"All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother..."
-- Abraham Lincoln
My elderly mother fell a few years ago and broke her hip and lower back. She was in the hospital for months and endured painful physical therapy for many months after that. She stopped driving and stopped walking outside her home, and even inside she'd use a walker and slowly and painstakingly move from room to room. My father took care of her every need. She became very dependent on him for all of her needs, not only physical needs, but emotional, social and spiritual as well. By no fault of my father, she became so dependent on him, that in many ways, she began to shut down and stop trying to live and "be".
Then one day, about a year ago, my father suddenly died, and he was gone. Her support, her safety net, her means of transportation, her shopper and bookkeeper and caregiver, and cook was suddenly gone. His passing was of great concern for our family. Not for him, but for our mother that was left behind, left alone, left to carry on.
At first it was almost too much to witness her suffering as she tried to assemble the courage to "go on". To see her too timid to leave the house, to go to church, to even talk to neighbors was painful, indeed.
But now, a year has passed. And a miracle has happened! My mom has learned that life does go on, that she can be independent again, that there is a lot that she CAN do, and that she wants to do them. She has become more talkative and open to others, reaching out to neighbors and friends in ways that she never did when Dad was around overseeing things. She has embraced her finances and personal affairs, has donated generously to causes that she cherishes and seeks to help, has started assembling her family history, has returned to church and embraced new callings, has rediscovered her grandchildren and has refocused her energies on them. She has adventured out into social gatherings, stayed overnight several times in our homes (even those with many steps), and though it is hard still for her to walk without assistance, she now desires to do many things and is hard to hold down. She has changed her hairdo and become excited to learn new things. She is determined and is becoming again a person of hope and wisdom and love. She is relearning to "be"!
I honor my mother (as only any good son can do). I look to her example as one to follow. I have shut myself off, in many ways, from life and from truly embracing what it has in store for me, and the opportunities to feel and know and grow around me... and I have not found it in my heart to let her know of the inner thoughts and workings and desires of her son. I have not found it the right or appropriate thing to do. At this point in our lives and in our relationship, she doesn't need to know about my attractions. She doesn't need to carry this with me. But as I see her change and come alive again, as I see her gain strength and courage, I can't help but think of John G-W's elderly grandmother who became his greatest advocate, and not think that maybe there is still a "right time" to let her truly know of what is in my heart, of my burden, of my journey in hopes that I, too, in some way, can follow her and learn to "be"!
Happy Mother's Day...