My Mother was dying and I went shopping. What was I thinking? She had given me money and I went out; went shopping to but myself a new pair of shoes and meet Jessie, and she was lying in bed. She could hardly move. When I finally got home, Mum was so weak, she could barely stand up. She’d been gagging and heaving and I hadn’t been there. Dad took her to that nightmare doctor, Dr. Luskin and Mum was placed into the hospital. I cried because I was so relieved that she was going to the hospital. I couldn’t stand to listen to her sick noises; to her suffering. She never came home. Dad never said anything to me.
But I know that he thought I should have stayed at home with her. All I can think about is how I should have stayed home that afternoon, and all those afternoons, not gone to netball practice, not left her to that visiting nurse who came an hour a day three times a week, who took her blood pressure and temperature. And that physical therapist who made her stand and attempt to lift her leg. The woman was almost dead and they were making her do exercises. I should have protected her. I should have been there in the hospital with her when she died. But no, I was at home, asleep. Dad was there with her.
He said it was ok that she had died peacefully. But how could it be peaceful to die? I had to throw the shoes away; I couldn’t keep them, not after what had happened. I hated her being sick for so long. Three years… three years of her being sick. Until the doctors figured out what the trouble was. The last time I saw her at the hospital, she said that I should go play netball. Go play netball? That’s what I did with her; the hoop in front of the house. I miss playing with her. Even when she was sick, she would come out and watch me. She’d sit in her wheelchair and pass the ball to me. Now I don’t want to be on the team anymore.
Every time I play I wish she was there to watch me. Coach says I’m not working hard enough. She doesn’t understand that every time I run up the court, I hear my mothers voice, like a bell, only I can’t her what she’s saying. Only I know that she’s talking to me. I wish I had sat by her bed more and paid attention to her stories. Now I can’t remember them. I know that when she was in secondary school she was the captain on the Netball Team and that she ran a marathon but I don’t know when or where. And Dad doesn’t remember. Dad says life goes on. He keeps working and says he is grateful he has me; I’m what keeps him going.
But what’s keeping me going? He took me to a therapist – a grief counsellor. I couldn’t stand the woman. She was wearing far too much make-up all and you could see the line at her chin. How could you trust somebody like that? I remember one night I clipped my mother’s nails for her. They were so hard, more like elephant skin that human. She was already not completely human. Death had taken her over. And I should have done a better job. I should have cared more; I should have been there for her. And now I have no more chances. I wonder what she’s saying to me. Is she angry with me? Is she happy?
All of my friends have to have mothers who are alive and breathing. And my mother had to die. I can’t go to their houses because I can’t stand to see their mothers, or even their mother’s things scattered around the house-make-up, a dress, a coffee cup. I want to take the coffee cup and smash it against the wall because my mother will never drink coffee again. I feel angry at her and then I feel guilty for being angry. I wish I could believe that I would see her one day. But that’s total nonsense. She’s gone. And I’ll never see her. There’ll never be anybody who loved me the way she loved me. Never.