Rockie Fresh -- God Is Great [hiphop, mmg, rap, chicago] (August 2013) Donald Pullen (born April 16, 1991), better known by the stage name Rockie Fresh, is an American hip hop artist born in Chicago, Illinois signed to Maybach Music Group.
I miss you, Mom.
Today, I've lived one full year without my mom and what a fucking year it's been.
My mom was a great mom. Between her and my dad, she was the hard ass, the responsible one. Needless to say, once they got separated, she and I had a rocky go of it, specifically in my teenage years. As I got older and especially once I moved 3000 miles away (too many of my friends were dying from drug overdoses, I was trying to overcome an eating disorder, and I flat out just needed to get away), our relationship changed. Somehow, even with that distance, I found that our bond had strengthened. I visited back home only a handful times in the eight years I've been gone, but we called and texted quite often. She was great with advice. I could always tell she missed me - her little girl - and needed me back, but I had made a life for myself somewhere else.
Late last June, I guess, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, though she didn't tell me for another week or two later, right around my birthday. I was devastated, but this was my mom we were talking about! She was fierce and strong and frankly, bull headed. She wasn't going to let a little cancer get her down.
She started texting and calling more often - her life long depression obviously exacerbated by her diagnosis. She was now losing her hair and this physical reminder was a tough pill to swallow. She kept claiming she KNEW it was fourth stage, she just knew it, and I told her not to worry until she heard it from her doctors. They had been telling her her status was improving greatly with her chemo treatments.
Depressed as she was, she still had moments of trying to protect her baby girl from reality. She would sometimes make jokes to lighten the mood and try to raise herself up as the warrior I knew her to be. Never did I think the unthinkable would happen.
I wanted to fly out and surprise her for her birthday September 30th, but sadly, working for tips at a new brewery with a small staff didn't allow it and that week came and went. I thought "okay, Christmas it is." She loved Christmas.
On October 22, my brother called me a few times, but I was away from my phone. I then saw his partner had also tried reaching me, so I knew something was up. When I got my brother on the phone, he told me my absolute nightmare.
Mom had developed sepsis, called 911 while home alone, and been bussed to the hospital, where she later suffered a massive stroke. The doctors said she would die that evening.
I was floored.
As someone who chose to move so far away, I guess I always knew this was a possibility. I just never thought it would actually happen. She was doing so well! I was coming for Christmas! The flights won't get me there in time. Why the fuck don't we have time travel yet?!
Given what time it was when I got the news (about 1 PM PT), the next flight out I could reasonably make wasn't until about 10 PM. I did the only thing I could think to do to kill the time, something I've used to medicate when I've been stressed or angry or depressed myself... I started drinking.
I don't know how many beers I had before I took a low dose xanax, but I didn't stop there. My friend who very graciously offered me a ride to the airport stopped at a liquor store on the way, where I picked up a couple airline bottles of tequila and drank on the way. All I needed to do was be sober enough to get through security.
Clearly, that was not the case. In a drunken fog, I just remember two TSA agents standing over me at the gate saying they would not be allowing me on the plane. I cried and begged and pleaded with them, "Please, my mom is going to die tonight. Please!" I guess maybe they apologetically refused and left me where I was.
I texted my brother, full of shame, to tell him the news. He and his partner called me back. I can't recall if, in their voices, they were sorry for or angry with me. My feeling of helplessness was now multiplied by the millions.
They scheduled the next available flight - the following morning - and there I sat, anxiously counting the minutes until I would land back home on the East Coast. When I arrived, it was my brother's partner who picked me up and took me to the hospital. She was still hanging in there.
Outside of a quick video call with my brother when I'd first heard the news, I hadn't seen my mom in five years, when she came to California for the first and only time. I was glad we had done that video call, as I was shocked to see her in her current state. She was bloated in her hospital bed, sleeping, with large patches of hair missing all over her head. She almost didn't look like herself.
