Mother’s Day this year was spent in a nursing home with my mom. She fell and broke a shoulder last week. Once stabilized, she was moved to a nursing home for rehab.
My father has been doing his best to keep mom in her home, comfortable in familiar surroundings, but it may soon exceed his capacity to manage without substantial help. He turns 80 next year.
My brother, who lives a mile away, has been heroically pitching in. He visited daily, engaging with my mom and taking her for walks. That may no longer be possible due to a blood pressure problem that causes her to pass out when she stands.
My mom spent most of her time sleeping, some of it no doubt due to pain meds for the broken shoulder. She smiles at me and remembers my name, but if she’s not looking directly at me, she forgets I’m in the room. Not much I can do about that, except answer her questions, chat with her for a sentence or two, and hold her hand while she falls asleep.
Add to all this cheery news the fact I am fighting a wicked cold (the wracking cough barely held at bay by Sudafed, but my head pounds every time I have to cough), and one can see this is a truly memorable weekend for all the wrong reasons.
This seems like the kind of experience where I could write portentously about the lessons I’ve learned, but I’ll spare you the pomposity of my great wisdom.
I would, however, offer a reminder about the small things.
I could share at length about God’s provision (which is not a secret to the folks who know it when they see it), like the way I already had a flight booked out here for Mother’s Day, well before the accident. Or of the lovely and lucid woman who is my mom’s roommate, and who looks out for her.
I could talk about the small graces of my mother’s forgiveness of my youthful arrogance and stupidity, and the way all that needed to be said about my love and affection and respect for her was said long ago and was lived toward her for years, as well.
But mostly, I’ll just be grateful for the blessings that surround me now: my father and brother and I, loving my mother during her decline. The good and kind medical staff, doing their best. My lovely supportive wife, my brave son, standing beside me even though they are a thousand miles away from me tonight.
And I would gratefully acknowledge the undeniable blessing of having been able to know and love my mother while there was still time.
Happy Mothers Day.