She opened her eyes yesterday and started to cry. Being so close to death will make you sob for all you are leaving behind. Like your mother. A mother’s love is beyond these words I use to write. Beyond this air we even breathe. A mother’s love is life. To be so close to death, and see your mother, really hurts. She cried because she saw the one who first loved her. She cried because it wasn’t suppose to be this way. No daughter should go before her mother. No child should leave before the one who first birthed them. No one should even be this close, while the one who named you, formed you, nurtured you, and loved every single fiber of your being remains. It really hurts to be here. And so she cried all morning, not for herself, but for her mother. The woman who first loved her.
To listen to her retell this story, to hear her mother remember this encounter, to even listen to the calmness of her voice as she told the one she first formed to stop crying, didn’t only break my heart, but made it explode. I feel into a deep sleep right after our conversation, hoping for this dream of a lifetime to slowly dissipate, and for things to slowly return back to the delicate balance we call life. By the time I woke up, it wasn’t a dream. This is our reality, and every single moment we breathe together is truly daring. I am learning about the necessary power of love. This four letter words that demands we say it to those we reserve it for, every single moment we have air to breathe. It’s that precious, those four letters that spell love. I am learning about what it truly means with every single day we have on earth. It isn’t as the movies portrays it. There are no happy endings, no riding away to the setting suns, or twirling around in grassy fields. Love is shockingly frightening when you come so close to death. To do it justice, to even reserve it to words, defies what it truly symbolizes.
I am learning, that it involves feeling so helpless even though you have tried everything for the one whose life has tainted the air you breathe. I have been here before, watching once as my grandmother slept, checking every single breathe, for it meant, our love remained. To be here again, to breathe your air of love, to listen as tears flow from your eyes, as words fail to come out, moves me once more beyond words. Love is a being, a radical being that shows you how to find your way back home to the one who formed you when all else seems to fail. To be so lost in it these days, to listen as a mother and a daughter exchange it as best as they could, is the purest form of humanity which to me personifies why a mother’s love, will forever be supreme.
Nneka is what we call this in Igbo, what we reserve for those we love, those we named and formed, in all their humanity, in sickness or in health. To witness the power of a mother’s love, it’s being, keeps me rising up for those I formed and named in love. For them, I urge you to keep love completely. It’s bigger than what people use to try to dominate you. The love you reserve for those you love should remain utterly untouched by them. A mother’s love is how I choose to escape from their darkness to light these days, entirely unscathed by their ways. Keep nurturing it, even in these vile moments, even when you come close to death. For a mother’s love will always remain supreme. Always!