I ran to her side and, between tears, started excitedly talking to her. "I'm here, Mom! I'm here. God, I love you so much, Mama Bear!" She had been passed out for so long, virtually unresponsive, but she woke just long enough to open one eye and say "hi." While she would intermittently continue to respond with hand squeezes, this "hi" would be the last thing she ever said.
The next five days were torture. The doctors had pretty much immediately come to accost me on my arrival, as my brother had chosen to wait, to DNR her. It was her wish in a situation like this, they said, meaning her situation wasn't going to get better. Her oncologist seemed genuine, visited often, spoke of her highly and told us how, especially considering how she'd been improving, it was so unlikely how things had progressed. A stroke of this caliber was unusual under these circumstances.
She was moved to hospice care to "make her more comfortable." They kept telling us "today is the day. Today is the day." Let me.tell you... it is INCREDIBLY painful to continuously brace yourself for "today being the day" day after day. In any case, I stayed with her all day, every day, occasionally leaving the hospital walls to go outside, chain smoke cigarettes and take sips from my stash of tequila. At the same time, my town was being threatened with a growing wildfire - the Kincade fire - so I was trying to distract myself with finding information on that. Needless to say, friends there were somewhat preoccupied with their own stress. Even with my dad, brother and his boyfriend there in the hospital, I felt so alone.
There was a hospice nurse who, on her shifts, made me feel at ease. Her hugs were such that you could really tell she cared. Hell, she even had us all laughing a few times. She was a breath of fresh air in that suffocating hospital room, surrounded by death, and though for the life of me, I can't remember her name, I will never forget how she made me feel.
Finally, Monday, October 28th rolled around. At this point, it had been three days since they'd given my mother any water. Why, I don't know. What I did know, for certain, was that today WAS the day. My brother had taken the previous week off of work and said he had to go get cleaned up, go to the office and speak with his boss about furthering his leave. I didn't understand, but I let him go. It was now, for the first time, my mother and I alone in the room.
She had plenty of unfinished business, pain and heartache with her own mother, and I can only imagine how that affected her and her desire to be close to me. I continued talking to her, though I shamefully felt some constraint. I cannot explain why. They tell you the last thing to go is your hearing and to talk to your loved one as much as possible, but my brain kept asking two things which I will never know the answer to. Did she know she was dying? What would she tell me right now if she could?
I played and sang "I Say A Little Prayer For You" by Aretha Franklin (her favorite) and minutes later, she was gone. It was a shock to my system. Her labored breathing just.. stopped. I jumped up and ran to the nurse's station where, like a blubbering child who had just lost her mom, I said "I think my mom just died." Two nurses who I had never seen before hustled over - one of them hugging me, one checking my mother's pulse. Eventually, she just nodded.
Just four months after her cancer diagnosis, my mother was gone.
I called my brother. No answer. His partner picked up and told me he was in the shower. I then told him our mom is dead. Frantic, he hung up and they came straight over. I still don't know how or what my brother feels about not being there. Everyone else I've told seems to believe she wanted it to just be the two of us.
My mom was the closest thing I had to a support system - a voice of reason, a shoulder to lean on, and a loving force I imagine can only come from the woman who birthed you. When going through some of her things at my childhood home, I found a couple poems of hers about pushing me away and me never coming back. The guilt of not being the same support system to her has absolutely crushed me.
I've always been an emotional person and have found, with this moment, some people just don't possess the same capacity or have the same experience. Simply put, the rest of my family has never been all that sentimental, I guess. Additionally, the circumstances of this year have not allowed much opportunity for grief, so I haven't gotten much by the way of professional counseling either. Even without COVID, I think I'd be scared to, which is why I turned to Reddit. I don't know what I'm looking for exactly, but this feels somewhat therapeutic. I'd like to thank any/all of you who took the time to read this and assuming you're here with your own personal struggle, hope you find some solace. ♥️
submitted by rzacat