Four years ago today, I went in to wake mama for breakfast, and Jesus had come to take her home, to be with Him and to see daddy.
It's still so very hard to talk about that day. I know that her home going was something that mama had been praying for, she was tired, sick and missing my daddy. She felt that she was a burden to us and nobody ever came to see her.
I still remember my face was numb, something that happens when I'm in shock, I kept calling her.... "mama? mama?" I told Meredith to go and get her daddy, she was right behind me, and I could hear her crying as she ran down the hall. I touched mama, she was warm, so she hadn't been gone long. I remember her calling me the night before, and asking me who the man on the couch was? I had assured her that there was no man on the couch, but it must have been Jesus. Daddy saw an angel a few days before he went home.
I kissed mama's face and kept saying "mama, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. You were a wonderful mama, I'm so sorry!! Thank you for everything you did, I love you mama! I'm so very sorry, mama! mama!"
Ronnie came running into the room, with tears in his eyes and a look of shock, Meredith was sobbing. I looked at him and said.... "my mama is gone!"
The night before, Cookie and Mark were here. We were talking and laughing about good times, never knowing that this would be our last time together with mama. The protective wall that I put around my heart, suddenly was there, and I realized, that I had calls to make and things to do. It was the same thing that happened when daddy passed away, I had to be strong, take care of things, I could not break down!!
I prayed for the Lord to give me the strength to take care of the things that needed to be done. Calls were made, people came, they talked to me, they brought food and we made arrangements. I can recall almost everything, but it's like I'm watching a movie. I was just so tired.... I did eat, but I can't really say I tasted much. People were crying and talking about mama, and how they loved her and would miss her. I'm thinking to myself.... where were you? Every Sunday I would dress her nice and fix her hair, she would put on lipstick, and then wait.... and wait.... and wait. Finally, at the end of the day she would look at me and say.... 'they didn't come, did they?"
Mama could be difficult. She was strong willed, opinionated, you always knew what she was thinking. She was the meanest woman that I ever knew, and I told her that. Our bringing her here was a difficult adjustment for everybody, including her. There were ugly things said, very harsh and hurtful words. There was so much anger and resentment. There was laughter, talking about good memories, crying, apologies, hugs and kisses, looking through old pictures, sharing meals together, watching her "cooking shows" together and women's softball and NASCAR. It was so hard and it was special. We did the best we could to make it work and it would hurt me so badly when she would say, "I know I'm a burden." She was not a burden, but she was demanding. I kept pushing her to do more for herself, but she did the best she could.
I am sorry. Sorry that she and I wasted so many years at odds with one another. She was determined to make me be what she wanted, and I was so determined that I was never going to be like that. I hated it when people would tell me I looked like her, and she wasn't too happy about that either. I'm sorry that I could never truly remember the good times, without recalling the bad times, the cruel times, the times she beat me and took everything out on me. The times she was so critical of everything I did, said, wore. The times I never felt that I was ever good enough for her. I'm sorry for the times I resented her.... and yes.... the times I hated her. A month or so before she passed away.... she made a big mess in the bathroom and she wanted Meredith to clean it up. Meredith was only 15 years old and she was already doing more that any of the others, to help me take care of mama. Meredith told her no and mama gritted her teeth and called her "a bitch!" Meredith can be a bitch, but her dad and I are the only ones that can tell her that. I saw black, never a good thing, because I loose control. I dismissed Meredith from the bathroom, and I cleaned up mama and the bathroom and I put her in the wheelchair. I remember she kept saying something, but I really can't remember what it was. All I do remember was that I was so mad that I was screaming at her, cursing her and calling her some of the names that she use to call me growing up. I reminded her of EVERYTHING!! Things that I feel in my heart that she remembered, but had hoped I hadn't, she should have known better, I never forget. I was screaming so loudly and cursing, that I was actually spitting. Finally.... I pushed her away and left the room. I was sick, so sick! Sick to my very core, that I had unleashed all of those years of pent up anger. Lord, what have I done?
Mama and I certainly needed to clear the air, but not this way. This was not my way. An hour or so after my horrible tantrum, mama called me in to the bathroom to help her. When I finished cleaning her up and helped her back in the chair.... she grabbed me around the waist and hugged me so tightly and began to cry. "I am so sorry. I love you and I appreciate everything that you do for me, everything that Ronnie and Meredith do for me. I am so sorry." I cried and grabbed her and hugged her, "Mama, I am so very sorry. I love you too, I am so sorry." Years of hurt and pain, melted away.... we were going to be okay, finally. She had told me that even though the apartment that Ronnie had built on to the back of the house was beautiful, she wished that she was still in her little bedroom that we had made for her across the hall from Meredith. She was lonely and afraid back in her place, and even though we would ask her to eat with us, she would say that was our family time. We tried to tell her that she was part of our family and we tried to include her, but she just never felt at home, and that hurts me.
There were times when we would put her in the car and go get ice cream and then we would ride around. We were able to take her to church a couple of times, but she missed daddy so badly and NO ONE CAME. It broke my heart to see her waiting. Well, later in the afternoon, after she passed away, I whispered to her.... "Mama, they came."
Mama.... I miss you so much. I miss the talks we had and the people we would remember and talk about. I miss holding your tiny little hands and watching them glide over those piano keys, so effortlessly and beautifully. I now know, that you may have acted strong and fearless when daddy was gone for weeks at a time, but you were actually a frightened young wife and mother. Solely responsible for three babies, with no help from anyone cause, we lived in Cayce away from Nannie and Papa, and your support system. You said I was like a little map, and remembered how to get back home. You made sure that the house was spotless, our clothes were also spotless, and the meals were amazing. You kept us grounded in church and you were responsible for our love of music. Ronnie travels and is away from home a lot, and I now know how you felt, only I'm never afraid, because you hide your fear so well, I really did learn to be strong and fearless. Daddy always did say I was the strongest and the meanest.
Mama.... I love you so much. In spite of our differences.... you taught me how to be a hard working wife and mother, and to keep a clean home. You taught me to stay grounded in church, and to raise my children in church, to have manners and respect for others. Because of our differences, I am not the same kind of parent that you were. Yes, they have manners and respect, and they are hard working and responsible, but I have tried to be more patient and to give them a fair chance. Not so quick to slap and ask questions like you, but more like daddy. I just can't inflict that pain and humiliation of the "slap and ask" method you used.
There is not a day of these four years, that I don't think of you and daddy. I'm happy that you are pain free and that you and daddy and the rest of the family, are laughing and running and worshipping at the feet of our precious Jesus. I will see you all again one day, but hopefully not for a little while. I want to see Meredith established in her career as a teacher, married and a mother. I also want to watch our baby girl Phoenix grow up and maybe even have a little brother or sister.
Happy Home Going, Mama- Miss Maggie- Hagatha, until we meet again.
Your loving daughter,
Amelia Ann Easler (Megie) Wall