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CJ Heck

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The Tear
By CJ Heck
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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In loving memory of Joanne E. Parrish
I love you, Mama

Mother's Day was just here and I can't quit thinking about Mama. Maybe it's because I was in the car with Robert both to and from Ohio, 4-1/2 hours each way, and sharing stories about Mama with him during the travel time. He suggested that I share one of the stories with you, so I will.

The Tear
A Memoir of Mama
by CJ Heck

One of the most difficult things I've ever had to deal with was being in an unhappy marriage and living far enough away from family that I had to take my daughters out of school so I could drive the distance from New England to Ohio to be with family for a few days. Of course, that was balanced by occasional visits from them to us, as well. It was hard for everyone, but I have a close family and we needed to be together, especially since Mama had been fighting cancer for many years.

Mama was a tiny little package -- maybe 100 pounds, fully dressed and soaking wet. She was a multi-faceted lady, having raised six children and an occasional foster child or two. She sewed beautiful clothes, could decorate like Better Homes and Gardens, loved to garden, cooked like a chef, was the original Suzie Housekeeper, and even worked as a secretary for the superintendent of schools. Her best qualities, though -- she was a caring and loving wife and mother who taught us best by her example. Oh, and you didn't want to cross her, because she was also a formidable disciplinarian -- I had my fanny warmed more than a few times!

In 1992, I had been going through a terrible two-year divorce. He had been fighting me tooth and nail and wanted me to, "Stop this nonsense and come home where you belong." I knew after twenty years that we were oil and water and it would only get worse, but he was insistent. "I'll see you on Welfare if you divorce me." That didn't happen, of course, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.

Mama was my confidante, my best friend, and my sounding board. Mama also had the same gift I had and from the time I was a child, encouraged me to listen to my whispers, not to be afraid of them and, even more important, to always follow through with them ... and Mama had been fighting the cancer because all of us asked her to, even though she had been pronounced terminal.

Several years before, Mama had undergone a radical mastectomy but the cancer had spread and was in one kidney, which was eventually removed. Over the years, she had been through every kind of chemo available and had just finished the latest (and last available) cancer trial drug. With only one kidney, the drug had taken its toll and she had lapsed into a coma. The whole family was called. Everyone was there by her bedside, including relatives from as far away as Florida, Kentucky, Wyoming , and I was from New Hampshire.

The very best medical minds in the country pulled the family into a conference room. They sadly told us that her little body was shutting down. Her remaining kidney had stopped producing urine, she was in a coma and on life-support. They told us she had fought a valiant battle, but the cancer had won. They felt we should seriously talk among us about unplugging her life-support, since that is what her wishes were.

That was a terrible moment. Daddy was still convinced he was going to bring her home. I'll never forget the look on his face as the message from the doctors sank in. He was a broken man and we all hugged him together in that claustrophobic room. We talked. It was decided, since those were her last wishes, we would have to abide by them. We would each say our good-byes to Mama alone and then after the last one came out of her room, we would all surround Mama's bed and hold hands. We would play her favorite music on a CD player, and say the Lord's Prayer while the staff unplugged the machines.

When I went in Mama's room and saw her in the bed, it felt so unreal to see what used to be such a vibrant, alive woman lying there completely helpless and comatose. I started to cry and I put my head down close to Mama's and sobbed into her pillow. After a while, I put my arm around her and whispered in her ear that I loved her with all my heart. Through my tears, I told her that it was alright for her to go. She had fought a brave fight, but I knew it was for us and I knew she was tired of fighting, and I thanked her. I said again that it was okay for her to go. I promised her, the girls and I would be fine. Then I thanked her for being my Mama, and my best friend.

Then I saw one tear. Just one single tear, and it spilled from her closed eye, ran down her cheek and melted into the soft white pillow. Mama had heard me ...


       Web Site: Barking Spiders Poetry for Children

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Reviewed by J Howard 8/13/2011
She will always hear you, as she did then and ...still now.
Reviewed by Robert Cosmar 5/17/2011
A wonderful account and story about your mother. Your writing is wonderful, dear.
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 5/14/2011
A soul-reaching and meaningful account, CJ; and a fine tribute for your mom. Thank you for sharing it. Love and best wishes to you,

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 5/14/2011
Heartfelt tribute to your mama, CJ; I am so sorry! Well penned!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :(

I know; I lost my own mom in 1990; she wasn't even sixty when she died 21 years ago. And nearly three years ago, daddy left; he would have been 78 in October. I miss both my mom and daddy so much ...

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