I went to bed last night at 8pm. This is very unusual for me, but I think I know why. I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. For months now, I’ve been writing non-stop on here, hoping for change. I woke up at 2:10am this morning, came downstairs, and caught up on some reading. I go to work at 6am, and I knew I wouldn’t be falling back asleep. There was something more to all of this though. My subconscious was well aware of something.
Two years ago, I woke up to the phone ringing. It was 3:30am in the morning. I knew exactly why the phone rang and what it meant. I wasn’t at my house, I was up at my parents house in Pennsylvania. That phone ringing meant only one thing. My mother passed away.
She was on hospice in her home, and my father was taking care of her. She didn’t want to pass anywhere else, with machines and tubes. She had been ill for a very long time. I knew the end was coming, which was why I went up there a few days prior. I’ve always had a sense for this type of thing. I’ve never been sure if that was a blessing or a curse.
I went downstairs and my oldest brother just looked at me and said “She’s gone.” I heard my father on the phone talking to the hospice nurse who would soon be coming over.
I went outside about fifteen minutes ago, and I watched as the blue-green-orange hue started to come up in the east. Above me, the stars were shining bright in the night sky. It was quiet and peaceful. These are the times when I think of my mom the most, when there is nothing else distracting me.
My mom and I are a lot alike. We both have a very deep passion for the things that bother us. We also fight like hell for our kids. She taught me that. But she also taught me it isn’t just about your own home, it’s about the world that we live in. We all have a responsibility in this world, to be what we are supposed to be. We fail at this constantly. And we never know what this purpose is, I guess, until we drift into the afterlife, into the arms of whatever we believe in the most.
Sometimes I can feel my mom watching over me. I remember over a year ago when I was going back and forth whether to tell my son’s story on Kilroy’s Delaware. I knew it would be a bold thing to do, and once I did it I could never go back. I wrestled with this thought for weeks. It was at one moment, when I looked over and saw it. The sign.
A few weeks after my mom passed, I was at Lowes. I wanted to get a particular plant my mom always loved, bleeding hearts. I remember as a child my mom showing me how to open them up and see what’s inside. I always thought it was one of life’s more interesting tricks. I bought the plant, came home, and put it in a corner near my house.
The bleeding hearts didn’t fare too well that summer. I watered them all the time and made sure they didn’t suffocate from the weeds. By the end of the summer, the plant dried up and I saw the stem start to brown. The bleeding hearts died. As the summer warmth faded to fall’s crisp embrace, I mowed the lawn one day and accidentally ran over the withered corpse that had been my connection with my mom.
Seven months later, one May morning, I sat on my porch. I hadn’t been in my backyard too much and I knew I had to mow the lawn soon. I walked past my fence and that was when I saw it- the bleeding hearts, in full bloom. What the plant had gone through was just the natural ebbs and tides of life. but I took it as a sign. I emailed Kilroy with the first part of my son’s story that evening.
I can’t explain why I do what I do. I wrote last week about synchronicity and fate. But what if it’s more than that? What if this is my thing? I will never know, but even when I am criticized and blasted by my critics, when things seem at their lowest, I still believe. I still think things can change. I think there is more to all of this than what we know. We can change, we just have to come together. We need to do this for the kids. Not for ourselves, not for our own advancement or personal glory, but for them. They need us. That’s why I can’t accept all these things going on in education. If it’s not good for kids, than it really shouldn’t be there. We just have to find common ground to work from and really turn education into what it is meant to be. Not just for my own son, but all of Delaware’s kids. It’s what my mom taught me.
As the seasons pass, and the dawn leads to the day, my heart bleeds for the lost kids in our state. I pray that we can do right for them and carry them out of the darkness. It’s always been about them, not ourselves.