From the beginning, my mother taught me the value of love. She never put herself before others, especially her children. The summer before my twin brother and I were to enter first grade, my mother decided to homeschool us. Since she often had pneumonia and was in the hospital, she would have my father bring us to her so she could teach us. She would always smile and act as though everything was alright because she didn’t want us to worry.
I can’t remember a time when my mother wasn’t there for me, physically or mentally. When I didn’t have too much homework, she would take me shopping or for a walk in the park. I always looked forward to those days and would be too excited to sleep the night before knowing we would get to spend a whole day together.
Soon after my thirteenth birthday, my mother got sick again. Since this was nothing unusual, I figured my dad would take her to the hospital and she would get better. My mother begged him not to take her, and at that point, I got really scared.
My older sister came over to watch me while my father ran an errand. My mom wanted to take a hot bath because she had chills so my sister and I helped her into the bathtub. She started breathing really heavily and my sister had me call 911. When we told my mom that an ambulance was on the way, she kept saying “no” over and over.
After that everything is a blur. The ambulance came just as my father returned. As the paramedics entered the house, my mother stopped breathing. I ran outside and started screaming.
My father followed the ambulance and my mom’s best friend came to take us to the hospital. As we walked through the halls I saw a team of doctors working on my mother. It was a horrific sight: she had tubes going down her throat and a doctor performing CPR. My mom’s friend put her hand over my eyes and rushed me away.
We waited an eternity before the doctor came to talk to us. His expression told me she was gone. It was the hardest moment of my life. I never thought I would have to say good-bye to my mother so soon. I went into the hospital room and told her I loved her one more time. The feelings that ran through me were unbearable. I wanted to shake her and tell her to wake up. I was angry with her for leaving me motherless.
The next few weeks I felt like I was just going through the motions of living. I kept thinking this must be a dream and that when I woke up, she would be there. Every morning that I woke up and she wasn’t there the pain began all over again.
Five years have passed now and the days are getting better. I can finally talk about my mother but it is still hard, especially when I hear friends say how much their mother gets on their nerves.
My mother was my best friend. She taught me so much and helped me through so many trials. There isn’t a minute that passes that I don’t think about her. That is why she will always be my hero.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.