Most young girls get to share the joys of a wedding and of raising a family with their mother, I was not fortunate enough to get that opportunity. Before I knew it, I had lost the most important woman in my life who would have been so instrumental with helping me to avoid all of life’s pitfalls. It just so happened that my mother began to open up and talk to me more on how to handle life-situations right before her death. I was only seventeen, and I was pregnant with my fourth son when she died. At that time, my mother and I had a conversation where she told me to stop seeing the father of my boys who happened to be a married man. I cried and hugged her tight, tearfully informing her that I did not know how to stop. Sad to say it but she did not have the answer for me. A few days after this first of its kind bonding moment I had a dream about my mother. In the dream I had been stuck in a maze made of shrubs. It took me a long time to get out of the maze, but once I did get out, I found myself walking across the front yard of our home. As I was approaching the front porch, my mother was being carried out on a stretcher by first responders. The first responders were carrying her towards a red and white ambulance that was parked right in front of the house. Her face was covered with a white sheet. In the dream, I walked up to her and removed the sheet from off of her face. Her eyes were opened and she appeared to be alive. I remember saying, “She is still alive.” As they were placing her into the ambulance one of the first responders slipped and almost fell in the dirt as the ambulance was parked on a slight incline. He quickly recovered and they finished placing her into the back of the ambulance. The dream scared me and when I went to tell the father of my boys about my dream, he simply refused to hear any of it.
The night my mother died everyone in the house had just went to bed. There was a national beauty pageant on the television. I do not like watching beauty pageants to this very day because they cause me to remember the night of my mother’s death. I remember hearing her call out loud to my father that she could not breathe. Everybody in the house jumped out of bed. My father responded by asking someone to call for an ambulance but for some reason my mother said, “No.” Because my mother was the constant figure in the home, all of the siblings listened to her over our father. My father was usually out drinking about this time of night anyway. It was a miracle in itself that he was home with the rest of the family during this time. She did not get to say “No” ever again. My mother had consumed some potted ham on saltine crackers with ginger ale right before she went to bed. Evidently the food had gotten lodged in her wind pipe and she could no longer breathe. I remember my grandmother pushing me aside as I was attempting CPR. She knocked me to the floor. I understood later why. This was her only child. Everyone just kept calling my mother’s name expecting her to come through somehow. She had always taken care of everyone else in the family so why would she not be able to take care of herself in this situation. The last words she spoke were “Oh Lord!” She then went into cardiac arrest and died. I would never get to talk to my mother ever again. I felt sick after her death and I cried for days. My family had to watch my boys. The day before my mother’s funeral I remember pulling myself together and I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, washing the floors and putting up curtains. On the day of the funeral my grandmother stayed home. I figured her bad heart would not be able to take it. The funeral parlor was packed with people. The father of my boys—although high—was present and accounted for. I was doing fine until they closed her casket and then I lost it. It seemed like everyone came over to the house after the funeral because the house was packed wall-to-wall with people. I later apologized to my father when I got older because I thought that I had helped cause her death. I figured me having all those boys out of wedlock put a strain on her.