Over the last couple of years my mom and I had several disagreements, mainly regarding my youngest brother, who bled her dry financially. I explained to her several times that by continuing to give him money she was enabling his behavior and that she was going to have to cut the cord and force him to grow up.
I was trying to convince mom to put herself first and that she couldn’t help him anymore. He couldn’t just randomly show up and leave his kids with her. She couldn’t just hand over cash any time he needed it. She was on a fixed income. She had to focus on herself to survive.
These were words my mother couldn’t comprehend. She was the mom and not helping her baby was breaking her.
Of all the ways our final conversation could have gone wrong, it ended up being hilariously typical.
Mom had surrendered her license 18 months ago due to her failing health. I had been driving her everywhere she needed to go. Picking up her medication. Picking up random things she needed from the store.
I received a text that day saying she had a prescription ready. I stopped at CVS after work and picked up her insulin. I then stopped by her place and dropped it off. Normally I would hang out for a couple of minutes and talk to her, and she would usually have a few things she needed me to do.
But not on this night.
This night I tucked the insulin into its shelf in the fridge before she told me she couldn’t talk because, “I need to go to the bathroom.” This is funny because so many stories involving my mother revolve around her being in the bathroom. Well, that’s not true. Just this one. But it counts as many.
“Okay. Love you, mommy,” I said as she hurried toward her bathroom.
“Love you, too,” she replied as she disappeared behind the painted drywall.
And that was the last time I saw her alive.
There are millions of words in the English language, but if I’d have known those would be the last words I would ever get to say to her those are the exact words I would have chosen. Because mommy.
I had to go to CVS today to pick up my own medicine. And on the drive home I cruised by her apartment where I’d sometimes see her on the sidewalk taking a stroll. She wasn’t there, but I still saw her there in my mind’s eye.
Love you, mommy. Miss you. So, so sorry I couldn’t help you.