"A mothers love last forever"
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A short true story about the homegoing celebration for a very beautiful and wonderful Mother
It’s three o’clock on Saturday-a cold, and blistery winter morning. I just woke up happy from a very sad dream about someone that I care so dearly for that had come back from an eternal sleep on the day of her homegoing service. I dreamed that I’d decided to run to the church. I wanted to get there before everyone else so that I would be able to practice on the organ. While running I noticed that the processional had caught up and passed me. I ran very hard and by the time I reached the cathedral the final members of my family had marched in. I yelled to my sister to get her attention! She waited so that we could walk in together. I walked directly up to view mother’s body. As I stood there and cried I decided to kiss her when all of a sudden she began to shake. I was very startled. Right in the middle of the service she set up in her casket. I became the happiest only son living on God’s green earth. The funeral directors said that it was only reflexes but when she became stronger and more determined to leave that bed of the dead, I wasn’t buying it. I said to her “who am I?” And she said “her only son.” Hearing this I decided that she truly was alive and well. Wow! What a dream to be having on this day of all days. Imagine that! And then waking up and realizing that part of the dream is actually true and will be happening this very day. For the remainder of the morning early hours not being able to go back to sleep I lay there on mother’s sofa. I’d slept there many nights during the course of the family’s thirty years in Boston after migrating there from the south. I’ve often felt that I would never have the strength to be able to attend my mother’s funeral let alone be able to sing a song or play music. The question of how would I? Had been on my mind pretty heavy the entire week prior to the service. Realizing that I was confronted with this mighty task I began to prepare early in the morning by asking the creator to give me strength. By nine o’clock I decided to walk to the cathedral because in my heart I just knew that I had to be the first grieving soul to arrive. Despite the chilling cold and slight rain my mind was made up. I had to walk the few blocks. I couldn’t wait on the family car that would be arriving in a couple of hours for the family. The Hearst that carried mother’s body to the cathedral arrived the exact time as I, and as I passed her casket which was being carried through the doors at the same time that I entered, I laid my hand upon it and said a prayer silently for the strength to be able to handle this. “Here lies my mother, I prayed, whom I am so pleased to have known for all the days of my life. The person who inspired me to pursue all positive possibilities and instilled in me the fact that all dreams are possible. Through all the good and bad I find no fault in her, and knowing how extremely dear your children are to You Father, I know that You won’t find any fault in her either. Please grant me the strength to make it through this so that I will be able to sing and play for her as I have done many times for others on similar occasions.
Of all the lives I have touched with the talent that you blessed me with, here lies the one and only person whom You blessed to physically bring me into this world and without her there would be no me, and though, my one and only true guiding light’s light have become dim, for me and many others, it will forever shine extremely bright because of the strength that she left one with after being touched by her love and kindness. Amen.” Mother was laid to rest at a nearby cemetery two days before Christmas 2000, at one o’clock p.m. on top of the grave of my youngest sister, who was laid to rest several years earlier. As the family and many friends gathered around mom’s grave saying farewell, and witnessing her triumphant climb aboard that mighty train headed to glory the terrible snowstorm that had hit Boston got worse. As I remembered so vividly how mother cried out from the family car goodbye to my sister, back then as we left the cemetery, the tears began to fall much faster as I said goodbye to her as I departed. The cathedral hosted the after service celebration and because mother was known throughout the state for her fantastic cooking and her ever- so- ready desire to cook a dish or two for anyone, and for bringing any lonely poor soul into her home to share with them a good hot meal, food was brought in from everywhere.
It was a great comfort to the family and especially to me to see so many lovers of my Mother. And also good for me to see and be among the many friends I’d met and grown to love during the years when I’d made Boston my home. For a long time I knew that Boston would probably be mother’s final resting-place because she’d fallen in love with bean-town a long time ago and had become friend and adviser to so many there. After dinning and reminiscing about how great she was, my grief had worsen causing me to want to just be alone so I said my goodbyes, thanked everyone for everything and left. Brother Precious remains were neatly sitting dead center on top of the china cabinet when I entered mother’s home. I said hello as I’d said often whenever I’d come up from the south to visit. Every time I would call mom up I would ask how he was doing, “that fool is under the bed, ” she would say. It always seemed as if he missed me just as much as any other family member did whenever I returned from abroad and I always missed him. Actually I had almost begun to treat him like the brother that I never had because mother treated him very good.
Precious died several months before mother did, and she grieved a long time over him. While looking at the can that held his remains, I couldn’t help but believe that one of his nine lives were grieving in there for his master. That old cat had been a part of our family for over twenty-five years and now he too was gone. Mother had gotten two small pet turtles to fill the void of losing him but I truly knew that nothing would take his place. The hardest part now for me it seemed was being in that house without my angel, mother. When I went into the kitchen my fondest memory of her pops up in my head of how she would always be up in that kitchen cooking that great southern meal that she knew I just lived for--Ham hocks! Collards and corn bread! And wow! That good ole fried chicken. Each time I went into her room it seemed as if she was there, also.
Christmas 2000 was approaching fast and I knew that for this Christmas, all the joy of Christmas past would be missing in action at this house. My Mother is so sweet, and just like the loving mother she is, she’d gotten me a Christmas gift. Right there beside her bed was a “brand spanking new piano” (key board) that I will cherish forever. Seeing this piano only made the grieving worst, and the thought of not having anything physical of her to hold on to made it very hard, extremely- hard. “There must be something!” I said out loud, and there it was right in her bathroom, in her favorite afro- hair comb, several locks of her gray hairs. I became ecstatically happy, I could cherish them forever.
I quickly put the strands into a small aspen bottle to save, and this is where they’ll remain. I often remove them to smell that smell of life that they still possess. Whenever I smell them she lives. Therefore I find myself sniffing them quite often. I’ve known most of my life that this day would come and that it’ll be my saddest day. But my faith in God has made me stronger and has enabled me to be happy knowing that a mind is a very precious gift, and that with it we can share a lifetime of memories of those we love, who have past on from riches to reward.
My journey back to the south, after several days in Boston was sad but very encouraging. Encouraging to the fact that she has been a beacon of hope that so many including myself try extremely hard to emulate, and the thought of leaving the one person that I love more than life itself, physically behind, and beneath the earth caused that familiar lump in my throat to become larger. But then my tears of sadness soon became tears of joy knowing that for all of my days and for all of her sixty-eight years on this earth, she was everything to me - my Queen! But most of all God allowed her to be “my precious mother.” So when I’m down and feeling low, this is what I remember the most. “Bless you Mother!”