I wish I could turn back the hands of time. I know I’ll do so many things differently. I know I’ll love you more than I ever did and I won’t be too proud to show it. These tears that cascade down my eyes remind me of the opportunity I had but couldn’t understand.
Ten years ago, about this time, on the 28th of May, our room was littered with cardboards and markers of various sizes and colours as we tried to outshine each other in making the best birthday card for a mother like no other. You looked at us with that smile I now long for and you thanked us heartily as if we had given you the most valuable birthday present. You took the cards we scribbled our childish wishes on and stored them in your archives. They were dear to you and so were we.
You protected us from all that could harm us and even on those days when we were the ones making foolish decisions, your hands never hesitated in giving our backs resounding slaps that echoed love and guidance, even as our cries beckoned on the neighbors to come to our rescue. You gave us all we wanted and more. You prepared us for the harsh world, but you never thought to prepare us for the world without you. We never considered it.
I remember as your eyes warmed with pride when we brought our report cards home.
“I’m proud of you. Always aim for the best and nothing less,” you said and wrapped us in the best hug this world could give.
I remember the day Mother Nature decided to play a trick on me in school. She sent the red letter to me signifying that I was at the threshold of womanhood. I remember your surprised expression when the school bus brought me back from school, with my skirt wrapped in a wrapper. I remember as you congratulated me on my journey to womanhood. You even bought roasted chickens to celebrate and make me feel better.
Mom, you made our worlds so comfortable and satisfying. But our small brains never made us understand all that we were enjoying for free.
I’ll never forget the day you left us. Like glasses shattering over and over again, our worlds shattered. We scattered like the pieces of broken glasses with no pillar to hold us together. You left and our worlds fell apart. We had no idea that you were the one who stood fiercely and bravely and prevented our world from caving in on us. We had no idea the battles you fought on your knees while we snored. We had no idea the tears you shed so we wouldn’t have to cry those tears.
Mum, I won’t pretend to understand why you had to leave. I won’t even pretend that it all makes sense. But if you can somehow read this from heaven, know that your children will always miss you. We’ll always remember you. You might be no more, but as long as this lives, it gives life to you too and you’ll always live in our hearts.
You were my Mother and you’ll always be. You’ve left me to be a mother to these little ones, and God helping me, I’ll do my best to walk in your large shoes.