Sunday, March 06, 2011
"Child, you never know what's comin' for you," the old lady said. It wasn't a lament really. It seemed more like a statement of fact (as much as opinion) as she nears her 80th birthday with a husband ill and dying, having buried two of her three children and living on with what seems to be an unguarded heart and gratitude for all things.
The very next week we got the call that Bill's mom had been in an accident on the interstate. It was a routine trip for minor repair on the car that placed her in the lane where the crash occurred. Multiple fatalities when another driver (who had been subject to seizures apparently had one) flipped her car and multiple lives careened into chaos. We've alternated days and nights at a trauma center icu in North Carolina 5 hours from home. Brain bleed, multiple fractures, internal injuries, ventilator, feeding tube. Not a list you'd like to compile for yourself or anyone you love... anyone at all.
His mom, Carolyn, is already dealing with cancer diagnosis, the loss of her husband of 57 years and now these injuries. But today, off the vent and still incoherent, she looked squarely at me and said, "you just never know what's coming for you." Oddly repeating the sentiment of my new elderly friend, she added, "but that's good. I think that's good." Way into the night, she spoke of the need to "let go... to let nature take it's course... to get rolling on things... to get back to the fundamentals." She spoke plainly, with conviction, about the angel there with her... calling him by name. These are not new things for me, but new in the context of being present with someone I've loved a long time... Now there will be difficult decisions and days ahead, but "it's all ok, " she told me. "It's all interconnected. I know that now..." she said with assurance and a quiet peace.
This morning, following another restless night in ICU, she looked at me and said in that deliberate, slow, southern cadence, "Robin, your face is fading, but your heart is here. And, that's good." That made me smile. She may not have been able to see my face, but I hope she could feel my heart smile.
I hope you guys -- so present, compassionate and good -- can feel my heart smile. It's strange to miss being away from people we don't even "know." They're right, I suppose, we "never know what's comin' for us." It sure helps to feel your hearts out there even when faces fade. This morning I told her, again, that I love her. "And, I love you, "she said. "You must remember: we're all interconnected, and the love is all that matters." "Thank you for loving so well, " I told her. It occurs to me that I'd like to tell my "spark family" the same... We came here to lose weight, and we found so much more in the process. Thank you all for being such great losers... Thank you all for loving so well.