|My Momma - Myrtle Lee Walker|
Nearly twenty-three years ago a very special person in my life passed away; Momma. She was only 54 years old, I was 19. She died from complications from brain aneurysm surgery. I have never forgiven God for that. I was very close to my mother. I was her baby of seven kids. Her passing had the most devastating and profound effect on my life. One which I am still recovering from.
I'll never forget three phone calls I received during that short period of time.
The first I received while I was still living in Phoenix. My (then) wife, some friends of ours, and my kids had all went to dinner. The men and women rode back home in separate cars. I had the girls with me (Amanda & Aletha). I arrived home first, but didn't have a key. I kept hearing the phone ring but couldn't answer it. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Glynis arrived with the key. As soon as I stepped through the door, the phone rang again. It was my dad. He said Mom had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.
The second, I received early one morning about a week later from my sister Janet. She was staying with Mom while she recovered from surgery. She said that mom was having a hard time walking and talking. I rushed over and found my Mom lying on the couch. I knew immediately that something was wrong. I told my sister to call the ambulance. I sat down and held my Mother in my arms. She could barely move... barely talk. She forced a hand to my face and looked at me lovingly, as she always did, with those motherly eyes and said, "Michael, my baby Michael." Those were the last words she ever spoke.
The final call came 8:37 AM on June 6th 1989. My mother was in ICU, in a coma. She had progressively slipped deeper and deeper into a coma over the past few days; her body functions all but running on machines. They called to tell us they were going to take her off the machines (per our wishes) that day, and to come and pay our respects beforehand. When we arrived she was already gone. They lied. They didn't wait for us.
I was the first one in the room. It was cold and dark; silent. There was a cleaning lady in the room sweeping the floor in the dark. My mother had a presence that was undeniable. I knew immediately when I stepped into that room that she was no longer there. I walked up, lightly placed my hand on hers, and kissed her forehead before leaving the room.
My mother was some kind of special. She never met a stranger and her smile was like the sun. Her heart was more precious than gold. Her children and grandchildren were her world. My biggest regret is that my children will never know her as I did.
For twenty years I had searched endlessly for the right words to describe my mother and what she meant to me... to my family. Nothing seemed adequate. The English language can be a poor facilitator of words sometimes. Finally after all that time, late on the twentieth anniversary of her death, some words forced themselves out. They still seem poor, and inadequate. Nonetheless, I share them with you.
“Michael, my baby Michael,”
Your last words.
Why won’t you speak to me anymore?
I held you in my arms,
Eyes closed forever.
Why wont you wake up?
Twenty years ago today
You slipped away.
Why did you leave me?
They put you in that wooden box,
They pulled away.
Where did you go?
They say you are in heaven,
With the angels.
Will I ever see you again?
Michael A. Walker
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