Make that twelve years ago when it would be the last time I'd see her. It would be the last time we'd talk, the last that I'd see her smile.
'Be good", that was what she told me, her voice frail, her breathing ragged. I'd listen to every word she said, although she no longer said much anymore.
She had some fight going in her. I saw it in the way she looked at me. She was trying to fight back. But somehow she had lost the fight. She succumbed to it.
That was twelve years ago when I lost my hero to breast cancer. That person was my mother.
There is never a day that I don't miss her. And each time I look at myself, the pain of missing her hurts even more because I've grown up to be a spitting image of her.
There is never a day that I don't long for her, wishing she was still here to celebrate with me in my happy, glorious days, even more so to back me up when I'm down in the rut. After all, she was the person I'd first run to whenever I had something great to share or whenever I needed help.
I miss saying the word 'Mama' and having someone to call that, because there is no one else that could ever take her place; no one who loved me more than she did. I still long to hear her infectious laughter, and the things she used to tell me are still fresh in my mind. But she was gone too soon.
She didn't get to put a medal around my neck with Papa when I got an award at my highschool graduation.
She didn't get to have me as a student in Economics in college, something which she really looked forward to.
She wasn't able to beam with so much pride when everyone else congratulated me for 'causing trouble' in school.
She didn't get to cheer me on when I got my first job and celebrate the sweet reapings of the first pay with me.
She never got to meet the guy whom she prayed would be right for me.
All that's left with me are joyful, lasting memories of her - the blessing of having her as my mother even though her physical presence may be shortlived. She may be smiling and looking on with pride for the good deeds I've done, or perhaps frowning upon the boo-boos I may have gotten myself into, because deep in my heart and mind, I know she is and will always be with me.
I love you, Ma.