Caring for Mom


Earlier this year, just after Winter Break, I and a few of my colleagues were looking at the semester ahead of us. February allowed its usual breaks for Presidents’ Day and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. But then we all looked at March: a string of five straight weeks of teaching without a break until the spring holiday began on the last day of the month.

We knew it was going to be a long stretch. And, teaching seniors this time of year is especially challenging. Most of them have been accepted to their first or second college choices, and their minds are on graduation, Senior Week, and one last summer vacation–a nonstop party with friends before those sleepless nights roll into a fresh dawn of bittersweet good-byes and I love yous.

We still have two weeks to go, and it seems like that last day of March will never get here. It’s as if the days drip steadily with Mollases, slowing everything about the day, the night, the wait for break to arrive.

And then there’s Mom.

Most of you know the story. Nearly two years ago she was told she had a few weeks to live, and she was determined to fight it. And she did. Admirably. But now the cancer’s reached her brain, Diabetes has set in, and the strength that she had a few years ago to fight seems to be weakening, as if she, herself, is now caught in a mollases that compromises the passion she has always had to live, to fight, to believe.

Now, she rests most of the time, unable to do much of anything without the fear of stumbling, falling, or passing out. She’s on so many drugs that it dizzies my head to imagine how anybody anywhere near her age could figure out when to take which pills, and how many times.

My brothers and my sister and I will be having a meeting very soon about her condition. What are our options, what is best for her, what does she want to do. . .and the list goes on.

But for now, all my kids want to do is take her to Build-A-Bear one more time, to place tiny hearts inside freshly stuffed animals, and pick out perfect outfits that bring their new friends to life.

For if this wonderful woman of nearly 81 years will hold on to one thing until the day she passes on, it is the magical power of love that she shares with her grandchildren, the giddy smiles, the laughter, the experience of life, enjoyed fully, as if no moment could ever compare with the one being lived, loved, precisely now.

You are surrounded by love, Mom. From all five of your children, your sons- and daughters-in-law, your grandchildren, Charlie, the members of your church, and all who have come to know you.

We’ll care for you. Just as you have always cared for us.

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