It’s true what they say, you never know when it’s going to be the last time you see someone, the last day that you ever spend with them. It was a Monday night, April the twelfth of 2014, my mom and I had just moved back up north from Flint that past August of 2003, so that my mom could be with her husband who’d just gotten out of prison. I wasn’t exactly happy about this move, as it would be taking me out of Flint, out of the city, and my crack supply would literally disappear over night. I was just barely eighteen, I could have said no, but I knew my mom wouldn’t let that happen. So I ended up giving into her and her husband and following them up north with our stuff loaded down in a truck, a u haul trailer and my car. We got high on rocks the whole way up there, each in our own separate vehicles. See, my mom had been a drug addict earlier in my life, then an alcoholic and then she quit everything completely when I was around ten or eleven. When I was sixteen though, she relapsed with coke/crack. I was dating a guy who sold it and he lived in the apartment with us and eventually my mom just said screw it I think. By that time she only had one lung, she’d had one half at a time removed, two surgeries, on the right side I believe, due to lung cancer. Then we moved to Flint and it got even worse for both of us, so that’s when she decided to move us back up north. again. She knew we had to I think, for my sake if any.
As reluctant as I was to move back up north with my mom and step dad, step family, I knew that without my mom I would die on the streets of Flint before nineteen. So I went and at first things were really bad for me, I went through some sort of psychological withdrawal from crack/cocaine. It was intense and nuts and nothing I’d ever want to experience again. Stupid ol’ me though, I had friends in the next town up, a town a little bigger than the one we were living in, and they could get crack and coke. Of course it wasn’t the same grade as the stuff in Flint, it was cut like crazy and half the time wouldn’t even cook up, but my mom and I bought it none – the – less. 😦 How sick we were, how terribly sick mentally and physically we were. To still be seeking this out, this crap that we had left one city for to come back home to get away, and it followed us, we still managed to find it. Thankfully it wasn’t as easy to get up north and it cost way more and like I said the quality was poor, so that discouraged my mom from wanting to buy it, because she couldn’t turn it into rock form. So this went on on and off from the time we moved up there in August 2003, to the night of April 12th 2004.
I knew what I was doing was wrong, enabling my mother to get crack, when I knew she only had one lung, and I knew she was supposed to be on oxygen most of the time, I knew that crack could kill her in an instant. But she was my mom, and when she begged me to do it for her, I felt this sick guiltiness, and I was so torn. Do I do this for her, or don’t I? Too often I found myself doing as she’d asked me to, and then I’d end up staying with her and getting high!! Who in the HELL DOES THAT???!!! With their own MOTHER! But I did, we did. And I dare someone to say she didn’t love me, because that woman went through hell for me, trying to make sure I had what I needed and wanted. She was a good mom, she tried her hardest with me, but I didn’t listen and I did what I wanted and that’s’ one of the things I regret. I should’ve respected what she did and didn’t want me to do, because it wasn’t much. There’s no sense in dwelling on what I should’ve done to be a better daughter though I guess, although I do.
I had been out all day the day of the twelfth, or most of it anyway. Running around to see who had dope. Somewhere around evening time, early night time, I arrived back home with my a guy, the dealer. I knew my mom would want some, so I decided to help her out since she asked me to. She gave him the cash she had on her and we stayed a little while, but when she was done smoking it, she wanted me to go up the the ATM and get more cash for her, and I just couldn’t do it. Even though we did drugs together, I still cared about my mom, her health, smoking crack and cigarettes with only one lung, I cared about her financial situation as she was a set income each month. So I wasn’t gonna let her get money that she didn’t have for this shit, out of her ATM. She tried saying she’d just go but my buddy said nope he couldn’t sell her anymore. She got mad, very mad for a little while….. but then she calmed down and she hugged me and told me thank you. I just looked at her and said, “I love you mom, but you’d had enough.” I ended up giving her enough for maybe a hit or two before we left and she seemed content with that. Before I left for the night, I apologized to her again, and she said sorry to me once more as well. We said, “Good night, I love you”, gave each other kisses, and she told me to be safe as I backed out of the driveway. I waved to her and honked as I pulled away, I could see her standing in the window of the door.
