She’s gone, but she’ll never be forgotten. She’s part of the reason why I’m striving to remain mostly alcohol-free and part of the reason why I’m trying to get my own ish in order. I can’t have her, as she’d say, jumping out the casket and smacking me. So, to everyone who ever reads this, please follow Mama Young’s Words of Wisdom and give flowers to your loved ones while they can still smell them. That, and don’t be stupid,
I always expected my mom to go out like some sort of old-school G, guns blazing, screaming “fuck the police!” as snipers took her out like Queen Latifah in Set it Off meets Denzel’s death scene in Training Day with a little bit of Scarface (minus the coke), for good measure…kind of. I guess that’s just the mythos that surrounded my mom. Yeah, I knew she was human. But, through her messages and old-timey stories, I had the impression that, while human, she was almost invincible.
I mean, we’re talking about a woman who was, for all intents and purposes, a pimp (seriously, she told me stories of how she ran a brothel). She fought dudes twice her size with nothing but a broken beer bottle. She was, at 5’2, and maybe 160, able to manhandle my 5’10, 250+ pound father with ease on several occasions. She always found a way to defy the odds. Hell, I’m living proof of that, considering when I was born, she and I were essentially supposed to die during childbirth.
And then, March 28th, 2015 happened.
For those who don’t know, don’t follow my personal/other social media pages, or potentially don’t care (but you probably should, because Mama Young was awesome), on the morning of March 28th, 2015, my mother and her partner, a man who I consider to be my father, they were talking about fish sandwiches around 8:00AM. A few minutes later, she had an acute MI (in other words, a massive, “catastrophic” heart attack which all but killed her instantly). Yes, the EMTs tried to resuscitate her, but their efforts were quickly proving to be in vain. When we arrived at Sinai, the main paramedic told me to prep for the worst, since they and Roland, my stepfather, been breathing and beating her heart for her practically since it happened.
I take solace in the fact that she didn’t suffer, but it still hurts. Doubly so, since close to twenty years ago, she had a similar situation happen. She collapsed in our kitchen, and I had to ride with her in the ambulance to Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, the same place where I was born and almost lost my own life a few times, including my aforementioned birth.
Thinking back to that day a couple weeks ago, watching the paramedics and Roland do chest compressions and failing to revive her, it took me back to that place. I know that we all die eventually, but losing a parent–especially in front of you–is brutal at any age, and it’s something you can’t really prepare for. When my father died in 2008, yeah, he was 87. Yes, he and I didn’t have the best relationship. But, it still hit me hard. He didn’t go in front of me, but still, It makes you feel, in some ways, like a kid. Helpless and angry with an overwhelming need to help, but a confusion as to what you can do.
But, even with all that pain, that confusion, that want, my mother’s dead.
Speed on the Beat
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