I Mother No One

Part II: Healing & Growing

Jernee: Caught being nosy.

I could have never prepared myself for the call. The Call of Death before death arrives. A couple of weeks ago, one of my brothers said our Mother is dead to him.

Dead.

She has died. No longer living. No more. She does not exist.

There had been some drama. My kid brother was involved. Nowadays, my kid brother is always involved. The level of this drama took my Mother out of her comfort zone. Over the last three years, she has put forth more effort to change than she ever has in my adult life.

I have noticed it.

I respect it.

I am glad I am alive to see it. I wish her Mother was too.

But, this drama relieved my kid brother of his place to stay. My Mother opened her home to a grown-man-son and gave her all bit by bit and one day, he brought trouble without thinking about what trouble can do. She put him out. He thought he was entitled to her home. To disrespect it. To shift the nature of the vibe she has worked to create.

He thought He was her God.

She had to remind him that he is not. Somewhere during this chaos, they phoned another brother. The oldest boy. He brought up her past. They threw years of cannot-change-things in her face and called her everything but a child of God. The level of pain she endured in those moments nearly broke her spirit. She took pictures of the damage my kid brother did to her kitchen. She told me this on the phone. The same day she told me the eldest boy said that she is dead to him.

“I am tired. I have done what I can do. Those boys will not be the death of me. Well, I am already dead to one.”

“Say what now, Mom?!”

“Your brother said I am dead to him. So, I guess he can’t kill me again. Can he?”

My Mom: Sturdy & Sure. Age 20.

I pause. There is a sense of dread hovering over me and I try to take this on for my Mom and I realize that I cannot. I do not feel what she feels for my brothers. The kind of love I possess for them is not the same. I can fan my hands about them, flick them away.

Spider. Fly. Nuisance.

It would hurt, but I would recover… Sooner than later.

But, when you Mother a being… When you have given them life and they tell you that your funeral has already come and gone while you are still breathing, that is a hurt that has no name.

“I don’t want to talk to him right now, so please don’t ask me to. I am very upset about this, Mom.”

“I didn’t want to bring this to you, but who else can I tell, Tremaine?”

With each passing day, I am reminding our Mother that she is alive. I am giving her pieces of me she has never had. I want to. I see the woman she is becoming and I admire her efforts. Trying is not doing. She is doing what she said she would and for many years, her word was unreliable.

It is not any longer.

“Eventually, I will have to address this with him. I just cannot today. I am too upset. I will say something that I will regret. Do not dwell on this, Mom. Do not let it consume your day. You are doing what you can. You are evolving. I am proud of you. I love you.”

Because I am proud of her. I do love her. I see how hard it is for her to adjust, however she is still shedding old skin and a better her is revealed every day.

“You are the only one who believes in me.”

My Mom & I. I was 18, heading into work. My stepbrother snapped the photo. Shortly, meaning, a few months later, I would move out and head to college. I would not return, not to stay.

And as the tears flow from both of us, I want to tell her that I know that statement is untrue, timing comes into play. I listen to her wail into the receiver. Her words are Georgia red clay, they have molded into something I cannot remove. They will remain as residue for years to come. We sit, breathing bits of worry into the air. I break the silence.

“I could not be a mother, Mom. That is a thing designed for those who have unheard-of-strength. I am not strong enough to deal with what you have dealt with from those boys. I am ready to kill them! I will not, though, because of you.”

I have forgotten it is early morning and my outburst has disturbed Jernee. She wakes up and shifts in her crate. I try to calm myself and listen to my Mom without filling with rage.

“They will call you and it will be like it is my fault all over again. But, I have the pictures, Tremaine. I have the pictures and I was sober. You know I can’t do what I used to. I am getting older. I ain’t that person anymore. I am not going to let you down. I am not going to let myself down. Not anymore.”

This time, our past notwithstanding…I feel a newness in her that is alive and yearning for forgiveness. This time, as she tells me of change that she has longed for, I hear regret in her voice for years she cannot get back. This time, I know she is becoming what she wants to be. This time, she says she just has to. This time… Nothing else matters. All that matters now is:

I believe her.



Author’s Note: Mothers, those of you yet still mothering, know that your children love you unconditionally. We carry the weight of our hard times along with us knowing that one day, surely, change will occur when we need it most. Usually, that’s when you do too. Peace and blessings to all of you. Happy Mother’s Day.