I throw down my cell phone and scream, “No!” I am changing my baby’s diaper and she is looking confused. My husband comes into the kids’ bedroom to ask what is wrong. I shake my head and he knows. He helps to dress our girl as I stare at the floor. I call my sister who already got the phone call. She rushes through our call so she can head to the hospital.
“She is gone, sis.” There is silence on the phone. I repeat the details about how the heart attack happened to our foster mother, whom is also my godmother. My sister will go to the hospital with her husband to confirm details.
I know what my body feels is shock. But it is so much more. Throughout the years my family and I have lost many, many loved ones. And now Judy is gone. She is the mom I knew the longest in my life. My mom and her were best friends in university. She took my sister and I into her home when life with our father got too rough. She grew into her new role as our foster mom flawlessly. We became a tight unit. She survived having two motherless teenagers in her house. Even when we moved out and got married, she was right there. She is the grandmother that my girls know.
I begin the motions to get dressed, feeling hollow. I can’t cry yet. I had not kept in touch with her much since my youngest was born. My doctor had told me to take it easy. When my baby arrived life with two little kids took its toll. Automatically I berate myself for not keeping in touch with her more. And now, it is too late. I spy her with our oldest in a picture frame. The tears start to fall fast.
It is now three years later and I am in the same fog thinking about that dreadful morning. I am getting dressed as I did that day. My thoughts and heart are overshadowed with the memory of when my godmother died. I still miss her. I miss our phone calls and coffee dates with the girls. I miss my second mom. Though my mom died when I as ten, losing Judy when I was 35 is a different kind of hurt. She became our family that blood relations need not apply. We were together.
I slip down the stairs from our bedroom and pass the picture of our oldest and her celebrating the first birthday. I wonder if the girls will ever know how much she loved them. I wonder if they will even remember knowing her. We keep the picture up as a wonderful reminder that for a brief memory in time our daughters had a fairy godmother in their midst.
I dust off the 8×10 frame and smile at the good memories of when I was little til becoming a mom. All throughout my childhood I swore the fairy godmother in Cinderella was made after her. I miss having a go-to mom. So many times I would pick up the phone to call, and then remember. Once even called her voicemail just to hear her voice. The guilt I have for not giving back to her in the way she gave to me will never go away. The motivation to tell her stories to her grandchildren is strong. To honour by living through her pixie dust mothering will be the best gift I know to give her.
I know she is happy being reunited with her parents and my mom.
Thank you Judy for being there unconditionally.
February 28, 2009.