Day Thirteen


It’s evident that the Whoa! Susannah page has taken an ominous turn. Maybe it seems I’m playing this orphan card for all it’s worth. Maybe I should just take a break entirely from the world of writing until I find my funny. Maybe I should keep the sadness and grief I’m experiencing solely in my personal journal instead of sharing it with others. Maybe I should be doing a lot of things differently right now. Maybe I don’t even know what I’m doing right now.

But my purpose in writing- whether it is a humorous rant on Sam Walton’s greasy grocers or my witty observations on parenting and marriage- has always been to make others feel something. It’s always been my mission- from the first blog post and article I published- to help people relate and know they aren’t alone. And that’s the reason why I’ve chosen to publicly document my latest struggle with losing my mother, although it’s depressing as Hello Dolly. (My mother always said that phrase, ex: “What in the Hello Dolly is that lady wearing?”)

So I’m going to share some more of my feelings on this incredibly shocking loss that I’m enduring- as the two week mark approaches- in hopes for others- for you, if you’ve lost a parent or loved one- to know that you aren’t alone. And in some selfish way, to receive encouragement that helps me know I’m not alone, either.

I’ve struggled quite a bit with the last conversation my mother and I had on the day before she died. We had an argument, albeit a petty and ridiculous one in which I knew-we both knew– that we would make up within a day or so. See, my mama and I were so incredibly close, and so incredibly similar, that we couldn’t help but argue from time to time. We never had falling outs in which we disowned one another or hit below the belt with our words or went more than a day or two without speaking, but we bickered. We loved one another so passionately, and we argued so passionately, the same way Italians are often stereotyped as doing, although we are of English and Jewish and Sioux-tribe decent.

The last words I said to my mother over the phone were, “I’m done, Mama. I am done.” And this was in response to a petty disagreement that we’ve had many times in the past, and I was simply telling her I was so over arguing about it. She was tired of arguing about it, as well, but it still seemed to surface from time to time.

And I’m sure you’re dying to know what our infamous argument was about, but I can promise you it was so silly and ignorant and unimportant that it isn’t worth your time or mine in explaining it.

I told her I was done, and then I hung up the phone. I proceeded to pray most of the day about what I’d said, maybe feeling guilt for talking to my mother that way, and also asking the Lord to change my mother’s opinion about the situation so we would quit bringing it up. I prayed heavily for that, and I had every intention to call her the next day once I’d cooled down and make things right- that is, if she didn’t call me first. Because one of us never let our disagreements go too long- we always called each other and apologized or acted like it never happened within a day or two. We loved one another too much to let things fester.

Mama was supposed to go to Destin to visit my sister, and I figured I would call her on her drive down and see if she was okay. I would tell her I was sorry for losing my temper, and I assumed she would say the same. We would talk about how excited she was to visit the beach, and I would tell her to send me lots of pictures and have a great time. We would exchange “I love yous” and all would be right in our world again until we disagreed over something incredibly asinine next month.

wpid-img_20151003_230753.jpgBut that never happened because she went to bed the next night and never woke up. And soon as I learned that she was gone, I went into my closet, alone, and talked to her as if she was right there. “I’m so sorry, Mama. I’m so sorry my last words to you were, “I’m done.” I’m so sorry for any time I upset you. Please forgive me, Mama. You are my heart. You are my everything. Please, God, let her forgive me.”

I cannot explain what happened in that closet, but I felt as if my beautiful and forgiving mother was right there with me. It was a presence that I’ll never be able to explain. In the days after, I doubted that I had felt her presence or her forgiveness. I told myself that I made it all up in that moment to ease my guilt, but it was too powerful of a feeling for me to have conjured it in my mind. I have to believe that what I experienced in my closet was God-ordained. I have to believe she heard me apologize, and I have to believe she accepted it. I have to believe that or I simply won’t be able to function.

Does anyone remember the tune, “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics? I’ve thought of that song often in the last 14 days. And I’m telling you- if you are still blessed with your mother and father- tell them what they mean to you. Never end a phone call with your parent the way I ended my last conversation with my mama. My mother and father both knew I adored them, and my mother and I had an overall beautiful, incredibly close, tight-knit, unbreakable and powerful relationship– but petty arguments like the last one I had with my mother have left me paralyzed in some way.

Listen to Mike and his mechanics. Say it loud. Say it clear. It’s too late when we die. To admit we don’t see eye to eye.

I thought I had so much more time with her. I thought we would share that apologetic conversation as she drove her Volvo down to the Florida Panhandle. I thought I’d hear some more of her sage advice or beautiful stories about spending summers in Nashville with her favorite aunt. I thought we would spend Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking and laughing together. I thought I’d hear her play the piano again. I thought we’d go shopping together again. I thought I’d spend the night with her again and watch Doris Day or Hitchcock movies together in her plush bed. I thought we had so much more time.

I placed a letter in my mother’s casket before she was buried. It was a letter of personal things that only she and I shared- 34 years of beautiful and blessed memories that she gave me- but it broke my heart that the last lines of that letter consisted of, “I’m sorry.” All because of a stupid phone conversation where I lost my temper but thought I could make right in a day or two.

Think about how you talk to people. Think right now of one person in which you have some sort of issue. Is your pride prohibiting you from saying things that need to be said? Do they mean anything at all to you, and if they do, make it right.

