Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Guest Post: Reflections

Note: Tonight your guest blogger is my husband, Jim Gillentine, on the anniversary of his mother's death. 

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A year ago on this day, my mother died.

It was by far the saddest day of my life. My mother's health had been declining over her last year of life and it had gotten to the point that she had gone into kidney failure. I remember the call I had gotten from my sister Theresa that she was sick and it wasn't looking good. They were trying dialysis to clean her body of the impurities that her kidneys couldn't take care of. But it was too late. Her body was so weak and frail that her heart stopped twice when they were doing the procedure on two separate occasions.

So my mom made the hard choice, and decided to stop treatment and let nature take its course. I went down to see her, knowing that it would be the last time I would be able to talk to her. I had to take the bus ride from hell because the A/C had gone out on the bus, and then had to get a ride even further the hospital where my mother was. Thanks to a cool guy named David Norah, one of the many people that we know because of MidSouthCon, I got down to Jackson, Miss. to the hospital where she was staying.

My son Noah came with me so he could say his goodbyes as well. We both were able to see my mother's smile one last time. I was in the room alone with her, telling her how much I loved her and thanked her for all she had done for me. I promised her that I would stay in college, do my best to get as many A's as I could get, and I was going to get my degree and keep writing books and stories for her. She told me I will, because I always could. Writing is something that has always called to me.

Two hours later, she was gone, and passed on to whatever you want to believe comes after we shed the physical body. We were able to arrange the funeral, and so many people came to celebrate the life of a woman that did so much for so many.

She kept this family together. Her strength was amazing. She raised ten children, and so many grandkids and great-grandkids that I have lost count of them all. We all miss her. I think the hardest part for me has been that every time I got a good grade, I wanted to call up my mom and tell her I had gotten another A. Then it would hit me that I can't anymore. I can't call her and tell her how I am doing. It has gotten better as the year has gone by. The pain is still there - lessened, but still there.

I guess it is a pain that will never fully leave, but the burden has been eased by the love of my wife and children. By the love of my family, that today we all take the time to remember our mother and the grandkids all remember their Nanny, as she was called. W

We love you, Mama.

I love you, Mama.

Let me tell you, Mama: I made the Dean's List! In two years, I'm going to be walking across a stage wearing the funniest hat ever to get a college diploma, and I know that you will be looking and watching. See you then, Mama. Your son will always love you.


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