After her diagnosis, Mommy moved in with me, and we spent the last six months of her life together, quietly fighting the cancer, but also going down memory lane, remembering our times together. We had wonderful conversations. I kissed my Mother a thousand times and told her how much I loved and appreciated her. She did the same to me. Toward the end, I often layed in bed and spooned with Mommy with my arm wrapped around her and holding her close and firm, but gently because she was so fragile by then. As I cuddled with Mommy, quietly weeping, I prayed for a different outcome, but sadly we both knew what the outcome of her illness would be. Mommy accepted it way before I did. She was strong in that acceptance, satisfied in the life she’d lived, calm and not afraid. Mommy worried about leaving me because she knew her death would devastate me, but our roles reversed at the end when I became her caretaker, feeding, bathing, and dressing Mom, tucking her in at night, whispering “I love my girl,” and she, in a quiet voice, saying, “I know you do honey, I love you too.” The day that she died, I climbed in bed with her because although she wasn’t able to speak, she was anxious, her arms flailing about. I held her close, gently caressed her face and whispered it was O.K. to go to sleep, that I’d be waiting for her when she woke up. Seven hours later, she died peacefully in her sleep. Mommy was simply, an extraordinary woman.
I saved some voice messages that Mommy left on my cell phone not knowing at the time how much they would come to mean to me. I wish I’d saved more! Sometimes, I play those messages. To hear Mommy’s voice, so happy and laughing, telling me she loved me. Wow! What a blessing! What a gift. Mommy was so vibrant and happy and alive in those messages!
It's been often said, we can pick our friends but not our relatives. Well, if I had to pick, I'd choose Johnnie Hubbert to be my mother over and over and over again. I learned to love, unconditionally, from my Mom.
If you are fortunate enough to still have your Mom, kiss her! Hug her tightly! Tell her how much you love her and how much she means to you. Send her flowers. Take her to lunch. Go on a Mother-Daughter road trip! Make memories that will last a lifetime, generation after generation. Cherish each and every moment.