I never got the chance to make our last conversation right with my mother.

And that’s something that will haunt me until I meet her again.

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About Susannah

I'm a freelance writer, blogger, aspiring best-selling author, wife of one and stay-at-home mother of two. I was chosen for the Top 13 in Blogger Idol and contribute pieces to The Huffington Post and Hahas for Hoohas. My work has also been featured in several humorous e-books, "Southern Writers’ Magazine", "The Humor Daily", "The Funny Times" and on the Erma Bombeck website. When I'm not putting pen to paper, bandaging boo-boos or spraying Shout on unidentifiable stains, I enjoy reading, playing the piano and teaching my children all about Southern charm. God has blessed me beyond measure and to Him be the glory forever.


8 thoughts on “Day Thirteen

  • Gloria Escue

    Susannah, she already knew you were sorry and forgave you. That’s because she loved you children with all her heart. Mothers just have that extra sense about us, we know our children better than they do. One day you will see this too. You are grieving and you have every right to. Take as long as you need; it’s a process. Your friends will all pray you all through this time and God will carry you. Blessings and Hugs.

    • Andrea Morton

      Dearest Susannah, it is so difficult to find the words to help you grieve and help you find your footing with this new normal. I believe that in your closet, the Lord made sure that you had time to say your apologies to your sweet Mama, and that she was standing right beside Him as they both were closed in around you filling that small space with forgiveness, love, grace, & mercy. As an orphan myself after losing my Mama in 07 – there were & are so many times that I do say I’m sorry – for the things I should have done, for the things I shouldn’t have done. What you are feeling is a part of this new normal and a part of a club that no one wants to belong to. Right now, I know that the world is still moving at the same pace while you are standing still – wanting to yell “Wait! Stop! Nobody move! My Mama just died” it is just unfathomable that this has happened. Your Mama knew exactly where your heart was, sweet thing she was the very first person to feel it. She knew how much you loved & adored her, your tidbits, pictures of her alone made us all wish we had some of that sass in our lives. Know that I am praying for you daily… Know that we are standing in the gap for you. Please be kind to yourself dear one… ((Hugging you)) your sister-in-Christ, Andrea

  • Dorothy Kirkendall Sipes

    Susannah, your mom knows your heart, and she forgave you BEFORE it happened. She knew you didn’t mean to hurt her. She will always cherish all the times with you in her heart, too. I believe she was with you in that closet. My mom came to me in a dream on Christmas Eve, just three months after her demise. She did not speak, but she looked so beautiful and glowed with a white light. She held out her arms, and I could feel the peace and joy emitting from her. These things we will hold in our hearts, until we all meet again in Heaven. Rest your heart and mind, sweet girl.

  • Perry

    Do not doubt your time with God in that closet. That is how He works, very intimately, when we need Him most.

    Your mother has forgiven you. Forgive yourself Susannah so you can better feel her presence with you as she and God hold you during this time.

  • c

    Oh Susannah, I have walked in your shoes sweet girl. becoming an orphan at 19 with a mother who was only 52 was way toung for both of us. I like to blame many of my regrets on my youth but the truth is I wonder if I even appreciated or recognized her value, her life or saw her as more than my mother. I would love to say that I had been a darling daughter, but the truth hurts and although I never wanted to admit it, your blog has made me deal with it… That last conversation. I’ve never told a soul much less written it, because like you, it was one of those things that would be made better in the morning. but the morning did not bring me that opportunity. so with a heavy heart and 30 + years of regretting that last conversation, I am encouraging you and me both to move on.I am so thankful like you, for a mother who loved her family,tried her hardest, and stuck by each of her girls and her husband no matter what the circumstances.I wish I had known her better. I wish I had known her as an adult, but I wasn’t yet. and I wish I had not given her so much grief and worry and sadness. and I wish that my last words to her had been in love and not anger or frustration.
    And like you, the depression has been overwhelming and it has affected many areas of my life. I have lashed out at God for taking her so young for not letting her enjoy retirement years and grandchildren and traveling and doing something that she wanted to do other than work and parent e
    and take care of the house and the cooking and other people.
    i feel was cheated from mainly having my mother e
    at important times like when I was pregnant, when I had my two precious children, when I almost died 13 weeks after giving birth to my second child, and especially all the firsts with my babies who are now adults. but the one nagging pain is that I continue to regret…those last words, that last conversation, and not ending that phone call with I love you.
    I have felt her presence, seen her face in my dreams, and try so hard to have peace about my relationship with her. the one thing I have learned is to always say I love you. always. even when there are hurt feelings or frustrations or arguments don’t ever let those silly things make you have a lifetime of regrets.
    I wish you the best in your journey without your mother physically being there…may her spirit live on through you and the multitude of happy memories you shared.

    • Susannah Post author

      I truly cannot tell you how much I appreciate you sharing this with me. You’ve comforted me in such a way that I can’t even explain. I cherish your message and your story so much and will read it often. May God bless you always and comfort you as well. Thank you again.

      • cyndijane

        thank you for taking the time to read and respond. sorry for all the typos, etc. I was driving and using voice recognition…

  • Stefani

    Today is my day thirteen. I took care of my mom since July 2014, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Day thirteen hurts just as much as the first.

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