The memory of that day will always be indelible. The time following it remain charred and broken. When we said good-bye, we had no idea that it would be our last.
It happened so long ago. The day began with such tension. The reasons for the arguments were nothing but normal things between mother and daughter. They were silly reasons for harsh words and the silent treatment. We spent the entire day avoiding and ignoring one another.
Then, just like that, at the end of the day, we reconciled. I felt a strange urge to tell her that I loved her. I said it with such intensity. She replied the same, in the sincere, motherly, loving tone that I cannot forget. Those were the last words we had said to one another. Some time later, she was gone.
In the time following, I found myself playing the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” game. I could have been a better daughter. I should have apologized earlier. Maybe I would have had more time with her. It was a tortuous process, and I often found myself stuck in it. There was always something missing. Growing up without her was not easy. I found myself feeling lost because I didn’t have what my friends did with their mothers. I didn’t have the same support system that their mothers gave to them. I didn’t have a female figure to confide in during those teen years.
As time passed, the wounds healed somewhat, and in some way, became callused. Now and then, I would feel the pain, but I had learned to accept what was. For so many years, I could tell people my story without breaking down. It was just a part of my life.
When I became a mother, the pain and the intensity returned. I could never share this experience with her. I could not ask her about her pregnancies. I would never hear any of her lessons or advice. She would never hold my son or tell him of my childhood. He would never know her in any other way than a photo or random stories.
So much time has passed, and my time with her was short. There are only so many short stories you can tell. Our last story will always be difficult to tell. It cannot be erased, and I can never forget it. The only solace I have are the last words we said.