She was hard working and motivated. She was superwoman.

To loose a superwoman is detrimental to a society. It was detrimental to me.

There’s 1 thing that pulled me though. God. God is the hope that my mother went to a place where there’s no more strife. God is the friends he made steadfast by my side no matter how crazy I got. God is the family he has placed in my life to be my pillars and roots. God is the goodness that made my mother brilliant. God is the idea that there is life after death. God is staying strong when your whole world is falling apart. God is that idea that my mother is now my guardian angel. Today is a hard day. This week is a hard week. In fact, it’s a hard month. But God is knowing that I see her face again one day soon.

I love you and I miss you, mama. All the world and more and more and more.

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