Tonight is time for me to look at gratitude. Last night, my mom, who has been struggling with COPD for many years now, suffered her worst set back yet. She was in the car with my dad when he heard her make a funny sound. He turned to her, knew immediately something was wrong and being only a few miles from the hospital, he got her there more quickly than an ambulance could have. When he arrived, she was not breathing and doctors administered CPR to “bring her back”. It has been determined that she had been without oxygen to her brain for seven minutes. The prognosis is grim. She is attached to a respirator, is in a medicated coma to keep her completely sedated and is suffering seizures. The doctors have told us to hope for the best but to prepare for the worst. Of course I am hoping for the best but I am also trying to be realistic.
At 42 years old, I have been fortunate enough to have not had to deal with death often. My grandpa died when I was a teenager, and some older great aunts and uncles have passed away, but no one that is this close to me has died and I have not really had to deal with this reality. There is no single way to tell someone how to cope with a tragic illness and the death of a loved one and I know that my family and I are all going to deal with it differently. I know that right now we are going to handle it one minute at a time. We will all show our grief differently. It is going to be the most devastating thing that my brothers, sister, father and I will have gone through. My parents have been together for nearly 50 years.
My mom has been battling COPD so hard and I know that it is time for her body to have a break from it. We are going to have to take her illness one day at a time and remember all of the good times we spent together. We are already doing that as we sit in her room or in the waiting room sharing stories about her. These stories are what are going to get us through the next few days, weeks, months…however long it takes for her to wake up….or not. What all of the stories have in common is her love and generosity. Over the last few years she has gotten so tired and old, but the thing is, she’s not old. She is only 67, but this illness has really aged her quickly. She was such a funny, giving generous woman. Her spirit is still there, she is just not as able to share it as she was in the past but what we need to focus on is the time when she was healthy, happy and full of life. Nothing is going to prepare is for when the moment arrives. I know that we will all go on. We all have one another not only to take care of, but to take care of us.
Her love for us is what is going to pull us all through this. Her love for her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her mother-in-law, her sisters and brothers-in-laws, nieces, nephews and the many, many, many people whose lives have been touched by her. The positive we can all take from this is to reflect on all of the wonderful things she did for others. She is always putting her family, friends and community before herself and now it is the perfect time for us to think about how she has affected our lives and then apply that towards doing something worthy ourselves. I know that this would be what would make her the happiest now. Knowing that everyone who is praying for her right now, is thinking of the positive affect she has had on them and doing something positive in return.