It was five years ago today; I walked alone to the entrance of Royal Victoria Hospital – on the sidewalk leading to you. But you were not there… you were already walking beside me; You were already holding my hand. The sidewalk was cold and wet. There was no sun. I felt abandoned. You would never do that; That was my choice to feel that way.
You never left me, Mom. Not before now. Whenever I had a bad day – I could call you. I would cry to you. I never knew how that must have felt. You were always strong, always comforting, always there. You rejoiced in my celebrations. I would never tell anyone else the things I told you as I feared they would think I was bragging. But you – you celebrated with me. You were proud of me. You told your friends about me. When I was upset, you would comfort me and tell me things I wanted to hear – not what were right – but what I needed to hear until I came to my own senses. You knew what was best. We fought. You apologized – even when you were not wrong.
This morning I walked with you once more. It was five years ago today. I wondered if anyone thought me to be crazy as I spoke “out loud” with you. I needed to hear myself speak so that I knew I was not dreaming. To be honest, even after I spoke, I still wasn’t certain if that made a difference. The sidewalk was cold and wet. There was no sun. I was hastened back to the entrance of RVH in my mind. I knew you would not be there.
But you were. At least, what looked like you … I said good-bye. You didn’t hear. You didn’t answer. You didn’t smile. You didn’t give me a hug. You didn’t smile… you did nothing. With your eyes closed, I could not see the blue that once held hearts captive. I could not hear your laughter when you played with our children. I could not hear you sing. “Good-night, Irene”, you would once sing. But I said good-bye. You never did. There was a reason. You never left.
You are in my heart. You do still feel my joy. You do still rejoice with me.
Another good check -up, Mom. I am still in remission. I am still walking, Mom. The cold, wet sidewalk doesn’t seem so bad when I think of you. The sun doesn’t need to come out when I think of you. When I think of you, I hear your voice, I see your smile, I am comforted by your presence.
I’m still standing, Mom.
Five years ago today, I said good-bye. Today – I am saying good morning. I may have said good-bye, but you never left me.
And I – will never say good-bye again.