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About Mom....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I talk about my mom a lot. She is so special to me, and she is in my heart every day.

This September 13 will mark 4 years from the day that changed all for our lives forever. My mom and I had spent that afternoon getting our hair cut and highlighted for a family wedding that was taking place on Saturday, a few days later. I had run errands the rest of that afternoon, and my parents babysat my daughter- their little princess!

I had a throbbing headache and was so tired when I arrived to pick up my daughter around dinnertime. My Mom was not home; she had gone to a doctor appointment. I thanked my Dad for all their help with babysitting, and I headed home.

I had only been in the house a few minutes when the phone rang. It was my Dad. He had been called by the police. My Mom had been in a car accident. My Dad was asking me to drive him over there, so he could drive her car home- we thought she had just had a small fender bender.

Well, the scene we found still makes my stomach ache and my eyes tear when I allow myself to remember it. We will never be sure what exactly happened from the time she left her doctor's office to the time her car finally smashed into a brick wall going full speed, but that night changed her life forever.

We were not allowed near the car- the firemen were there, cutting her car in half so they could get her out. One fireman came over to tell me they had called in a helicopter to get her to the nearest hospital. I just stood there....the world stood still...I did not know what to think. I tried to stay calm so I could keep my Dad calm- but I think we were both in a shocked daze. As they prepared to take my Mom to a nearby park via ambulance to meet the helicopter, a Fireman came to talk to us. He told us one of us could see her- but only for a second. My dad told me to go...and I remember peeking into the ambulance, fighting the tears, and all I could manage to say was "We love you, Mom. We'll meet you at the hospital. Please do not be afraid- it will be OK."

I remember watching the helicopter descending from above- it landed a few blocks away in a nearby park. The only other person I had ever heard of being taken away by helicopter was my girlfriend's 11 year old son who had suffered heart failure...and he never came home. I was overcome with fear, grief and a whole bunch of emotions that I had never experienced as deeply as in those moments. But then something just happened to me. I knew that I had to pull it together, to get us to the hospital and to mobilize my brothers and to get my family secured. I needed to get my friends praying. I am not organized or strong or brave, but something filled me that made me be all of those things, and I was so grateful for it.

I remember approaching the hospital from the freeway, it was about 20 minutes from our house. On top of the hospital, near the helicopter pad, was a huge, brightly lit cross. I followed that cross so I could find my way. It comforted me because I knew it was a sign that she was in His care- and He was going to be there with us.

I knew the accident was bad, but it wasn't until the doctor told us all about her condition that I realized what we were facing, and that news came to us after several hours of waiting. She had broken her neck, she had one collapsed lung and several broken ribs, she had broken both legs and one arm. We were told there was a very high chance she would not survive through the night.

Thankfully, she not only survived but is still living in her home, 3 miles away from mine. I am conviced that her survival was a gift, a miracle.

As you can imagine, her recovery was very long and very difficult. It became a main focus of my life for a very long time. I slept by her side in the nursing home almost every night for months, and then I would go home, get the kids off to school, and come back to cheer her through her therapy sessions. She spent months recovering.

I witnessed my Mom's journey first hand. Many days I was frustrated, angry, helpless...but when I look back and when I look at her now, I am just in awe.

She found the strength to be able to walk again. Nobody could help her with her will- we couldn't do that for her. She was faced with a life changing situation that she had not chosen. She spent months in a bed, unable to move, and she hardly spoke. She tells me now that she hardly spoke because she was always afraid that if the tears started rolling, she would just drown in them. In a way, her not crying made it easier for all of us- because we could convince ourselves maybe it wasn't so bad.

She knew that every therapy session was important to her. SHe wanted to go home so badly that she pushed herself so she could stand up, so she could move her arms. She went to PT twice a day because she knew her journey was long, and she wanted to work as hard as she could.

She never stopped fighting. She never stopped believing that she could make this situation OK.

My Mom has never been quite the same, and she still suffers with excruciating pain most days. SHe cries a lot because she is angry that her body is so broken. She can't garden the way she used to, she can't walk as much as she'd like to.

