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Mothers: A precious gift to treasure

By By Angela Stallings / guest columnist
May 9, 2004
Ann Taylor was shot and killed while closing the store where she worked on Jan. 26, 1981. She left behind three children. Her daughter, Angela Stallings, who was 6 at the time of her mother's death, writes about the struggle of losing her mother at such a young age. Angela and her husband, Dewayne, are the parents of three children and live in Shubuta.
A dear friend suggested that I write about what it's like being a motherless daughter, to tell about a life, a view, of what the world looks like and feels like living without a mother.
My mother lost her life at the age of 29. What I have gained from my loss is the idea that all life is sacred. Everyone has a story to tell, and we must be still and listen with our hearts. We all have the ability and the responsibility to bring happiness, peace and understanding into the lives of others.
We were not put on this earth to live alone and in silence. The sharing of a heart is the greatest gift of all. Finding one's voice and being able to share the hurt opens the door for healing to begin. I have lived in silence for too long my healing is just beginning.
I often wonder what she thought about as she felt her life slipping away. My mother was my friend, she was my life, she was my everything. When she died, part of me died with her. Young people are supposed to live and grow and mature and lead wonderful lives and then die when they are old and gray. Young people aren't supposed to die when they have small children who depend on them. Mothers aren't supposed to die. People aren't supposed to have guns to use to rob and kill.
Gone to be with Jesus'
All I knew at the time, was the fact that mama wasn't around. When I would ask where my mother was, everyone would say, "She's gone to be with Jesus." I didn't understand. I had no idea why she had not come home.
When my father picked me up to look into the casket I saw a stranger. It sort of looked like mama, but only a little. So I asked "Who is that?" Daddy told me it was mama, but I didn't believe him. So I walked away. If I would have known that the stranger was my mother, I would have had them bury me with her.
We went to our trailer to get some of our belongings. It was quiet, and mama wasn't there. I didn't want to get anything out, this was where I lived. "Where is mama?" I asked. I went to the bedroom and looked around. I saw my mother's shirt, and I touched it, put it to my cheek, and it was so soft. This was mama's shirt. I began to cry, "I want my mama." My chest felt like it was being crushed, it was so heavy, and I couldn't breathe. It was the most horrifying experience of my life. I did not know what was happening to me, and if mama was with Jesus then I wanted to be with Jesus, too.
I have been waiting for God to answer my prayers. Help me not hurt anymore. Please, give me peace. I don't want her death to consume me so. I fight with myself, and I am ashamed of myself. If my mother could see me, would it break her heart to know that I've been praying for another mother, a living mother.
It torments me'
I try not to dwell on things that I cannot change, but the death of my mother has held on to me. It torments me.
As a child, to live, and wonder, and be afraid was more than I could bear. All types of things run through the head of a child who is afraid and alone. I had no one to blame. Where was the person who killed my mother? I wanted to hurt them. I wanted to cause them pain. I wanted someone to hate. I realize now that hate only brings more misery to a troubled soul. Hate, fear and loneliness are a lethal combination.
Sometimes, even now, I imagine what it would be like to have a mother. I didn't know much about being a daughter when I was 6, but I have learned from my loss. I would always take care of her. We would talk about everything, and I would never disappoint her.
I get irritated when a daughter doesn't realize the value of her mother. If they could only know what I know, and feel what I feel, they would realize how blessed they are. The things they take for granted are the things that I would treasure. Do these people not realize what a precious gift that they have been given? I wonder if there is a lonely mother who needs a daughter, or someone to be like a daughter to her. There must be one out there who has a void in her heart that I could fill.
Love never dies
I remind myself each day that I must not forget my mother. Memories fade somewhat, but the love I have for her never dies. Is it wrong for me to wish I had a another mother? I would want my children to have someone to hold them in my absence. I cry for a mother, but no mother cries for me. I pray a mother's prayer for my children, but there is no mother to pray for me. I do not belong to anyone. I feel unwanted.
I am a child trapped inside of a woman. I live, I look, I speak, and I breathe like a woman, but behind my false exterior is a forgotten child. I wish that I could hold her and tell her I love her, but she is afraid of all who come near. She is so small, and she is alone. Even as I age, she remains the same. She is trapped, surrounded by the walls that I have built to keep her from harm. I want to protect her. I feel her pain.
The child in me has her heart open, and she is waiting for that perfect mother. She is waiting for a mother who will hold her and protect her. She is waiting for a mother who will never come.
A mother has wisdom and offers love, compassion, understanding, kindness and hope to her child. I know the importance of having a mother because I have lived without one. Being in need causes one to grasp the importance of what having that need fulfilled would mean.
There is a nourishment that is provided to a child that only a mother can give the nourishment is love, motherly love. How long does it take for a heart to heal? It's been 23 years since my mother's death and the pain is still as sharp as it was when her death was new. I have seen people who have experienced the death of a loved one and still be able to live a normal life without them. I want to know the secret, why can't I let go?
I want to have a mother to talk to. I long for the comfort that only a mother can offer, I long to say "Mama. I love you."