Momma was a simple woman. She devoted her entire life to looking after us kids. She tried to live a good life and lead by example, but something in her snapped when she was in her mid forties. Call it menopause, a mid life crisis, or whatever you want, but momma had finally had enough.

All my life I can remember her being the one that everyone called when they had a problem, but apparently no one was able to look into momma’s eyes and see her problems. Some would speak ill of her for what she did, but I will defend her till the day I die. I, for one, was proud of her when she finally found the courage to put herself before others. I watched for years as one person after another took advantage of her. I’m not gonna lie, as a teenager, I used her kind heart to my advantage at times as well. I guess that is one reason I never blamed her for what she did.

   I don’t know why she chose that day, but I’m sure she had a reason. She had become very withdrawn, smiles seemed forced, and her laughter was weak. I see that now. Why was I not aware at the time?

I guess I’m glad that I didn’t notice, because I’m sure that I would have tried to keep her from doing what she obviously felt she needed to do. Momma was very sporatic and unpredictable, but very controlled with her desicions. That is how I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that she had to do this. Most people, including dad, say it was just one of her stupid ideas. That she did it without thinking of anyone but herself. If she did it out of selfishness than so be it. I believe she felt that this would stop the hurting. Not just hers, but everyone else around her.

She took on other people’s problems, and she took more than her share of the blame for everyone’s mistakes. She had been beaten down in life. It was so unfair, because she was such a beautiful person; inside and out. I watched as the light inside of her slowly faded away. She started living in a darkness that I hope to never have to comprehend.

I don’t know how Momma always found the people who needed to be fixed, so to speak. Each and everyone of Momma’s friends had an issue of some sort and she just knew she could help. She was raised to see the good in everyone, and to treat everyone kindly. That blew up in her face not long after she discovered the real world. I wasn’t around then because I wasn’t born until mom and dad had been married for a couple of years. So, I know that she had already been through a lot by the time I became old enough to see for myself what was going on.

She had a huge heart; even in my earliest memories. She could light up the room with her smile, and everyone was drawn to her. Men and women alike would confide in her, often times when meeting her for the first time. There was something about her that made people open up. Upon hearing their problems, she would immidiately start thinking of a solution. It didn’t matter if it was emotionally, mentally, or financially; she was there for any and all. Little by little everyone took from her without giving back, and I guess she felt like there was nothing left for her to give.

It’s been a little over five years now since she up and left. We had a big party at their house for the 4th of July, like we do every year. She was there, involved, having fun, joking, and laughing. I thought she was pulling out of this latest episode she was having. I guess even I am guilty of having not seen the extent of her hurting.

She hugged us all several times throughout the day, and at one point during lunch she made a bit of a speech saying, “I am very blessed to have such an amazing family. All I wish for each and everyone of you is happiness, and I wish I could bring more joy and happiness into your lives. I do appologize for not being able to do that. I know I have been hard to live with lately. I have been dealing with issues of my own, and I have become lost in my own head. Please forgive me, and from this day forward I will do what has to be done for us all to find happiness.”

The rest of the afternoon was hot, but we played in the pool. We had a great time being together with family. Momma ate watermelon and ice cream with the grandkids. Then right at dark she even did sparklers with them. My youngest boy, Simon, had fallen asleep on her lap right as dad and my brother were getting set up for the grand finale. I offered to take him inside and lay him down, but Momma insisted that she could do it. I never thought anything of it. I watched as she walked through the backdoor of the house carrying my baby to bed.

After all the fireworks were done, and everyone started to wind down, that is when we noticed momma wasn’t there. I went inside to see if Simon woke up when she took him inside. I checked the guest room that we stayed in, and there he was, sleeping soundly. I knocked on my parent’s bedroom door and did not get a response. I told dad he need to go check on her.

I will never forget the look on my daddy’s face as he came back out from their bedroom. He was holding a note and momma’s wedding ring. She never, under any circumstance, took that off; even when she did the dishes.

The look daddy had was a combination of total confusion and trying to recover from a punch in the gut.  He loved her so much, and she knew it. How she could walk away from us I will never know. But, she lived her life trying to make others happy, myself included, and I just hope that she is happy wherever she is. I still don’t know what momma said in the note, but Daddy still carries it around in his wallet. I think he is hoping she will come walking through the front door again.

Honestly, I hope she doesn’t.

This place and the people around here were slowly killing her. She gave so much of her happiness to others, thinking that it would multiply and everyone could be happy, but no one replaced the happiness she was giving away. Dad tried, but I don’t think anyone could have filled the darkness after a certain point.

We all know why she did what she did. I just don’t know if she ever found happiness. If she didn’t, has she stopped looking? If she stops looking will she come back home? I don’t know if I will ever see her again.

I hold tight to the memories of that last day. She was happy, and there was a peace about her. That peace is why I’m not any more upset than I am. As much as Momma wanted happiness for me, that is what I want for her.

If a day comes that I can not find the peace and happiness that momma wanted for me, then I hope that I can be as brave as her. Be courageous enough to go out and find my happiness.

She gave to everyone. She did her part in raising me and my brother. Now it is her time! She knows that we love her, and we will welcome her back home at any point. I hope one day we can be her happiness again.

Author: A. Jessep

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