Yet whenever my kids go visit, she becomes this amazing woman who is loving, patient and makes them the stars of her day. There is no pain then- she can do whatever they ask. It used to bother me that she would catch balls, let them paint on THE dining room table, and do all sorts of crazy things with her- but now I realize it is wonderful. They will always remember their Nonna, who was nothing but joyfilled around them, and I thank her for that.

I thank her for fighting, but I never find words to tell her what I really feel. I thank her for not leaving us that night- I wasn't ready to let her go. I thank her for getting through all the pain, all the difficult days and for letting me believe she was as hopeful as I was. I thank her for being there to help my brother fight his cancer, which came in the midst of her hospitalization. I thank her for being there to welcome and love my 4th child. I thank her for teaching me that there is a strength inside of us that we will never know- until we need to use it. I got a glimpse of it that first night, when I felt it fill me and drive me into action, rather than allowing me to crumble into myself.

I love my Mom, and she'll never really know how much. She has inspired me so much. She has taught me lessons she never knew she could teach.

She is not doing very well right now, and my heart just aches for her to find some peace. She is amazing, strong and beautiful. I learned that no matter where her journey takes her- and us along- we will go with her. We will always remain hopeful and faithful...and I will always remain thankful. Thankful that through all of this, there have been a lot of special moments that we have shared that have changed my life forever.

I wish that night in September had never happened, but I know that is one wish that won't come true. It happened and has changed all of us. I just pray that in her heart, she knows how much she is loved. I hope she really knows how much she means to every one of us- her children and her grandchildren, her husband and her friends. Her body is broken and getting weaker, but I hope her spirit can stay strong.

I wrote this blog because there are so many times that people are faced with challenges, and they are afraid. Especially with parents, it is never easy to face these things. Hopefully my situation holds a lesson- and that lesson is that even in pain and fear and hard times, there are special moments of closeness. We can't always change situations or outcomes. Sometimes bad, unfair things happen to people we care about. We just need to hold strong and be present and open our hearts. That is really all we can do. And sometimes, that is just enough.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Angie, this was so beautifully put. Be sure to tell your Mom often how much she means to you. You both possess a strength within you that is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this miracle and story with me. It means a lot and reminds me to be thankful for who & what I have in my life! Thank you my friend! It was simply amazing.
    I will keep your Mom & you in prayer!
    emoticon emoticon
    3965 days ago
    What a beautiful blog, i am so glad that she is still with you. Moms are so special!! God Bless u!
    3965 days ago
  • UNICORN212
    I read this earlier, and it choked me up so much that I could not comment. I was only 20 when I lost my Mom. It left a big hole in me that exists to this day. Life is so short, we never know when He will call us home. So each moment should be treasured.

    You have a very special Mom. And she has a very special daughter.

    3966 days ago
  • LLTS01
    I have tears in my eyes. You have said it all so eloquently. Have you thought of sharing this blog with your mother?
    3966 days ago
    Ang-your blog is very timely for me, my mother is not doing well & it's been a long road for her & all of us.

    It is wonderful that you & your mother are so close. What a wonderful gift.

    Thank you for sharing your story, as with all, it bought tears to my eyes.

    emoticon emoticon
    3966 days ago
    Thanks for reminding me what's important. I'm getting offline now to call my Mom...

