Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Day I learned that I knew absolutely nothing

That day is August 2, 2007

The day that my mother passed away after a long fight with cancer.  I remember that day very clearly.  I remember the doctor telling my Dad, my two sisters and I that there was nothing more that could be done.  I remember my mind going numb during the conversation.  I remember wanting to grab Mom and running out of that hospital.  I remember getting weak in the knees.  I remember time speeding forward. 

At that moment I changed.  We said our goodbyes, and as time sped by I remember glancing out the window of the hospital room and watching the traffic whiz by.  It was a hot sunny day.  And I was thinking "How can they just pass by oblivious to what is going on in this room?".

The day of the funeral, I remember my Dad saying to me, "We all say things to our parents that we wish we could take back.  I know that I did."  Wow, I think my dad might be the smartest guy I have ever known.  He nailed it right on the head.  I didn't realize it at the time or I guess I didn't really think about it.  But it is absolutely true.  I said things to my mom that I wish that I could just take back.  Here is one of those things:

"I never had a birthday party when I was a kid"

I would say this during visits and on the phone just to get a rise out of her.  I hereby declare that I am a BIG DUMBASS!  I have admitted this before.  I always speak before I think.  My mom would tell me all the time,"Think before you speak".  I can close my eyes and see her quite clearly saying it.

You know Mom, on the day of the funeral I was all prepared to give a nice eulogy.  I got up to the front of the room behind the podium, I adjusted the microphone.  And.......I froze, suddenly I couldn't bring to mind one single thing good or bad to say.  Hell, I thought about it all the night before.  I had things to say.  But at that exact moment I had nothing to say.  All the years growing up and learning to be an adult blurting out anything that came to my mind.  And...... I had absolutely nothing to say.

Well, here is what I would like to say:

The day I flew to Texas on a one way ticket because you called me and asked me come home now. Dad came out of surgery and you felt that I needed to be there.  You were upset with me during that time.  I think for some stupid thing that I blurted out on the phone to you.  (Was I a BIG DUMBASS or what?)  We were standing in the kitchen and I said to you that I was sorry and apologized for my stupidity.  And as you hugged me you said that its ok that it doesn't matter.  I remember telling you that you could call me anytime for any reason and I would be there to help.

When I want to think about you all I have to do is look into the eyes of my kids.  Lets face it Tiffany has the same head strong attitude you had.  I can look in the mirror and even though I look like dad, my ideas, and attitudes are all influenced by you.  You taught me how to stand up for my self and not take crap from anyone.  You taught me that when you mess with one family member you mess with all of us.

Quotes that I remember from my mom as I was growing up:

"Get up.  Are you going to sleep all day"
"Get a job. You aren't going to lay around here all summer."
"When are you moving out?"

She had a way of motivating me the way only a mother can do.  Thanks mom, I think you would be proud of how I have been doing.  Yes I am trying to think before I speak.  And I am sure that over the next few years I will have more 'AHA' moments where your wisdom will suddenly become apparent to me.

Rest in Peace Mom - I got this.  But then you knew that already didn't you.

Patricia Jean Johnson


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