This little girl turned Mamma and I shared a special bond from the day my grandmother put me in her arms,I think. I was her quiet sideman, her road dog, store cart pusher, confidant and later in life her cherished treasure whom she lifted up with praise every chance she could get.
Letter Writing with Love
Every once in a while I'd get a multi-page letter from my Mamma Faye. She'd talk about life and praise God for being alive and for giving her us, me and Leander, her son. All these things are what bring us to love. She never spoke a cross word, she loved, never required or asked for a thing, even while suffering with a debilitating disease. I'd read about the hospital staff and their names, and when I met them once I understood. My aunt wrote with love, and it was uplifting in my life.
The Life of the Party
Mamma Faye taught me the art of enjoyment, even though I didn't understand it then. At six, I'd be in the background of the best card parties, and even knew what beer smelled like. Most of all, she knew how to enjoy people despite the trouble of life. We'd roll up at Cato, shop for a great outfit and look sharp on a Friday night with no regrets, and she'd be at work Monday morning like it was nothing. Then Lupus came, and the party was lost.
Caring for You, Caring For Love
In the 90's, with the help of my parents, my Mamma Faye figured out she had Lupus by some of the best doctors in the country. After months of care, and figuring out what life would be life back in Chester, she was put on a waiting list for a lung transplant, that now, 24 years later she was still on that list until yesterday, while the disease progressed, and other things while in the hospital attacked her. She cared for my grandmother while she was dying and worked through many issues, but really, she, like most of us, learned to live with a life of changes. Loving and caring for others saw her through most of that. We all make mistakes through these journeys, and she and I talked about these long into the night during these last years since we found each other again.
Dealing with Chronic Disease
My Mamma Faye's disease has no real cure. No real breakthrough has happened to fight Lupus, and she fought it as long as her body could. I think that someone with her economic strength did better than others, and some others die earlier, but chronic illness hits hard, and this was eye opening for me. Without knowing she had a home and a family support with a crippling disease, where might she have turned? These are things I learned in watching what could happen to my Aunt in systemic healthcare.
All Goes Back to Love
My Mamma Faye is my laughter (or some of it), the origin of my signature snort for sure, my life of the party, and my secondary heart of motherhood because she saved me from so much pain on so many days I could have suffered. And she and I know that. And so it goes.