A little less than two weeks ago, I received that phone call, the one you never want to receive. My eighty-two-year-old mother had fallen from her front porch and broken her back. Not just her back, but both bones in her left arm and her left thumb. Needless to say, I dropped everything and went to her side.
It's funny how things work out. We become so involved in our own lives that we often forget how many lives are entwined with ours. Our parents. Our children. Our friends. We laugh and say we don't like people. We chuckle at the 'idiots' on the road, but we forget that we're on the road and we are people, too. John Donne once proclaimed that "no man is an island." I've never been more certain that Donne is correct.
Before I knew God had ordained that I be a writer, I knew I was a daughter. I looked into my mother's hazel eyes, asking for comfort or guidance. Now, I'm her comfort. Life is truly a circle.
As Justice of the Peace, I've performed thousands of wedding ceremonies. In each ceremony, I raise the wedding rings and note that they are in the form of a circle with no ending and no beginning. I smile and say, "This circle, the symbol of commitment, stands as a reminder that love has no end." That's the way it is with a parent. They shed their love like nourishing rain, hoping to water the healthy emotional growth of a child. Now, it's my turn, I suppose. Now, I can return the favor of love my mother granted me over the years.
As she lays trapped inside the back and neck brace, I can show her what I have become. Although I wish it had happened in a less painful way, I have the opportunity to let her see what that nourishing flood of love she offered during my life has sparked. I have the opportunity to be kind and loving, to be supportive and encouraging. I hope I'm woman enough to catch hold of the opportunity.
Mother's recovery will be long and painful, but in the end, the doctors say she will recover but not without scars. The active life she once enjoyed will be hindered by chronic back pain. Her garden and yard work, the things she most enjoys during warm weather, are completely gone from this summer and possibly from the few summers she has left on this earth. I ask my readers for their prayers and, for those who do not pray to send good thoughts our way.
My life is temporarily on hold. I have little time to write, but in not writing, I have ample time to think about what family relationships should be: the continuation of emotional nourishment. My mother's fall is a learning experience, and I pray that I can take advantage of this new opportunity for education.