No matter how much I write about Mom, I hope you realize this is only a teaspoon of what she deserves. In fact, her sacrifices could probably take up a whole blog of their own, but since she’s not a blogger (and would definitely NOT spend time posting about her own activities), my attempt will have to do.
You probably know the beginning of our story: Mom and Dad bartered for plane tickets as soon as they got a vague phone call about my accident, even though they thought I “only” had a concussion and two broken legs. Some parents might have waited to get the final prognosis, or at least settled for a flight the following day since it didn’t sound life threatening, but not mine. Mom and Dad rushed down so they could support me that very same day. Their urgency was God-given since by the time they made it to SoCal I was on life support in the ICU.
Even so, Mom couldn’t have known that flight marked the temporary end of her comfy life in San Jose…or the beginning of her calling to live apart from her husband and church for the next five months. That’s one thing I can say about Mom. From my earliest memories, she was always a devoted caregiver. She knew how to make the worst sicknesses (think chicken pox, countless flus, plus two eye surgeries) as comfortable as possible. Mom’s best medicines were extra yummy foods and fun games…medicines which always worked! Our family vacations were devoted to helping out my grandparents as they aged. I didn’t enjoy that very much as a kid who just wanted to have fun, but looking back I see a beautiful picture of Mom’s heart. I also have to give a shout out to my Dad, who was a great supporter of her desire to help.
In spite of her caregiver talents Mom is disturbed by grosser mishaps like broken bones or open wounds, so my trauma presented a significant challenge. But God filled her with extraordinary abilities as she faced extraordinary need. Mom accepted my skull fracture, half bald head, disgusting leg incisions, and infected G tube site with almost miraculous grace. I’m sure she was entirely grossed out on the inside, but she suppressed it so well that I never saw even a hint. (Side note – Ivan dealt with the most nitty-gritty wound cleaning when he got home at night, but she still had to deal with – and look at – all my problems when he was gone).
Mom’s superpowers are even more amazing because she had almost no emotional support or “me time” for 5 months. While Ivan and I were extremely grateful for her soothing presence, he was gone almost all the time working and I was the cause of all her stress. I was definitely not the outlet for relieving it. True, she got to call Dad around once a day and Anna stopped by whenever she could, but I doubt that scratched the surface of what Mom needed. Oh – she couldn’t even go to church because Ivan worked at one on Sundays and it was unsafe for me to be alone.
Fast-forward to San Jose. Mom finally reunited with Dad (hurray!!!), but her caregiver job was far from over. She and I embarked on a second voyage of doctor’s appointments and therapy visits, plus the additional challenge of seizure management and more hospitalization. While Dad and Ivan took care of as much as they could, full-time jobs obviously limited what they could do. Mom picked up the slack with the same brave commitment that she’d always shown.
To say “thank you” is not enough. In fact, my best “Thank you for ___” is a run-on sentence since she’s still working for and with us every week. One thing has changed, though. Mom is finally doing something for herself after 25 years. She was a successful accountant before I was born but gave up her career to raise her children. What was not part of the plan was her oldest child’s return to needing full-time care before her younger one finished college. However, after much thought and prayer, Mom’s accepted an opportunity to return to her field – albeit part time. She still checks on me every day and devotes extended periods to helping me on her days off. But I’m delighted to watch her begin investing in her own interests again. I love you, Mom.