    3966 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your story. Isn't it amazing that our mothers never stop teaching us? Some of the most important lessons of my life my mom taught me during the last 8 years of hers, while she was fighting cancer. Much like your mom, she was an amazingly strong woman who wouldn't let her circumstances beat her. She beat every odd, she outlived every statistic the doctors gave us and did it all with an incredible grace and positivity that I'd never seen before. She never complained, she never asked "why me?" she just dealt with the (sometimes really awful) cards she was given and moved on. You no doubt have some very difficult times coming but if you allow her your mom will give you some of the best gifts of your life as you work through these difficulties. Know that her love is forever and she will be with you even when she's gone from this earth.........that's a mother's love. Take care, you and your family are in my prayers. Thanks again for sharing your story, you have helped more people than you will ever know by doing so. emoticon
    3966 days ago
  • KROLES55
    Thank you so much for sharing..It is a blessing to have a wonderful and caring mom
    3966 days ago
    Oh Angie, thank you for sharing this with us! It really reminds us of a few things...that we should tell those around us we love them because you never know....and really that we should be so joyful and blessed that we have the bodies that we do...that we can go to the gym and workout at an intensity that makes us want to throw up..that we can run races adn play with our children without feeling pain...that we can take a walk around a mall or see the beautiful sun....all of those things. We take a lot for granted and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your mother's story with us....I think that this is the type of lesson that everyoen needs to be told because we really do take so much for granted. Love you!
    3966 days ago
    What a wonderful legacy your mother has given you and her family and yours too. I thinkk you should also give her this blog to read she should know what's in your hearts, too often we are afraid to open our own hearts and let those emotions tumble out. Tell her what she means to you and for shaping you as well. She should know how much she is loved, it's never said enough and can ease many burdens. Hope she and you spend many more days together... emoticon
    3966 days ago
    What a trully amazing thing to have your survive all that and to walk. I am so glad she is in your lives. Thank you for sharing this with us. emoticon
    3966 days ago
  • TLAIR0468
    Your blog brought tears to my eyes. You are so lucky to have your Mom and I know you cherish her every day. You said you don't have the words to tell your Mom how you feel....I think you should print your blog and give it to her to read...she will know then.

    Stay strong and enjoy every day you have with your Mom!!
    3966 days ago
    Amazing, she's a gift from God, her work is not done here. Enjoy her every moment you can!
    Thank you for sharing your story!
    emoticon from fellow SIS member!

    3966 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your story with us... it brought tears to my eyes. It makes me appreciate how lucky I am. You should definitely share this with your mother if possible.
    3966 days ago
    Truly touching and not sure I have the words that express how much. I agree that you need to print this out or have your mom read it. I think it makes the best mother's day present of all. After reading this all I want to do is talk to my mom. emoticon
    3966 days ago
    You are so amazing, Ang! What a beautiful picture you have painted for me of a daughter's love for her mother and vice versa. Thanks so much for sharing your story and for helping me realize that amidst pain, there are times of happiness.
    3966 days ago
    WOW what an incredible amazing story... it brought tears to my eyes. I agree that you should print this out and give it to your Mom to read.

    emoticon ~ Janel :)
    3966 days ago
    I agree with everyone else, you should print out this blog and give it to her. What you have written is so heartfelt and so beautifully written. I know she would cherish it.
    3966 days ago
    You really do need to share this with your mom. She is a fighter & I know you got some of that stubborn, strong willed fight from her. You've never given up & I'm so proud of you!!
    3966 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6368620
    Ang...I knew you were an amazing person, and now I understand why. How could you not be, with such an amazing mother? Like someone else said, my immediate thought is that you may want to consider writing a letter to your mom, including in it your thoughts from your blog. You said you hope she knows how much she means to you and what she has taught you...wouldn't it be wonderful to actually tell her and be at peace with the fact that she does, indeed, know?

    Thanks for sharing your story, and for sharing yourself. You are terrific!
    3966 days ago
    Wow, I have such tears right now. My mom lost her battle with cancer over 30 years ago, but I still remember how I felt. You have such a way with words, it is a blessing to be able to put your feelings down so well. I hope all of the SGs that are having problems with their parent's health will read this and take comfort in knowing they too will find the strength that is needed in whatever situation arises. Thank you!
    3966 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    You are such a strong and loving woman. Your mom in lucky to have you. You might think about printing this out and giving it to her for Mother's Day. I think it'd be a wonderful gift she would really treasure. Hugs to you my friend. Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring me.
    3966 days ago
    Ang, through the tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat I want to tell you that you have made me realize that I need to appreciate my parents each and everyday. I am going to stop getting angry at my mother when she doesn't want to go out of the house and just support her. I will also just embrace my dad when he is cranky because of his pain.

    Thank you so much for sharing, it makes us all realize that life can change in an instant.

    3966 days ago
    I think you need to sit your mom down in front of your computer and have her read this. Print it out and give it to her if that's not possible. She needs to read this. It will be the best gift you've ever given her!

    Have a wonderful day!


    3966 days ago
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