Jesus, the Other Sun
Guiding me along the lighted path...
Always end the day with a positive thought. Now matter how hard things were, tomorrow’s a fresh opportunity to make it better.”
“Put your money where your mouth is,” is a favorite saying of my mom’s. Did I really believe the words I posted on Facebook just this morning?
When I walked in the door at 11:30 last night, bone-weary from an evening of going back and forth from the waiting room to the emergency room where my eighty-three-year old mother lay in a hospital bed waiting for a room, I had to make a choice. I read the words on the computer screen again and thought of all the difficulties and fears we faced earlier. How did I really feel?
Yes, tomorrow would bring a fresh opportunity to make things better. Mom would come home. For the moment, she was safe in the hands of caring specialists. After having what we believed was an adverse reaction to a new medication, a speedy ambulance rushed her to a doctor whose job was to determine if that were the case.
“An adverse reaction” consisted of severe dizziness, the urge to go to the bathroom at the same time mom had to throw up, the dry heaves, and not having the strength to move at all.
Pretty scary stuff for mom and I to handle alone. I called my sister-in-law, who tried to call the doctor. With no answer or advice and an increasingly stressed mother, I called 9-1-1.
She wanted Julie to ride with her in the ambulance.
My brother, Mike, arrived home shortly and we jumped in the car to drive to the ER where my younger brother, Donnie, and his wife sat with my mother.
While Mike took his turn at Mom’s side, Donnie, sat next to me in the waiting room. “She’s pretty disoriented. That’s not like Mom.” He sounded worried.
“Give her some time,” I said. “She’ll be fine.” I hoped so.
I recalled her words earlier. “I can’t move. I can’t move.” That did frighten me. But now that she was lying down in a bed, those words seemed less scary and I started to think the reaction simply robbed her of the strength to move.
A stroke or heart problems seemed out-of-character. She didn’t have those kinds of problems.
Her vitals were good.
She got better as the night wore on.
As a precaution, the doctor on ER duty decided to keep her overnight.
They monitored her heart. And found for twelve seconds that it accelerated.
After riding in an ambulance, being hooked up to oxygen, having an IV stuck in her hand, was that all that unusual?
Not in my book.
Doctors said she could leave on the condition she wear a heart monitor for thirty days.
What a pain.
But, on the positive side, she’s home, tucked into her favorite chair and back to her familiar routine. The hand she was supposed to have gout in is getting better without the new medication that sent her to the hospital to begin with.
Seeing my mother in the hospital wasn’t good, but that it happened near Mother’s Day hit me in the gut.
For me, Mother’s Day doesn’t bring many warm, fuzzy memories. 1998 is never far from my mind. My first inkling that I was pregnant took place on a 4 -wheel-drive overnight trip in the desert near Musandam, Oman. We had to keep stopping for me to throw up.
A few weeks later we found out that not only was I pregnant, but it was with twins! In a serendipitous twist of fate, the doctor gave me a due date of August 11–my mother’s birthday. I couldn’t have been happier.
But early in my pregnancy, I started to bloat so much I looked like quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. The doctor said, “That’s common with twins.” The day before our 20th (big) doctor’s appointment, one of the babies kicked. I couldn’t wait to see their sonograms.
That day I found out one twin died.
A couple days later, I went to the hospital and found out I was in a state of severe pre-eclampsia. Ironically a month later in a cruel twist of fate, on a day most mothers were being honored for their motherhood, I learned my second twin, which I’d delivered prematurely, died.
Mother’s Day 1998. My husband wasn’t even with me.
I never got to hold my baby and after all my hopes and dreams, I never got to be a real live mother.
Or so I thought then.
I know that happened a long time ago. Our twin daughters would have been fifteen years old had they lived.
Not all Mother’s Days were difficult. Some were even comical and played out in true Amy slapstick. Because of an experience I had in the hospital in Dubai, I decided to release a few doves for a memorial service that year. I bought the doves at the local bird market. Unbeknownst to me, their wings had been clipped. So when I released them, they scrambled on the ground in circles. They couldn’t fly! I had to gather them up quickly and put them back in a big cardboard box in the bedroom so save them from my feral cat population. People tried to hold back their laughter but as I scooted around gathering them up, I heard it and laughed myself.
That same day, we planned to plant two rose bushes in their honor. We could barely break the dirt at the side of our house because the ground was baked so dry and hard. I have photos of me straining to break the soil with the tip of the shovel. It looks like I’m in pain.
I had another miscarriage not far from Mother’s Day a few years later. The next Mother’s Day found me divorced. A few years later, I learned my window of opportunity for having children physically ended. My grief hit me hard. It took me by surprise, actually. I thought I’d adjusted. For awhile I was inconsolable. The tears came often. But time helped me adjust to that disappointment, too.
Back in the States, every year my family celebrates the fact I was a mother. God showed me that I definitely was a mother, however briefly.
But sometimes I feel like a “fake” mom. [Fake is the new term I use to describe myself as as I tread the interim between being sighted and blind. I don’t quite fit in either camp]. It’s become a catch-all phrase in my mind. I feel like a fake teacher on bad days and a fake-cook when the meal turns out to be disastrous. Clearly, being a fake mom has nothing to do with being bad. It carries the idea that something was started but never completed. I was in the process of becoming a mother. I felt the first kick, so I really conceived. I had morning sickness. I had sonograms to prove I had two live babies inside me. But I’ll never fit in with other mothers because I never held them or got to raise my children. I never got to live it.
That’s why I approach Mother’s Day with mixed feelings.
But then again, I remember something I discovered one Mother’s Day.
I don’t have to always be happy to feel joy. Joy allows for my grief but pushes past it.
Joy celebrates my relationships with my mother, my sister, my nieces and their daughters.
I do want to live by Zig Ziglar’s expression of hope–no matter how hard things were, tomorrow will bring a fresh
opportunity to make it better. So, yes, in this trial, too, I need to end my day with a positive thought.
I think instead of looking at my mother’s hospital stay as something bad, I need to view her coming home as the clearest blessing God could ever give to remind me how precious we are to have her with us.
As I wrote, God showed me this holiday from His perspective.
Thank you, Father, for choosing this particular Mother’s Day to teach me how big joy is and how it works. Joy is the product of faith and a heart that seeks blessings.
Joy is being grateful to have my eighty-three-year old mother back home.
It’s all good this Mother’s Day.