I Felt My Mother’s Pain

NGSC: Kenita StubbsKenita Stubbs

I’m a mess right now! I pray that I’m able to successfully complete my expressions tonight. Brace yourself because this may be the longest blog I have ever written. Please bear with me. I have been moving and I’m blessed to have a bigger space for less. I’ve been in good spirits aside from being sore and in great pain. My kids and I played as we worked together to clear out what was left of the things we had to put away. As the evening progressed I felt more sluggish and stiff but if I didn’t do anything else I knew I had to cook. We made a plan to clean up and prepare for tomorrow leaving what was left to unpack for after school. We felt icky and eager to get “smurdalurb” a word my mom made up meaning we were getting super clean and greased down.

My youngest daughter joined me in the shower which made me happy as she explained to me how proud she was to have me as a mother and that I was the best mother she ever had (don’t know any others). She told me that I took really good care of her and her sister and brothers as well, and that she loved me so much. Throughout showering and talking about school, and as I made her laugh by acting silly she would randomly tell me she loves me. I needed those words way more than she could ever imagine. As I was preparing dinner and still going through some boxes and bags suddenly my back pain started to increase. I was trying my best to hide my frowns as sharp pains shot through my hip and lower back. We put towels down to eat picnic style. As I made my youngest son’s plate I bent over to hand it to him since he was already sitting on the floor. As I attempted to bend over, my hip tightened as I tried to bend down. When I fixed my daughter’s plate I began to bend over and hand it to her, my back then locked up and it hurt so bad that I was almost in tears from the pain.

Unexpectedly I was extremely sad! Suppressing my pain, I knew I had to press on and pretend I was fine. My plan was to hang my pictures up and make our home cozy but I unexpectedly broke down! I ran out of the kitchen into my bathroom! I was crying, had this awful feeling in my stomach and my heart was the heaviest it has been since my momma passed. When I tried to bend down and could not do it, I was reminded of all the pain my mom stayed in. I felt as if I was physically becoming her and that made me sad. The thought of having additional limitations on how I care for my children made me feel weak! I instantly felt the pains my mom had suffered from for so many years. Could it be anxiety? Am I having a panic attack? I’m hurting so bad right now, in my body and in my heart. I am not comparing my ailments to what my mother’s although I have degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis with a splash of endometriosis. All three of these are chronic pain disorders which in no way compares to what my mom had to go through.

My mom was a diabetic. She also had heart disease, bronchitis, neuropathy, high blood pressure, liver and kidney disease. She had to have dialysis three times a week. Health wise my mom had it rough for a very long time. The hospitals and rest homes were her second homes. Aside from her grandkids this was basically her life for so long that sadly we all had gotten used to it! We were used to her complaints, deep breaths, and her overly dramatic antics. It was so much she became predictable. Being that my mom was a super overly dramatic exaggerator sometimes I would say “Come on now ma, it’s not that bad”. I’d often call her the little boy who cried wolf! When she would say “alright, I’m not going to be around here for long”, I would angrily brush that off and demand her not to say that to me or around her grandkids. It made me so mad and scared at the same time! What would I do without my mama? “Kit” is what I called her and she was the only one that could make me darn near wet myself while cracking jokes and being silly. We even had our own songs we made up together. My mom was so much fun on the days she could get out the bed and be in a good mood.

I unintentionally reminisced so I’ll try and stay on track….

My mama would cook, clean, do laundry and get out the house as much as she could aside from doctor’s appointments. But when her pain hit she let you know in more ways than one. My mom was a complainer as much as she prayed and confessed her faith and love for the Lord. She always claimed her healing, however, she contradicted herself by complaining. My mom would sit crying and complaining and she and I would go back and forth about how I felt like she shouldn’t pray for healing then have doubt and not believe God for it! With tears rolling down her face she would say to me” Kenita you just don’t understand”!
My response would be “alright ma”! That was my way of brushing her off! I used to watch her cook, limping and breathing heavy and she did most of the cooking in her wheel chair; denying our help other than reaching for things she needed. My mom insisted that her grandkids should not be eating a lot of fast food. As I was cooking dinner tonight, I had my two small ones assist me by handing me things I needed to cook. My back and side was hurting so bad. My neck was stiff but there was no way I was going to abort my plan to cook my babies a hot meal.

