Mother's Day is not as important as it is a reminder of the precious time we have left with our moms. It's hard not to get caught up in our daily lives with precious little time to spend talking to family members as we prepare for yet another day of work and responsibilities.
Through this blur of life we do our best to spend time with our aging parents but often put activities off for a better day to spend time together. Sometimes that "better day" is shattered by an urgent call, instantly interrupting your life and leaving you stone cold in your tracks.
I recently got that call. Mom fell and was rushed to a hospital for brain surgery to relieve swelling. Everything for me stopped that moment, and I rushed to her side. While we talked all the time, it had been a while since I spent time with Mom because we live in different countries. Now I was confronted with the possibility that she might never regain consciousness, and I might never be able to reclaim that lost time I so often put off.
For days I sat with Mom, holding her hand and talking to her, not knowing if she would regain consciousness. I prayed and asked God to give me a chance to spend more time with her before she left this earth. Every moment was excruciating, and while it was a terrible experience, sitting with her brought back a flood of memories reminding me of all her sacrifices.
Mom worked so hard when I was growing up, taking extra shifts, saving money for my university education instead of buying that new dress or other items she needed, always putting my future ahead of her needs without complaint. Our moms are so precious to our future. They guide us and nurture us before sending us into the world to make it on our own. Now here I was in a hospital room not able to tell her how much I appreciated that.
Another day brought another surgery, Mom fighting for her life and me desperately hoping as a kaleidoscope of memories played in my mind.
Suddenly, all that time never addressing the inevitable was staring me right in the face. I sat there with a parade of doctors and nurses looking for guidance. "Does your mom have a living will?" "What would you like us to do if she does not revive?" What would Mom want? How long would she want to be in a vegetative state? What about finances, final wishes — dear God, we'd never talked about any of this, so what was I do to do if the worst happened?
Mom finally made it through and for the next week I spent every precious second I could with her, talking about our memories and telling her how much I loved her and missed her.
With this tragedy past, I enter a new journey with Mom. It's now obvious to me that like so many others with aging parents, we have come to a bridge. That bridge seemed so far away only a few months ago. Now it is in clear sight and we are about to cross it.
On the other side of that bridge is long term care, something that my brother and I are still coming to grips with, as I realize that Mom cannot be on her own anymore and needs 24 hour medical care.
Your mom was always there for you when you were growing up, helping you as a child to dress and eat and guiding you. Now the roles begin to reverse as she needs more and more help, and you become the "parent" and she the "child."
You may now feel much like she did when she sent you off to school for the first time — the anxiety of you being away and under the care of others. Now it's your time to leave your mom with others you hope and pray will give her the same loving care.
On this Mother's Day my wish is that we all will think past the gifts and cards and small favors we'll perform for our moms, and really think about her sacrifices when we were children and how she helped shape our lives.
For those whose moms are still with us, seize every single opportunity to talk to her. Tell her how much you love her and how much you appreciate her sacrifices. Call your mom often. Do things with her that will make her smile and remind her of all the fun things you did together as children.
Mother's Day comes but once a year. But remind yourself each day that you'll never know if the next one will be the last and make every day special with your mom.