Today, June 29th, is the 19th anniversary of the passing of my Mother. The memory of that day is still as fresh as if it was yesterday. Bear with me as I tell this story today. I was on Active Duty for Training at Ft. Benning, GA, and it was a Sunday. Ordinarily, I would get dressed and attend church in Columbus, GA, but early on that morning, I told my roommate that I was not going. Instead, I tried to go back to sleep. I seemed to be in a dreamlike state between consciousness and deep sleep. In this state, I could see a shipping container for a body but could not see who was in it. It left me troubled.
Later that day, someone knocked on my door and yelled that I had a phone call at the pay phone. As I walked toward the phone, it's receiver dangling by the steel cable, I knew it was bad news of some kind. My Mother had been diagnosed with colon cancer on Valentine's Day and the doctor had informed my brother and me that there was nothing he could do. We were asked the toughest question I ever had to answer in my life - "do you want any resuscitation if she stops breathing." We cried as we said "no"; she was in such excruciating pain.
On the other end of the phone was my brother, tearfully telling me that Momma was gone. I don't know that I have ever felt grief like that before nor since. It is like feeling your heart is trying to burst in your chest. You gasp for air that burns your throat. I LOVED MY MOTHER! We were not a family to express emotions, and I don't think I ever said it to her. I only hope that she knew by what I tried to do to make her proud and to live up to her expectations, her hopes and dreams for me.
The funeral was on July 2, 1986; I went back to Ft. Benning on July 6th and threw myself into my training to ease the pain. Nineteen years later, the pain is still there, just under the surface, dully pulsating. It never goes away because her love for her sons outlasts her presence on this earth.
Your last question to me in the nursing home (200 miles away from our hometown) was "am I home yet?" Yes, you are. I know that you and my younger brother are reunited safely in the arms of God. I love you and I miss you.
Your middle son