That night I ended up partying for a awhile and then ending up at a hotel room with the guy who not only sold dope but smoked it. We partied together in his room, just him and I and late that night/early that morning, we fell asleep. When it was time to be out of the hotel room, I dropped him off somewhere and began driving home. I was tired and I wanted to go lay down some more in my bed. When I got home I should’ve known immediately that something was wrong. My mom’s truck was still in the driveway, and there were a few other vehicles I didn’t know in the yard. Plus my step grandparents who lived next door, were gone. It should’ve seemed odd that there’s was the only car gone. When I walked into the trailer, my mom and her husbands bedroom was directly in sight of the front door. I looked in there and didn’t see anyone, but oddly, what I did see was all the bedding tore off their bad. Now several times my step dad had wet the bed due to being too messed up to get up and go, so I though maybe it was one of those nights. I called out around the trailer, no one answered, I check for people, but no one was there. So I decided I was going to lay down in my room til everyone got home, although I just couldn’t figure out where they all were, who’s cars were in my driveway – my stepbrother’s friends maybe? And why was my moms truck parked out front. Initially I thought maybe her and her husband went somewhere with her in-laws next door. Anyway, I had laid down and I was just starting to drift off to sleep when I thought I heard knocking at the door, I wasn’t going to answer it, but then it stopped and for some reason, something made me get up and run out there. It was my aunt Eve.
It was unusual to see her at our home at that time of day especially, since she normally would be working. I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see that she was in her work uniform, she had been getting in her car when I finally opened the door and yelled, so I went to my room to get my glasses so I could see. When I came out my aunt had made it inside and I could see she was dressed in work clothes. She told me that I needed to get ready so we could go to the hospital, which was about 35 – 40 minutes from where we lived; and that my mom had been taken by ambulance that morning and we needed to get up there. Because no one could find me or get a hold of me, I had no idea, and I’d had people looking for me and trying to find me all morning…. but I was asleep, in a hotel room, after spending the night getting high on crack. My aunt had left work and driven down to our home in a last desperate attempt that maybe I was home but just not answering the phone, or something like that maybe, but either way, she drove 40 miles down to our place to see if I was there because she knew I needed to be found. She didn’t say whether or not she knew if my mom was alive or dead or what condition she was in other than that they found her without a pulse…. those were here exact words, “your mom was taken by ambulance this morning, and when they found her, she had no pulse”….. that left room for thoughts that they could have restarted her heart, that maybe they did CPR and she started breathing again, I was hoping for all kinds of things. After a brief call to the hospital to be sure how to get there around the road construction that was being done up there at the time, we were on our way. It’s a long, wooded stretch of land between the town I was living in and the city that the hospital was in, and my aunt and I barely spoke the entire way, me in the passenger seat thinking this was the longest ride in my life and praying fervently to God that he please let my mom still be alive, please don’t let her be dead God, please don’t take her from me, that He couldn’t possibly let that happen.
Finally we arrived to the emergency department of the city hospital, parked and got out, but as soon as I had gotten out, before I’d even shut my door I think, my uncle’s wife, who was standing next to their car with my uncle, started screaming at me, “She’s gone Lily, she’s fucking GONE, your mom’s fuckin gone God dammit!!!” Instantly I fell to my knees and curled up into a little ball, right there on the concrete of the parking lot, I curled up into a tight fetal position and my mind was just gone. Nothing made sense, everything was blurry, I could hear but it all sounded far away, like an echo…. my family picked me up and carried me into the emergency room department in that position. I’m not sure how long I stayed like that, but I do remember being taken into a “family room”, that’s just off the ER waiting room area. My whole family was in there it seemed like, even though it wasn’t, but my step-dad (which I say with a very snotty voice) was there, my aunt Eve’s daughter (my cousin), my uncle and his wife, the one who had screamed at me in the parking lot, and some other people I don’t remember. Although I’m not sure when, eventually I unfurled myself from the fetal position I had curled up into in the parking lot of the emergency room. I think I was in a state of shock because I don’t really remember saying a lot, and although I’m sure I was crying, I don’t clearly remember that either, everything was like a blur, and it seemed to all be moving so fast, too many people in too small of a room, things like that. Two things that do stand out to me are when my uncle grabbed me by the throat and slammed me up against the brick wall and screamed into my face, “You killed her! You finally fucking killed her you little bitch, are you happy!!” A security guard and my family members got him off of me, and made him leave the hospital, but by that time, it was too late, the damage was already done, in that moment I was sure he was right, I was sure it was my fault she was dead. Sometime before my uncle’s violent outburst toward me, a social worker or grief support counselor for the hospital, or something like that, asked me if I wanted to go back and see my mom’s body. I remember saying no, but for whatever reason, this woman wheeled me into my mom’s cubicle and shut the curtain behind us. I will never forget the way my mother looked, lying there on that hospital bed/gurney, eyes closed, a slight smile on her face, her sheet, lavender and purple gingham with flowers, still wrapped around her, covering her up, she looked as though she were just sleeping. I touched her body, her hands, her face, kissed her forehead and cheek, and then the woman wheeled me back out. I’m still not sure to this day if it was a good thing that that woman took me in there or not.
