Saturday, May 8, 2010

A special Mother's Day wish

I received an e-mail this week that had a chain-letter vibe about it. Generally such stuff has me reaching for the delete button. But I took a moment and read through the note and couldn't help but think it landed in my mailbox for a reason.

Today is Mother's Day, one very special day for all of us to salute our Moms and thank them for, well, being motherly.

The problem I'll have this year is that my Mom is sliding into a fog, vaguely aware that I'm her son, but not at all certain about the details. If she's having a good day she'll smile and chat awhile, then grow distant and perhaps a bit agitated.

The cards from me and my brothers and other family members will go unread, the flowers unnoticed. The fog thickens and soon she will be lost.

That's the truth my family lives with each day. It's the painful reality that many other families also share.

With that as context, here's a slice of the e-mail I received.

It was a very busy morning, when an elderly gentleman arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry, that he had an appointment at 9 a.m.

A nurse took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would see him. Then she saw him looking at his watch and decided she would go ahead and evaluate his wound. Turns out the thumb was in good shape and it was a quick and simple procedure to remove his sutures and redress the wound.

After finishing up, the nurse asked if he had another doctor's appointment since he seemed in a hurry. The man said he did have an appointment, not with a doctor, but with his wife at a nearby nursing home. He quietly reported she was suffering with Alzheimer's and he made it a point to spend time with her each day.

The nurse then asked if his wife would be upset if he was late.

Not really, the elderly gentleman replied, explaining that his wife no longer recognized him.

Shocked, the nurse asked: "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?" The man smiled as he responded, "She doesn't know me, but I still know her."

As I said, the story has sort of a chain-letter feel about it. The situation is just a little too perfect, the quotes just a little too poignant.

And yet, in the very near future I fear I'll be sitting next to a woman who will no longer know me. Perhaps on a really good day she'll look my way and for an instant she'll recall fondly that this middle-aged man was the boy who once upon a time called her Mama.

For that moment and the thousands of others that have played out over the last six decades of my life, "Happy Mother's Day" Mom. Here's hoping it's a "good" one.

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