Losing a Mother, Being a Mother

By Salatheia Bryant-Honors

Mother-daughter-wedding-photoEvery morning when I wake up, one of the first things I see is a picture of my mother and me. Taken nearly 19 years ago on my wedding day, it is a picture of us at our best—at peace with each other. I usually don’t give the picture much thought, but now I stare at it daily.

At 5 a.m. on March 5, my mother, the only parent active in my life, died.

I knew the moment my phone rang that morning that my mother had made her transition into another world. I knew when I left her hospice room in Tampa four days earlier to return to Houston to care for my own family that I would never see her alive again.

At 44, I know this loss is part of what defines the sandwich generation. But that doesn’t make it any easier. At midlife, the milestones are mounting.

I am grieving over many things at once: losing my mother; leaving a 20-year journalism career to go into the ministry full time; seeing the church where I serve closed by Hurricane Ike. At the same time, I am raising my own two young children amid the pull of popular culture and racial prejudices. All these things challenge and shape my world.

Any one would be daunting on its own, and suddenly I’m facing these challenges at once. I can’t afford to break down.

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