She was in an assisted living facility at the time. I got the call about 2 am. She had fallen and was taken by ambulance to the E.R. I drove through the deserted streets, that much I remember, and I know I had to have parked somewhere and gotten myself into the E.R., but that's all a blur. As are the next several days, with medical tests and decisions battering me from all directions.
Wants vs Needs
The year of her recovery has been, however, a major contributing factor to my year of debridement. I have always had a difficult relationship with my mother. Not that we ever argued. Or that there was anything visible on the surface. I simply did whatever she wanted whenever she wanted my entire life. There was never any conflict, because she got her way in all things. Now, however, I couldn't give her what she wanted--which was a totally pain-free recovery with me at her side 24/7. And in realizing that I couldn't give her her wants, I became aware of my own needs. Actually, for the first time, I realized that I did have needs and they were just as important as everyone else's wants.
You'd think that by age I'd have learned that lesson, but I was raised with an incredibly strong mother who doled out equal doses of parental and Catholic guilt, heavily seasoned with Catholic teaching on the need for self-sacrifice. So it had to have been a God-thing, that just as I was becoming aware of my needs, I was writing a book on Facing Adversity with Grace, stories of saints who had to work through suffering.
Telling Myself Stories
I began the book just about the time she fell and I finished it just as she was leaving the nursing facility. I think if I had written the book any other time, it would have been a far different book, because as much as I was telling the stories of Mother Teresa and St. Helena, I was also teaching myself lessons about what suffering is, what it isn't and how it can either shape or destroy our lives. I just reread some of the passages and thought, "Hmmm...how is it that you knew these lessons but weren't really applying them?"
breathing is important to life!