July 14, 2016, a phone call shared with love. So much love. That date will forever be embedded in my soul. “Hey Ma, I won’t be able to be with you tomorrow, but wanted to let you know I’ll be praying for you.” Yes GOD IS LOVE. The love of a mother is unconditional. In that simple statement she made showed all the love of a child’s heart to her mother. Our souls bonded forever from her birth. The last words I will ever hear from my child. “I love you, Ma”. My last words I spoke to my child, “I love you, Baby Angel.” It was stated in the press that she was heard screaming before she died. Someone even stated that if they would have heard a woman screaming they would have helped her. To them, her screams were silent.
We move forward a couple days.
July 18, 2016, a phone call again would rip a part of my soul out. An evil hand would reach deep in my soul to rip a part of it out. I will never hear my child’s voice again on the phone. I ended the call from her friend. My arms crossed at my heart and screaming, “My Rickie is gone. No. Not my Rickie.” All I could do was to scream and rock myself back and forth repeating those words. With my every breath I could feel her being ripped from me.
The next phone call was to be to her sister. I was told she collapsed to the floor with the news. That day I would go into shock. I remember her sister holding me and taking care of me that day. Only fragments of the day flash through my mind.
Next—I remember lying on my kitchen floor in fetal position feeling in my soul the cold pavement as Rickie would take her last breath, feeling every stab in her body and the pain she endured fighting for her very life. Running naked until she collapsed on the cold pavement to die. My tears turned to sobbing and I knew my youngest would be haunted forever as to see her mother this way.
All arrangements were handled by my precious son in law to be. You see, this week was to be a week of joy and preparation. Rickie’s baby sister was getting married in 6 days. They said they would cancel the wedding. I begged them not to. They had everything well prepared and paid. Rickie would not want that. Her spirit would be with us.
The next part of the trauma was to see Rickie’s children, my grandchildren, and tell them the heartbreaking news. Their mother was gone forever. The tears would flow for many days to follow. My granddaughter would never have a mother to talk to with all the young girl teenage issues. My grandson would not have a mother sitting in the bleachers cheering him on as he played football.
I told the funeral director I wanted to hold my child one more time. I was denied due to the autopsy and the procedures they perform. I reached over and kissed her forehead where she was hit by a brick. “Rickie, Mama will kiss it and make it better.” I tugged a little with her blanket. “Night, nights don’t let the bed bugs bite. I’ll tuck you in and keep you safe and warm now. I love you, my Baby Angel.”
So now with each day, my silent screams will be unheard until my last breath. In reading “A Mother’s Heart,” if I can reach out to one life, it is worth it. I taught Rickie to fight for what you believe in. To stand your ground and fight for what is right. I see so much how she has. I am proud of her and proud to be her mother. Those of you that knew her, I would tell her, “Rickie, if you would only use half of your energy doing good you could change the world.” So, now I am to practice what I would preach. I am to use what energy I have to continue her work. To change the norm. Yes: God is Love.
Rickie Jolene (Bowen) Morgan
Header image courtesy of Pixabay, altered by Cartoonize. “How Many More?” poster by Johnny Robinson.