I never knew what it was like to love a child, the way only a Mother can, until I had children. I never realized how hard it was to love them on days when everything in the world was on your shoulders and the baby was crying too. Not that you ever don’t love your children at all times ( because we all do) but sometimes its hard to find the energy to show them, when life is doing its best to solidly kick your ass. I never knew any of this, until I lived it.
My whole life I knew that I loved my Mom. I also was very aware and accepted that we are two very different people; two very different types of women. She has always been gentle and sweet; kind and patient. She is your very typical southern lady. Everything about her is syrupy; her voice, her walk, the way she carries herself into a room. I have always been strong,impatient; sorta like a bulldozer on speed. I don’t like to wait for others to create or destroy my happiness. I will fight hard to protect those I love and love them even harder. I am a doer. I am a fighter. I’m scrappy. I’m not gentle. To me, I always loved my Mom but I saw her gentleness, in situations where I thought she should be strong, as weakness. I never understood her circumstances. Her heart was walking around on its own outside of her body.I didn’t realize; I didn’t know.
Last week, my Mom went in for a routine procedure. It was to be a remedy to a longtime ailment that effected her heart.I was against it because I felt as long as medicine kept it in check, why risk surgery. Now, if it were me..I would have gotten the surgery , no question. But being that it was my Mom, I didn’t want to run the risk of a complication. A complication is exactly what happened. A very rare complication that she and only 3 % of the population share.
An outpatient procedure turned into a 3 day stay in the hospital, a chest tube, transfusions, and a whole gaggle of scared adult children. I wasn’t there when it happened because it was suppose to be “routine”. But when faced with the situation and the very real possibility that something worse could happen, I hopped in my car and drove to my Mother.
When I walked into the cardiovascular intensive care unit and saw my mom pale lying on the bed, hooked up to machines, blood leaking from her neck catheter, a line dripping blood from her chest, and her barely able to speak..it humbled me. It scared me. For the first time ever, I was faced with my Mother’s mortality and I didn’t like that feeling. It took everything in me not to cry. It felt much like when your child gets hurt. Your instinct is to take hold of the situation as much as you can, and I did.
Your next instinct is to make the loved one feel at ease and you hide the hurt , fear and pain you feel yourself and you have to do it all with grace.I never knew how strong you had to be to be gentle. It made me realize that for all of these years, I had mistaken my Mother’s gentleness and quiet demeanor for weakness when, in reality, it is through her silence she is maintaining her strength.Sometimes words are too much and in speaking them, you run the risk of breaking down.
I have a new respect for my Mother; for all that she has gone through and all that she has done in her soft spoken life. I also think that her and I are more alike than either of us knew. I say this because I never knew.