The conclusion of 2013 marks the end of the most heartbreaking year in my life. In August, I had been away from work as well as my duties as programmer for the Internet radio station. I was called to Long Island to tend to my ailing mother in the hospital. Her health deteriorated and sadly, she died peacefully on Wednesday, August 21st. Mom’s funeral took place five days later and she was celebrated as a woman of love and respect.
There was one final trip my mom and I took together. It was our journey to see President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. I made a vow that when he would win re-election we would make a trip to Washington to see the president take the oath of office. My mom, being a staunch supporter of the president eagerly wanted to go.
We made the four hour trip and stayed at a hotel outside the beltway in Laurel, Maryland. After settling down for the night, we got up at 4am and commuted to the Greenbelt Metro station, where we were met by hoards of people heading to the nation’s capital. We arrived at the National Mall at 6am in the morning, where nearly 400,000 people gathered in anticipation of President Obama’s inauguration.
The National Mall began to swell to an astonishing 950,000 people, all decked out in red, white and blue. We saw him take the oath of office on a series of large big screen televisions situated all across the area.
From there, we walked over to Pennsylvania Avenue where the Inauguration parade was taking place. We found ourselves prime spots to see the event on the street. What happened next would be one we would be talking about for years to come.
As much as we enjoyed the weekend, I knew my mother wasn’t in the greatest of health. But she wanted to attend the Inauguration, even though she was deathly sick. She was a staunch supporter of President Obama and she contributed to his campaign, even though she didn’t have much money to give. Seeing him in person was just her way of telling me her life’s journey was complete. She saw what she needed to see and it was time to go. I knew three years ago during her first surgery that she didn’t have much time, that’s why it was so important to spend as much time as possible with her.
To me, she was my best friend. Someone I could lean on if I had a problem about anything in life. My mom endured years of physical and mental abuse from an alcoholic husband. Despite all that has happened, she still made sure her three sons were protected. She believed in her Christian faith, and was a beacon of light to all who problems and needed help. She taught many and inspired others to greatness.
I miss her voice and warm embrace. Many people who lost their loved ones have told me this is natural what I’m experiencing but it will subside in time. But its the memories I’ll always have. Like the times we spent at Shebago Bay on a picnic, the monthly trips to Shea Stadium to see the Mets, ad driving to the Speedy Mart in Copiague, New York to get some fried chicken and potato wedges and then heading off to the beach for time to reflect.
I always believed she would be in my life forever, but as her pastor explained in her eulogy, and to paraphrase, “her body was here a only a short time, but her spirit will live in God’s kingdom forever.”, and not to cry for her. My heart still aches for her to be here.
Goodbye Mom. Love you.