Lost and Found (part 2)

 

Sometime in the first hempty benchalf of this year, we got an unusual phone call at home. It was about 5pm, and I had just come home from work, changed and was settling down to my customary evening cup of tea. The phone rang and my husband answered, It turned out to be Bryte, my mother’s mason/plumber/tiler. He was calling to tell us that Walker, my mother’s gardener was at the gate of her house, calling and ringing the bell and getting no answer. Bryte was concerned because according to him, Walker could see my mother’s car parked in the garage indicating that she must be home. My husband conveyed this information to me as he hung up the phone, and I immediately tried all the phone numbers I had for my mother, and confirmed for myself that she was indeed not answering any of her phones. My mother house was 6 minutes drive from where I lived. I gulped down the last few sips of my tea, and grabbed my car keys to go down the hill to see what was going on.

The 6 minute drive seemed like an eternity, as I berated myself for not calling my mother that morning. I tried to quell the scary images of what I might find when I got to her house, by concentrating hard on the driving. Finally I turned into her driveway, and Walker was standing by the 10 foot high metal gates that guarded the entrance to her property. The gates were closed, and I quickly pressed the button on my gate opener. As the gates slowly swung open, my heart was pounding and my head felt a little light. I could see my mother’s car parked in the carport by the front door.

I parked my car and jumped out, fumbling with my set of keys to her house. In my panic, it took me several tries to find the right keys for the 2 locks on her front door. As I turned the second key, my heart fell to my feet because the door was locked from inside. My mother only locks the door from inside when she is going to bed, so I made the leap in my head that the door must not have been unlocked since the previous night, and now it was almost 6pm. Images of my mother lying lifeless in her bed or on the bathroom floor swam up in my head, as I again mentally flogged myself for not having called earlier in the day. My hands trembled as I pulled the key out of the door…now what?

Walker’s face reflected a little of the worry in my own head. He confirmed that he had not seen her since that morning…at least I think that is what he said. I cannot be sure because my mind was travelling into some very dark corners. To my right were the windows to one of the bedrooms, and I walked over in fear and trepidation. As I got closer I realised to my relief that the windows were open, and I could see the door leading from the bedroom was also open. The relief was short-lived, as I realised on peering through the window that there was a light on in the house. It was still light outside, so in my state of panicked dark corner existence, I assumed the light must have been on from the previous night, and that meant something really bad had happened. It took every ounce of control I had at that point not to pass out, but to call to my mother through the window…

After two hollers, and rapidly rising panic, she answered, and emerged from her bedroom, to where I could see her from the window, clad in a towel and drying her hair. Turns out she had decided to take a swim in her pool, which is in the backyard. So for security purposes, she had locked the door from inside, and because she was in the pool, she had not heard any of the phones ringing. When I was trying the door, she had been in the shower. She was okay. My cup overflowed with relief, and strength slowly returned to my wobbly knees. While I waited for her to get dressed and open the door for me, I offered up a silent prayer of gratitude that she was okay.

My five foot tall mother who epitomises for me the Jamaican phrase “likkle but tallowah” has been the force of nature that has shaped the person I am today. She drives me crazy on a regular basis, but I appreciated after that incident how much I would prefer to have her alive and driving me crazy, than just have the memories of her driving me crazy. Our relationship has not been easy, but we have managed I think to work our way through a transfer of power from her as the adult and me the child, to her as the adult still thinking of me the adult as a child, to us both respecting each other as adults who sometimes have different approaches to life. It was not an easy road, but we both worked hard to walk it one step at a time to get to where we are today.

I realised something else from the way I felt in that dreadful moment when I thought I had lost her: somewhere along the way I had managed to acquire the notion that coping with the inevitable loss of my mother one day would be easier because I had coped with the loss of my father 11 years ago. It now dawned on me (or perhaps rudely slapped me in the face would be a better description) that in fact, losing my father has made my mother even more precious as the only remaining anchor from the time when I came into existence. I am going to be devastated when she departs this world, and the only way I am going to survive that loss is by making sure that I show her while she is still here, how much I love and appreciate all of her presence (the good and the bad bits of our relationship) in my life, and letting her know in no uncertain terms that I would not have wanted anyone else as my mother. So as I mark the 11th anniversary of the loss of my father, I also celebrate having found my mother, safe and sound, and still with me.

One thought on “Lost and Found (part 2)

  1. Beautifully written … happy for the awakening – in me too 🙂 I like your analogy of power transfer. It;s a good answer to many mum daughter problems. Great difficulty however lies when you get to another stage … adult moving back in time thinks child is still a child. Age plays tricks and removes rationality. Need to really be an adult to respond calmly … and to draw on resources of love.
    Love to you ….

    Like

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