Listen To Your Mother has come but I wouldn't say it's gone.
On Sunday April 29th I took the stage at Walton Arts Center with 13 beautiful and talented women.
All of us are at different points in our lives, all of us with different stories, all of us are new to this whole LTYM thing, and all of us are now closer than ever before.
For me LTYM was about honoring my mother one more time. It was a chance to feel like I had done something right. Like I hadn't failed her.
You see, my piece, She'll Need a Dress, was me telling the story of finding the clothing of which to bury her in. The circumstances in life leading up to such event have made who I am today. As well as a little uneasy with and unprepared for the emotions that came with telling my story.
When my Momma passed away I was only 19, newly 19 at that. It was a fairly regular Sunday. Except that my Momma was tired. Very tired. I had asked her numerous times if she felt ok, or needed to go to the doctor. Each time I woke her or questioned her she assured me everything was fine, she was just tired.
As the day went on and turned into evening I woke her up for dinner. She didn't want to eat, so I again asked if she wanted to go to the doctor. Again she said she was fine just really tired.
I started to watch a movie and time got away from me. Before I knew it, it was after 9 p.m. I went to wake my Momma up one more time, and in that instant my life changed forever. I opened her bedroom door and said "Momma" she didn't respond so I said it louder, still nothing. I went to shake her a tad and when I did I discovered her body was lifeless.
I screamed and I tried with everything in me to revive her. 911 was called and paramedics and police came from out of nowhere. I continued to try to revive her. Paramedics told me there was nothing else we could do but, I didn't want to believe them. I begged, and begged for them to bring my Momma back but, it was too late.
I have forever felt like I failed her. I didn't wake her in time. I didn't try hard enough to revive her. I always wonder if I had done just one more repetition if it would have mattered.
Listen To Your Mother gave me a moment in time to do it right. To honor the woman she was, and to honor her memory. Her legacy is all I have left of her and I wanted to do it justice.
As I took the stage last Sunday, the emotions started to take over. I realized about the time Stephanie said my name to the audience that I really might not be ready for this.
When I began to speak the tears started to fall. Lucky for me we had the greatest audience anyone could ask for. They opened their hearts to me as I not so eloquently poured out mine.
I gave them a tiny piece of me and they gave me pieces of their hearts in return.
Together we cried, we laughed, and we cried some more. Together.
For a moment in time all the Mommas in the world were holding me tight.
For a moment in time I didn't feel alone in my burdens.
(photographers courtsey of Megan Clemence Photography)