Over the weekend one of my friend’s mother passed away. I will only call her V because my friend is surely dealing with the unfathomable grief that comes with losing your mom, and I want to protect the privacy of this moment. Nevertheless, I want to say a few words about V to honor her memory.
I’ve been fortunate in that throughout my life I’ve had a couple of friends whose moms have adopted me as a son of their own. This was the case with V shortly after I moved to Miami on my own. I don’t necessarily remember any occasion when I went to her for a heart-to-heart the way I did with my mom, but V opened up her house and heart to me unconditionally the way only a mother can do for her son. She would tease me the same way she teased my friend, spoil us from time to time with snacks and junk food whenever we’d all hang out at her place, and quietly ask me frequently if I was ok, if there was anything I needed. I always answered that I was ok, that I didn’t need anything, that she shouldn’t worry, but it made me feel good that she did worry, that I had someone watching out for me that way.
I knew of V’s health situation through my friend, but I didn’t know to what extent it had progressed. The news of her passing hit me like a ton of bricks, and it broke my heart, for my friend and his family, but also for myself. I wish I’d gotten a chance to see V one more time, to thank her for having been an adoptive mom to me. I believe she knew, but it would’ve been nice nonetheless to say it.
I read the following passage in the novel I’m currently reading the day after I heard of V’s passing, and I’d like to paraphrase it for her because it sums up how I feel.
You were traveling on the great human journey, and yesterday you broke through the final checkpoint, and you’ve reached the destination. You were a brave [woman] who lived many lives, and each life required more courage than the last, and now you’re in the next life, where your body won’t let you down anymore, and you don’t need [medicine] and you don’t crave nicotine, and nobody betrays your trust, and every mystery you racked your brains about is clear as day now, and every hurt you ever suffered is OK now.
~ Faber, Michel. The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel (p. 247).
Goodbye, V. You will be missed down here, but I believe you’ll continue to watch over your family as you always did. Say hi to my mom when you see her.