So all this had happened, and things were starting to sink in a little more, there were still a bunch of people around. I remember sitting against the cool brick wall with my knees up hugging them, not really sure what was going to happen next. Well, as it turns out, my aunt Eve and a couple other family members decided to have me petitioned into the psychiatric unit there at the hospital, their reason being because I had always said that if something happened to my mom, if she died, I’d kill myself. With the fact that I wasn’t completely off drugs yet and my mental health issues weren’t being addressed at the time, I guess they decided that was the best thing, I don’t really know. I spent three days in the psychiatric unit there at the hospital, I got out the day before her funeral. My step dad had all of my stuff packed and sitting in the garage by the time I got out of the psychiatric hospital. I went to stay with my aunt Eve the day I got out, so I could get clothes for the funeral and what not. I remember being pretty numb, it was all like it wasn’t really happening. I wrote a poem for my mom and read it at her funeral without breaking down into a bawling baby. I remember being very surprised at the number of people in the funeral home for her service. There was no more sitting room, standing only in the back. It amazed me and made me so proud that MY mom had touched this many peoples lives enough for them to attend her funeral service.
All those days came and went so fast. I ended up homeless for awhile after, but that’s another story. The events of those days, that day, that week, they forever changed who I was and who I’d become later. To me, on that day, I lost not only my mom, but my best friend in the whole world, the one person who always had my back and believed in me even at my worst, the strongest, bravest, kindest and most loving women/person that I’ve ever known. For a long time I blamed myself for her death, if I hadn’t have brought crack home with me that night, maybe if I’d have made sure she got less, whatever way you want to think of it, all those what if’s, they can make a person insane. I’ve finally accepted that it wasn’t my fault that she died, that the Lord has a time and a plan for everyone and it was just her time to go, even if that meant it’d hurt me like hell. It’s been eleven years now this past April 13th, and I still miss her all the time. While I may not think of her constantly like I once did, she’s never far from my thoughts and forever in my heart. It hurts still when I think about what it’d be like if she were still alive today, when I think about her missing out on her grand kids, seeing them be born, watching them grow and playing with them, spoiling them rotten as I have no doubt she would. She couldn’t be there to walk me down the aisle when I got married, or to see us buy our first home, all those things, things that people take for granted far too often. I regret every foul thing I said to my mother and my regrets for what I put her through as a preteen and teen are so deep I could wade in them, but there’s nothing I can do to change any of that now. I know my mom loved me more than life itself. She always made sure I was taken care of despite our situation. She was an all around amazing person. If there’s one thing people can get from reading this, it’s that you should never take your loved ones for granted, or the time that you have with them either. You should try to cherish every moment that you have together, whether it be your mom, dad, sister, brother, spouse, cousin, whomever, be so grateful that you have them there with you at that exact moment, because you never know when you’re going to lose them. Only the Lord knows when our time is up, and it could be at any given moment, I could post this and then fall over dead with a heart attack, I mean seriously. Take your time here seriously, don’t waste it on petty stuff, use it doing truly important and good things, like being with the ones you love the most, because you’ll miss them when they’re gone.