This past week, my mom texts me at work to tell me Mama’s gone. I open my class’ s door and see my coworker and friend. She sees my face and asks me what’s wrong. “Grandma?” I nod. She walks over. She hugs me. I cry. My supervisor tells me to go home.
I was nervous about seeing her. When I’d visited her before, she didn’t even recognize me. Her eyes looked straight into mine, and she didn’t know me. What if I went to see her and I didn’t see her? I have the memories of my poh poh and gong gong in bed at the end just like her…I didn’t want to have another one of those faces seared into my memory.
That day though…the hardest part was seeing my grandfather. I’d never seen this strong man so broken. His body shook from his sobs and it crushed my heart.
Since that day, I hadn’t processed properly. I was able to tell my mind that I was going to work and she was still just sick in bed. She wasn’t gone. Everything was fine. But there was the looming question of the funeral.
Last night, I got home and my mom told me when it would be held. The seed was planted. I would have to start handling this properly. The funeral was going to be so hard, so final. How was I going to deal with seeing her in that casket? You don’t know how many funerals I’ve been to in the last 24 years. It’s sad how many – I need more than my two hands (and a foot) to count them. But this one. My mama. I can’t.
Now it is Saturday morning and I’ve cried through a box of tissues because I am oh so relieved and because it is finished. She really is gone. How do I know?
God gave me a dream last night.
Everyone was trying to grieve and put the funeral things in order but mama wasn’t dead yet. The doctor pronounced her dead but she kept breathing here and there and moving around. I remember in my dream it was almost funny because we were so stressed about the funeral. We couldn’t bury her and grieve her if she kept being alive! I dreamed of fireworks (a celebration perhaps for his child returning home). Then I sat on a couch beside my father and yehyeh came and told my sister, “kaykay, come, I want to talk to you.” My sister refused. She said she already knew what was back there and she wasn’t ready yet, “ga jeh go first.” So he said to me, “boh boh, come.” He led me to the back and sat beside my mama on her left. Mama had two glasses of water in her hands. She was smiling. I haven’t seen her smile in so so so long. I was so happy to see her. I knelt down in front of her and cried on her knee. She kept smiling at me and handed me a glass. As I cried and looked at her smiling face, she took my hand that held the glass and brought it to her mouth to drink. Then she raised her other hand and brought the other cup to my mouth for me to drink.
I woke up.
God gave me this dream. He is telling me she is with him, sitting beside him. No more pain. He is telling me she is happy. He is telling me he is taking good care of her.
I wanted her to see me get married and have babies. I wanted to have Friday night dinners with her at the table forever.
But those things are selfish.
There is no more pain in her.
There is no more hanging on.
See you soon, mama
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29: 11