I simply planned to write a blog post about my mommy, Saleetha Elizabeth Cartwright Hamblin, and share some memories of a really awesome lady. She was 65 when she died in 2004. I think about her everyday but I don’t get sad or teary eyed. Quite the opposite, I’m grateful that she is once again healthy, whole and shining bright in a heavenly state. After years of suffering from a series of health issues, including a stroke, her thoughts and memories are once again in tact, her speech is no longer slurred and she’s ditched her wheelchair for a sparkling pair of dancing shoes. I have no doubt that Saleetha, who loved to dance, is getting her boogie on all over heaven.
But the moment I began clicking and picture after picture opened I was overwhelmed with a tidal wave of emotions that left me sobbing like a snotty nose baby. Suddenly I was the little girl who she would whisk out of the tub, wrap me in a towel, kiss my nose and dry me off from head to toe while I asked a billion questions about everything under the sun. Suddenly I was the terrified little girl who she snatched into her arms and hugged tight after I edged too close to the train tracks in a Brooklyn subway. Suddenly I was the frightened little girl who willed herself to be calm and remembered who to call for help when I found her on the kitchen floor suffering from a seizure. Suddenly I was the little girl who bathed her, combed her hair, fixed her lunch, made sure she took her medication, massaged her legs and bullied her into using her walker to exercise daily. After the stroke my Mom, my brother Kenny and I moved in with my Grandma who raised us. We all took care of Mommy and, like my Grandma, I considered myself her protector.
Because of my Mommy’s illness I didn’t get to have the kind of mother-daughter relationship that I would have liked. I still envy friends who can enjoy simple things with their moms like going to lunch, or shopping and or getting advice and comfort when everything seems to be going crazy in my life. So yes, there were and still are times when I definitely feel like I was cheated. I didn’t understand, and still don’t, why MY mom had to get sick. Maybe one day I’ll know—or not. But I am grateful that I had her in my life. I’m grateful that she saw me get married and “The Hubby” danced with her in her wheelchair at our wedding.
I’m grateful that “The Boy” got to know and love her. I’m also grateful for all of the Mother’s Days and days in general that I spent with my Mom.
Here comes that damn tidal wave again…there are no words just LOVE. I miss you Mommy. Happy Mother’s Day!