6/6/2024 – I Love & Miss You, Mom. Remembering our last glorious times together.

It’s been 2 weeks since I moved from Nuuanu and I’m still decompressing, reflecting and writing.

Spending time with my family.

I lived in Los Angeles for 30 years and I had not had a family since Karin passed and I lost the dogs in 2018. While on sabbatical here in Honolulu for 6 months, Mom was drinking heavily and I felt like a pathetic outsider. It was only during that storm-filled Christmas night of 2018 did I learn Mom suffered abuse as a child from her father, my true grandfather. This explained everything.

I stayed in LA for 5 more years until I found out Chris used my $100 gift money to buy oxygen for my mother. I knew I had to return to help my mother and family through what may possibly be her final days.

I arrived January 10th after giving 2 weeks’ notice to my job and my landlady, Michelle who’s living quarters were condemned by the city of Los Angeles. I was sick of LA having survived multiple instances with death. It was time to leave and write about it.

Back with my Family…If Only for a few Months

The first month or so was little rough but between February and late April, when things calmed down, on my days off, when I returned from my AA meetings and my Waikiki shoots, I would come home to a family…MY Family I had nourished for 2 months, weened them from their anger and set them both on the road to healing.

As I walked through the door, I could see them both sitting on mom’s bed, watching Matlock or Jeopardy. I would knock on the door and enter with a smile.

“Hi folks!” I said walking through.

Mom would turn down the blaring television.

“Hi CJ” they greeted me as I arrived.

“How are you guys?” I asked, sitting at mom’s feet, careful not to sit on her swollen legs.

“Good dear.” Mom would say. “How was your meeting? Did you see that girl you like?”

“She wasn’t there.” I replied.

“That’s too bad.” Chris said. “Maybe she will be there next time.”

“Maybe.” I replied. “Can I get you folks anything before I get to bed?”

“We should be ok. They replied.

“Call me if you need me.” I said as I stood up “Good night my beloved family.”
“Good night, CJ. They answered back.

These were the best times of my life, lost time with my long-lost family. Somehow, I pulled it off.

Precious Time with Mom

I had mom walking twice a day, recovering and loving us all, cooking reading her gossip rags. I truly though she was on her way back. We cooked chili in the Kitchen together a few times, teaching me her secret family chili recipe.

“I love you so much, Mom!” I said as we poured chili beans into the pot.

“I love you, too, CJ.” She said smiling, holding my had while she held onto her walker. “I’m so glad you’re here with us. I’m so sorry for getting upset, earlier.”

“It’s ok, Mom.” I said giving her kisses across her face. “It’s good to be here. You have lots of anger with my brother and it projects on me. I knew it would wear off with love, mom.”

Midnight Meetings with my Beloved Mother

I found myself looking forward to my little meetings with mom after work. As I would walk home after midnight, I would hear Foster the People’s Pumped-up Kicks.

Daddy works a long day.
He be coming home late, and he’s coming home late.
And he’s bringing me a surprise
‘Cause dinner’s in the kitchen and it’s packed in ice.
I’ve waited for a long time”

Chris would bring home a warm meatloaf and a bunch or two-of bananas so I would have 3 for my lunch the next day.

I would knock softly and as I opened the door, her eyes opened wide and a big smile would come to her face. I would smile back.

“Did you get my chili beans for tomorrow, dear?” mom would ask in excitement.

I held up the brown bags and pulled out a can of chili beans, La Victoria and a big yellow onion.

“I got everything we need for our chili cook-off, mama!” I said, sitting gently at her feet.

“Oh good, CJ!” she said with a big grin. “How was your work?”

“Busy, mom.” I said. “Shall I rub your legs?”

“Oh please.” Mom said, moaning. “I’ve been waiting all day. So painful in my legs.”

“My pleasure mom.” I said, reaching under the covers. Her legs were cold and swollen from water retention. “How’s that, mama?”

“Ooohh that feels so good.” She said in relief. “Thank you, my son. I’m so glad you’re here.”

“I’m glad I could be here, Mama.” I said, rubbing life back into her.

She lied back and relaxed. For those few minutes, seemingly for hours, I made Mom’s pain vanish, if only for a little while. It was during these precious moments, as warmth returned to my mother’s legs did, I realize my 4,000 mile trek from Los Angeles was the absolutely the correct decision. We needed these moments, alone with my mother, atoning together, healing together. Mom and son love have now come full circle

I finally stopped breaking down when I think about her and think about our positive times.

But, I can still hear her screaming in pain through the walls back on Nuuanu, the main reasons I had to leave.

“CJ!” She would shriek. Please move my arm and roll me over!”

Sometimes she would call my phone, but after she lost movement, all she could do is call out, softly.

I did my best as her voice grew faint and her energy slipped away. We all knew, she did not have much time left. She stopped eating, either because she wanted to go or she had some kind of infection. It was at this point she agreed to go into the hospital, buying her more time with us.

My brother’s mind had deteriorated into a vindictive, raging FOX news segment that didn’t seem to sync with reality.

“Reality means nothing.” He told me. “It’s what I perceive.

“Ok” I said.

After that statement, I knew I had to leave.

I miss Chris. I miss my family, both of them, but I have my own life and it’s time to live whatever time I have left.

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