Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece
I believe that love when expressed sets you free.
As I lay there on the bed curled up like a fetus in a womb, my mother lay on a hospital bed fighting breast cancer for her life. All my life, she was the personification of strength, hope, love; but now she lay there dying.
My family was made up of so many odd pieces and my mother was the bond that joined every piece together. She permeated all our lives and her seeming omnipresence was subtle but real. When I was about to enter junior high school my mother had just finished law school and accepted a job in a state twelve hours away. She would come home on some weekends and on every special occasion, she was there; the moments in between she filled with phone calls. I remember practically waiting in line with my brother and sisters to talk to her on the phone. She would leave instructions for my father, and then ask to speak to my brother, next she would speak to me and my two younger sisters would follow. This is how the long distance relationship began; this is how it was for a family trying to make ends meet.
In spite of this arrangement, I associate every important moment with her presence because some how she was there. Her smiling face was an ever-present fixture in the mental pictures that my memories were made up of. High school in Nigeria for most kids meant going away to boarding school, and my siblings and I were no exceptions. In the six years that followed, we perfected the cycle of staying at home for three months and going to school for the remaining nine. Consequently, my relationship with my mother became essentially a series of occasional letters, surprise visits at school and the better part of the three months I got to spend at home. Nevertheless, she was the first person I’d call for anything, she would be the first responder in any crisis that I or any of my siblings would have had to deal with.
After high school, things began to work out in a way that led me to believe that for once we could live like a family; my brother, my sisters, my parents and me, devoid of the additional human traffic of relatives and family friends. This belief would not last very long, because shortly after, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Initial tests and treatments proffered false hope and for a few months she seemed to be getting better. Then the pains started, the unspoken silence testifying to the inevitable began to seep in, in her eyes I could see her slipping away.
On a cold February morning I felt a disconnection. I felt like the emotional umbilical cord had been severed. The most important woman in my life was gone. I loved my mother, I LOVE! my mother, but I never once told her.
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