I grew up never knowing my Mother, as she died when I was just 14 months old and my brother a month old. So, the few times my friends’ mothers died (Aunt Ena, Mrs. Crichton most notably), the feelings I experienced could only be classified as surreal. I felt for my friends, I knew the occasion was sad, but that deep, hurting agony was not present.
All that changed when Wilhel Wilson, My Grandmother, My Mother’s Mother, the Lady that raised my Brother, my countless Cousins, Uncles, Aunts and I, passed away. Man! The only way I can describe it is in my own Jamaican vernacular :
M I T U N EEDIAT!
( I lost my senses)
Have mercy Laad!
(Lord have mercy)
At the Funeral Service, I cried from beginning to end. I mean I bawled the living yie-water (Tears gushed from my eyes)! Yu coulda tek everybody who did deh a di funeral fingerprints off a mi shutback caa everybody did a hush mi (You could have gotten the fingerprints of everyone who attended the funeral from the back of my shirt because they all took turns hushing me like a baby).
Yu see from that, EVERY time I read an obituary and it say ” beloved Mother of” I remember Mama ( as close friends and family affectionately called her), and the heart-wrenching emptiness that such a loss carries with it.
Up to this day I cannot remember ANYTHING I did in that period of time, from April to June 1987. I was in post-traumatic shock. I wanted that woman to live forever! Gradually, as the realisation of the impracticality of that wish slowly resuscitated me from my zombified state, I took solace in the fact that Mama had lived a full, varied and exemplary life. She left countless wonderful memories for four generations of a family that will always hold her in the highest regard, and generations that won’t know her physically will also experience the essence of her being through the stories we who knew her pass on to them.
I’ve said all that to say this: To all who have lost their Moms recently, my heart goes out to you in your time of grief, and I hope that your fondest recollections of her occupy your thoughts and help to steady you through this difficult experience.