As I stated earlier when I attempted to bend down I just could not get there… I cried so hard in the bathroom thinking how I miss it all of these years! I’m miss “see right through people!” My mama pushed through so much in the midst of her never ending pain! Although I have rods and a metal plate in my neck as a result of three surgeries, and aside from my neck I’ve also had four other surgeries. What I have endured is nothing compared to my mom having to have her toe amputated then another one then all of them. Then she had half of her foot amputated and then lastly her entire foot. The only thing she says she fought for and lived for was her grandkids. The difference between my mom and I is that she didn’t mind saying how much pain she was in. So many of my family members and I would ask who’s picking up Kit because we knew she was going to complain the entire time. Because she always complained and was “extra” I never ever express my pain. I try my best to hide my pain. I don’t want ANYBODY feeling sorry for me. I lie when someone notices I’m being stiff or walking with a limp. Living in pain is a part of my life since 2008. But that is still neither here nor there. I can’t stop crying because through my pain I realized I failed my mommy by not being more attentive and more sensitive to her needs!

My mom was suffering and I did the easy part taking her to her doctor’s appointments, taking her to run her errands or running them for her, picking up her prescriptions, changing her foot etc. I’m sure my mom appreciated it but sadly tonight I finally get it!!! My mom needed me way more than I gave. My mama needed me to listen, to be more patient and sensitive to her needs, to understand and have compassion. She was admitted to the hospital so much I stopped getting scared counting on the routine that she would only be in there two or three days and she would be out. I remember sitting in the hospital room messing with my phone and she said “you don’t really care that I’m in here do you” and I replied “ma you’re in here all the time. You’re ok and you will be dismissed in no time”.

But as I attempted to bend down at dinner I felt my mother’s pain; the physical and emotional pain of wanting to do more and be more for my kids. I’m 41 and my body feels 61. How could I miss the signs of the cries of my own mother! I often pride myself on being able to see right through people! Why couldn’t I see how serious my mom’s pain was? It was painful that she needed me more than I knew and I missed it and it hurts. I tell myself all the time I will die hiding my pain because I don’t want to become my mother. I don’t want negative attention nor to be babied, pacified or thrown pity parties! I remember being on a cruise with my friend walking to our excursion and I was hurting so damn bad and she asked if I was hurting. I said no so she asked why I was acting all stank and that she didn’t want me to mess up our day. I lied saying I had gotten a hangover from the night before and I didn’t really drink much. I have been trying not to be my mom but I am my mom and tonight I felt my mother’s pain! I felt her cries! I get it now mama! But you are here with me to allow me to be a better daughter! I wish you were here mama. I promise I would listen, comfort you and I would do everything it took to support and believe you and consider your feelings! I missed it mama and I’m sorry. I’m so sorry! As I sat in my bathroom locked in for about an hour my kids must have felt something because they came to the door every 3 minutes until I angrily yelled out GO TO BED!

So now what do I do? I have been getting by on remembering the good times… Mocking her and reenacting some of the funny things she used to do to make us laugh. But now what? Since dinner all I’ve been feeling is guilt and shame; feeling the physical pain and emotional pain my mom went through. I suffer from a different disease but yet the same pain!

Those that still have your mother please look beyond their faults have compassion for whatever it is they may be dealing with. Something that’s small or not so serious to us could mean the world to them. A disease is a disease. Drug addictions and alcoholism are diseases. Show support and extra attention! You never know what your mom could be dealing with or suffering from. It does not have to be medical. If your mom is single and always on the go and is just busy all the time, that really could be a sign of loneliness. “Give her flowers while she’s here” is not just a cliché’. As for me, what am I going to do now? It’s too late for me to send flowers. I’m in fear of grieving all over again and things never being the same. I’m sadly thinking about how today I felt my mother’s pain!!!!